Directorate S

Directorate S

The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Book - 2018
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Traces America's intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the years since 9/11, and how the U.S. efforts in the Afghan War faltered because of a failure to understand the intentions of Pakistan's intelligence agency.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press/Penguin Random House, 2018
ISBN: 9781594204586
1594204586
9781846146602
1846146607
Characteristics: xxiii, 757 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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Follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars traces America's intelligence, military and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the years since 9/11.


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SPM
Jun 01, 2018

This is a long, detailed follow-on on Coll's wonderful book Ghost Wars. It is very thorough but could have been edited down a bit. Nevertheless it is a must-read for anyone who has followed the events in Afghanistan, and read some of the books about it, e.g. Graeme Smith's book about Canada's role there.
Coll lays out clearly the problems the US had with Pakistan especially the I.S.I. who were supposedly on the US side but were helping the Taliban, and had little control of the border areas. Not that the US had clear ideas of what they really wanted to do and frequently changed plans and goals which were not stuck to by different US agencies in the country. The US players, military and other, changed frequently which hardly helped. The failed secret attempts to negotiate an end to the war was a surprise to me.
Coll does not opine on most of this until near the end of the book by which time you have reached most of the conclusions he lays out. Karzai, US's man is a paranoid, corrupt leader of a family clearly on the take. The US poured vast amounts of money into the country with little oversight and spawned vast amounts of corruption ( see the website SIGAR and read some of the reports).
Even now the US is spending tens of billions a year and there is little hope the disaster will end soon. (To get an idea of where some of the money has and is going do a search for the satellite view of the huge Bagram base, near Kabul.)
Read this book but be prepared for a long trip.

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