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Whispers of War

Whispers of War
An Afghan Freedom Fighter’s Account of the Soviet Invasion

First Edition
Critical Acclaim

April 2017 | 300 pages | SAGE India

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Whispers of War: An Afghan Freedom Fighter’s Account of the Soviet Invasion is the real-life tale of a young political leader, Masood Khalili. Son of Ustad Khalilullah Khalili, the great Afghan poet, he motivated his people and led them in their fight against the ‘Red Army’. Alongside his friend Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, Khalili traveled by foot, on horseback and on donkey, sharing the tales of pain, despair, and despondence of his countrymen and women. In letters to his beloved wife Sohaillah, he writes of his journey through the Himalayan range, accompanied by a team of foreign journalists.

The book is an account of the search for ever elusive peace in a country ravaged by war - a war that changed the landscape of the country and the fabric of its society.

Foreword by Gary C. Schroen
Note from the Translator
First Steps, Long Journey Ahead
No Journey Goes as Planned—On the Way at Last
Home Is Home—Nooristan Awaits
Eagles Soar Higher
Grandfather’s Castle—Kantiwa, Heart of Nooristan
King of the Passes—Kantiwa Pass
Goodbye Nooristan—Welcome Panjshir
A King’s Wrath, Tears in Herat, and a Royal Wedding
Crossing the Hindu Kush Range—Wheel of the Sky
Poor Jeep, Poor Donkey, Poor Surgery
Little Saleha: Onward to the Commander
Commander Massoud
Battle Preparations
Celebration before the Battle
Battle of the Garrison
Onward to Badakhshan, Cradle of Old Culture
Afghan Steel Factory
Back on Rocky Track—Village Justice
Exorcism, Sufis, and a Royal Hunt
Yellow Pass: A Lonely Climber
Back to Nooristan and Unacceptable Love
Back to Kantiwa
The Killer Kunar River

“I think anyone with a soul or a heart will feel that this is a very special book…your diaries to your dear wife. We are fortunate that you and she have decided to share these with the world.”

Dominic Jermey,
current Ambassador of UK to Afghanistan

“Whispers of War has captured Afghanistan’s heart. Masood Khalili’s voice is at once soothing and disturbing as he tells of the tragedy that has befallen his nation. His words melt your heart, bring tears to your eyes and then inspire you with stories of courage, of resolve and of love for Afghanistan, and for its people, whose strength reminds us of what life has to give, especially when all seems lost.”

Kathy Gannon,
Head of Associated Press

“Masood Khalili’s voice is at once soothing and disturbing … melt(s) your heart, bring(s) tears to your eyes and … reminds us of what life has to give, especially when all seems lost.”

Kathy Gannon,
Head, Associated Press (attacked and wounded while reporting from Afghanistan)

“Masood Khalili is the wisest man I know. His blend of courage, conviction, morality, and humility has inspired all those who know him. With his essential humanity untouched, indeed strengthened, by the massive challenges thrown at him throughout a remarkable life, this book will ensure he captures the hearts and imaginations of thousands more who may never have the privilege of meeting him. A very rare man whose story I cannot recommend too highly.”

General Sir David Richards,
Former Head of NATO Forces in Afghanistan and Former Commander-in-chief of British Army (Land Forces)

The story of Afghanistan – of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since – is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them in their fight against the Red Army…the memoir is an account of the search for ever elusive peace in Afghanistan.

Millennium Post,
13 April 2017

In reading this [the book] rich collection of encounters, anecdotes and local stories we get an insight into the hearts, minds and will of people and a compelling background to the toppling of a world empire by underdogs.


Biblio, January – March 2018

Khalili’s first-hand account of his journey through the war-ravaged country is lucid and captivating. He enriches his account by occasionally quoting verses by poets such as Saadi, Rumi and his father, Ustad Khalilullah Khalili.


The Telegraph, 20 October 2017

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ISBN: 9789386062772