Check out this article from the NYTimes about Afghanistan. Specifically, allow me to bring your attention to the following passage:
The Taliban spread their message to a mainly illiterate rural population through oral poetry, stories and even songs…
I mentioned this a couple of years ago as an area of information operations that not only did we cede entirely to the Taliban but we still aren’t able to get our heads around it totally. We just never competed in that arena.
That got me thinking about the Anglo-Afghan wars and I began dipping my toe into three primary source texts of that war, trying to decide which I wanted to focus my attention on. I still haven’t decided but the similarities among the way those conflicts were discussed by Western authors and how we’ve talked about our is pretty striking.
Going back in the wayback machine, I was forwarded this article about the Battle of Maiwand. The 66th Berkshire Regiment of Foot had few survivors (286 dead, 32 wounded) but one that did survive was the unit mascot, a dog named Bobbie that reportedly fought the Afghans along with British. He was later presented with the Afghan Campaign Medal by Queen Victoria (which is totally kick-ass).
If you’re interested, here’s a bit more on the pooches that accompanied the Brits during the Second Anglo-Afghan War.