“The people of Afghanistan do not deserve this,” tweeted Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner after the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in August.

Quite how and why they didn’t deserve the shambolic debacle to international intervention in Hosseini’s country is explained sharply, elegantly and brutally in The Ledger – Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan by Greg Mills and David Kilcullen. If you read no other book or account of the shameful American-led disaster, read this. It is not only one of the best books about intervention in Afghanistan, but the whole business of stabilisation and security, the growing threat of sudden and devastating regional and communal wars.