The Viney Agency


Robert Lyman

David Loyn has been a foreign correspondent for 30 years, mostly with the BBC. Among other prizes he is one of only two journalists to have won both of Britain’s leading awards in television and radio news – Sony Radio Reporter of the Year and Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year. His first book, Frontline, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2006. His reporting highlights include the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in East Germany, Hungary and Romania. After reporting on India since the assassination of Indira Gandhi and riots in India in 1984, he later returned to succeed Mark Tully as the BBC Correspondent in Delhi. He has spent long periods travelling with guerrilla forces including separatists in Kashmir and Sri Lanka, Maoists in India and Nepal, and the Taliban in Afghanistan since their origins in the mid-90s. He was the only foreign correspondent with the Taliban when they took Kabul in 1996, and returned to spend time behind enemy lines reporting with the Taliban in Helmand in October 2006. He had several assignments in Iraq, including a two-month embed with US Marines during the invasion in 2003, and had several embeds with British forces, including the deployment of the Black Watch to Camp Dogwood in October 2004.


His Commanders - The Generals Who Fought NATO's Longest War will be published by St Martin's Press in 2021.


Robert LymanCommanders - The Generals who Fought NATO’s Longest War  tells the story of the eight Generals (seven American, one British) who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. This was a high profile, increasingly complex role. Generals including David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, David McKiernan and Dan McNeill are interviewed about their command of the war. They had military experience going back to Vietnam, but were now to be tested in battle as never before. McChrystal had the reputation of a ‘warrior monk’ and considered one of the most gifted military leaders of his generation.

Afghanistan was the only war in NATO’s seventy year history called under its founding principle: that an attack on one is considered an attack on all. Holding together this complex coalition after 9/11 was a unique leadership challenge, calling on highly developed political and military skills. The Generals had to fight the Taliban and absorb the complex politics of Washington, Brussels and Kabul; lead troops in the field, while grappling with the multi-dimensional puzzles of the most significant geopolitical event of our time. They needed all of the skills of any other modern CEO, with one big difference - the decisions that they made affected lives, including those of the young men and women under their command.

The author makes no judgement on whether the war was right or wrong. With hindsight it is too easy to judge the decisions of the Generals sent to command in Afghanistan. Commanders tells the story of the daily crises that they faced - assassinations, coup attempts, prison breaks, political betrayals, civilian casualties, political events beyond their control - while being responsible for thousands of young American and European lives.

Commanders provides an essential historical insight into the realities of field command and is compulsory reading about the key personalities in the major drama of our times.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:Frontline (Headline); Butcher & Bolt (Headline); In Afghanistan (St Martin's Press, 2009)