Veteran Book Talk – The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley

Wesley Morgan first visited the Pech in 2010, as a college student embedded with U.S. military units as a freelance journalist. His meticulously researched book,The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley, functions as both a first-hand account of a rugged battlespace and a detailed history of the interactions between the Pech River Valley’s residents and the foreign soldiers, terrorist groups, and Taliban that passed through. The Hardest Place documents a mission that came to epitomize the dysfunction, unclear objectives, and mission creep of America’s two-decade war in Afghanistan. Join a discussion with the author that delves into the experiences and dysfunctions of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. He will be joined by Dan Berschinski who served as a U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan’s Arghandab River Valley in Kandahar province. The conversation will be moderated by QI’s Adam Weinstein who served as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province. 


Wesley Morgan

Wesley Morgan is a military affairs reporter and author of The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan's Pech Valley based on his embed with the U.S. military there and extensive field research. Previously he covered the Pentagon for two and a half years at Politico. He also worked as a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C., Iraq, and Afghanistan, contributing stories to The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic and other publications. He is an alumnus of Princeton University.

Capt. Dan Berschinski

Capt. (Ret.) Dan Berschinski served in Afghanistan’s Arghandab River Valley in Kandahar province in 2009. During his deployment, he was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED). After years of physical therapy, he became the military’s first above-the-knee and hip-disarticulation amputee to walk on a daily basis. While in therapy, he served as a certified peer visitor and he has also advocated for improved bomb-blast protective equipment for troops currently in combat and improved rehabilitation practices at Walter Reed. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Adam Weinstein

Adam Weinstein is a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute. He previously worked for KPMG’s international trade practice. Adam’s current research focuses on security, trade, and rule of law in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prior to consulting, he worked as senior law and policy analyst at the National Iranian American Council where he focused on the securitization of U.S. immigration policy and its effect on immigrant communities. He received a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law with a concentration in international law and transitional justice. Adam served as a U.S. Marine and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 where he served as part of a U.S. Marine detachment in support of the Australian-led mission in Uruzgan Province.