Afghanistan has been a strategic prize for more than 200 years. Foreign invaders have continually fought across its beautiful and inhospitable terrain, in conflicts variously ruthless, misguided and bloody. A century ago, the common sneer about how British soldiers treated Afghan tribesmen was that they would 'butcher' them, then 'bolt'.
Butcher and Bolt recounts this violent history, beginning with the very first British mission - an encounter that ushered in two centuries of conflict littered with misunderstandings and broken promises, in which the British, the Russians and later the Americans repeatedly underestimated the ability of the Afghans and the power of the Frontier tribes.
In a new final chapter that brings the book right up to date, David Loyn draws on the unique access he has had to Afghanistan over the past two decades to address the emerging threat of the Pakistani Taliban and the challenges that face those now fighting on the most dangerous frontier in the world.