A RECENT investigation into the management of the Afghanistan campaign has made it clear that there were systemic failures in planning, preparation, and diplomacy.

A controversial book that provides an in-depth look at the financial and human costs of both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns has been published but not without difficulties.

Simon Akam is an author and investigative journalist and following his military service in 2003-2004, he started to wonder whether the British Army had changed since his time there.

He researched the financial and human costs of both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and interviewed politicians, and hundreds of soldiers and officers as well as the families of those who had served.

The book sparked a five-way bidding war and now Simon Akam is coming to the Salisbury Military History Society to reveal his findings.

Dave Simons is the Salisbury Military History Society’s marketing officer and said: “When the MOD wanted to review the book before publication, Simon Akam refused.

“This led to him losing his publishing contract with Penguin Random House and he was asked to pay back the advance.”

Changing of the Guard was eventually published, but by independent publisher Scribe in 2021. It is often critical of military leadership and raises important questions about war.

The Salisbury Military History Society was founded in early 2019 and is a community meeting place for anyone with an interest in military history.

The talk by Simon Akam takes place on Wednesday June 22 at St. John’s Hall in Lower Bemerton and starts at 7.30pm.

Additional information can be found on the website.

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