In her timely book, Hearts For Sale, A Buyer’s Guide to Winning Afghanistan, Farzana Marie boldly asks and answers three critically important questions.

– What kind of conflict is this?

– Who is the enemy, what does he want, and what is his strategy?

– What does winning look like, and what strategy will lead to victory?

Even though she writes from a military perspective, her answers are hard hitting and counter-intuitive to those who emphasize military solutions. The author believes that Afghanistan is a valuable country both because the Afghan people desire and deserve freedom, opportunity, and self-determination and because of its strategic importance in the global community of nations. Victory in Afghanistan eliminates a terrorist safe-haven, making the world a safer place.

Stated positively, she says,

Winning in Afghanistan has never been about troop or dollar numbers. In fact, an excess of both has sometimes done damage. The genius is with the Afghan people, and long-term strategies for fruitful partnership with a stable Afghanistan on the road to healing involve being as close to the Afghan people as possible.

The author offers a convincing argument that …

“A visionary, winning strategy in Afghanistan is within reach; it must be one that recognizes the nature and high stakes of the conflict, focuses on the pivotal importance of the human, psychological dimension, and embraces a humble supportive role through listening to Afghan counterparts. Success demands a rejection of bureaucratic lethargy and inflexibility, requiring instead the careful selection of civil servants and military leaders who are capable of building relationships, trust and creative solutions rather than higher walls for secure compounds.”

After completing this book, my primary conclusion relates to a topic that Farzana Marie does not address. Even though President Obama has said that Afghanistan is a battle that must be won, it appears that the US and its allies are again poised to abandon this strategic country. This creates an increasingly urgent opportunity for the global Church. Since the battle in Afghanistan is primarily for the hearts and allegiances of the people, the Church should increase its investment as governments pull out. Christian ambassadors can support and equip normal, honest, hard-working Afghans as they stand against foreign influences that desire to subjugate them. Simultaneously, we can offer eternal hope, which is ultimately their greatest need.