Mission Afghanistan

Elie Paul Cohen, a Franco-British civilian emergency doctor, was in his youth an anti-militarist who evaded conscription. But decades later, his military record comes back to haunt him when it turns up in his professional dossier. In a surreal coincidence, the French, British, and Israeli secret services suddenly become interested in recruiting him, and Cohen accepts the deal the French Army offers: he can settle his accounts by serving as a liaison emergency doctor in Afghanistan.

After a year and a half of training, Cohen is in 2011 deployed at Camp Bastion, the largest British Military base since World War II. His mission is twofold: First, to study Damage Control Resuscitation, a new treatment for polytraumatized soldiers that was developed by British doctors in Afghanistan. Second, to share these advanced protocols with the French Military Health Service.

Combining elements of spy thriller and adventure story with reflections on the costs of war, Cohen’s memoir offers a unique perspective on the conflict in Afghanistan, and on the medical challenges presented by the expansion of terrorism into Europe and America.

Author: Elie Paul Cohen

Translator: Jessica Levine

Publication Date: September 18, 2018


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“It’s absorbing, staggering, comic and tragic . . . Run fast and buy it, you won’t regret it.”
Chronique Santé Intégrative

“Elie’s astonishing destiny, vividly and poignantly narrated, offers a vertiginous dive into the heart of this new contemporary situation that has disrupted our lives, wars without front lines and terrorism. A journey that is out of the ordinary, thrilling, and marked by a great humanity.”
Handicap. Fr

“The unforgettable story of a man grappling with his destiny as an anti-militarist, emergency doctor and composer, who has come late to support the war against barbarism and terrorism, in the process reconnecting with the heroic virtues of his grandfather, a veteran of the Great War.”
—Jacques Demongeot, Professor of Medicine, mathematician, researcher

“An out-of-the-ordinary human adventure, an anti-militarist in the heart of the war machine in Afghanistan.”
—Professor René Frydman, research scientist whose work in infertility led to the first baby born through in vitro fertilization in France, in 1982

“The blood of poppies: an emergency doctor in the hell of the Afghan war.”
—Jean-Pierre Guéno, French author, historian, publisher

About the Author

Dr. Elie Paul Cohen was recruited in 2009 by the French Army and deployed in 2011 at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where he worked with the British and studied their new treatment for polytraumatized soldiers. Mission Afghanistan is a memoir of his experience. The original French edition was nominated for the Erwan Bergot Prize, given in recognition of works celebrating service to France and its values. A Franco-British citizen, Cohen now works as an emergency doctor in the emergency services of Paris. He has a special interest in integrative medicine and works as an osteopath in private practice. He is also a composer of experimental music. His album Le Cinquième elément was released by Radio France in 2018. You can visit him at www.eliepaulcohen.com.