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Military Operations from Kosovo to Kabul (Hardback)

The Unique Experiences of a Combat Lawyer

Military > Memoirs Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Afghanistan War P&S History > True Crime

By James Nelson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399004619
Published: 8th November 2021



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In this highly unusual role for a lawyer, the author found himself in 1998 having to learn on his feet at a frightening pace as the newly promoted senior legal advisor to the charismatic General Sir Mike Jackson, the commander who led the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps into strife-torn Kosovo the following year to restore some sort of normality in the aftermath of the NATO bombing campaign.

A peace deal was finally signed, only for Russia to intervene at the eleventh hour. The author was asked to provide rules of engagement for NATO to eject a stubborn Russian unit from Pristina by force, amongst fears of starting World War III, one of the few occasions when he thought perhaps civilian legal practice might not have been such a bad idea after all.

Ten years later the author was back at HQ ARRC, promoted to Colonel. The culture shock on this occasion was not so much, spending six months in Afghanistan as being professionally embedded in a large American military legal office led by a hyper energetic US officer from the 'deep south'. Unlike the short, sharp Kosovo experience in central Europe, this war in central Asia was the longest in the history of the USA, although for the British it was just the latest in a succession of operations going back two centuries to the 'Great Game'.

Trying to apply the law, balancing the need for aggression with compliance with Western notions of human rights, and vain efforts to win over the hearts and minds of a proud but impoverished people historically blighted by conflict proved to be unimaginably fraught.

Military Operations From Kosovo to Kabul is one experienced soldier’s fascinating account of these historic events, seen on the ground from the perspective of a legal professional, seldom associated with fighting wars.

"Overall, it is an interesting book."

The Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society

About James Nelson

After a brief spell of duty in the Far East as a subaltern with a Gurkha infantry battalion, James Nelson qualified as a solicitor but seeking more excitement he went on to join the Army Legal Corps in 1982, as a Captain. During the years that followed he served as a military lawyer, largely advising on the law of armed conflict, until his retirement in 2015 as a Colonel. These duties took him to all corners of the globe, from Belfast, Berlin and Bogota to the Balkans, Katmandu and Khartoum to Kabul, and San Remo to Seattle.

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