xxiii, 757 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
9781594204586 (hardcover) 1594204586 (hardcover) 9780525557302 (ebook) 9781846146602 1846146607
"Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation with, although often in direct opposition to, I.S.I., the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the United States was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of I.S.I., known as "Directorate S," was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban in order to enlarge Pakistan's sphere of influence. After 9/11, when fifty-nine countries, led by the United States, deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the United States was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan. Today we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of I.S.I.'s Directorate S. This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence. Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking. This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism."--Dust jacket.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references (pages 729-736) and index.
Formatted Contents Note
Part One. Blind into battle, September 2001-December 2001. "Something has happened to Khalid" Judgment day Friends like these Risk management Catastrophic success Part Two. Losing the peace, 2002-2006. Small change Taliban for Karzai The enigma "His rules were different than our rules" Mr. Big Ambassador vs. Ambassador Digging a hole in the ocean Radicals Part Three. The best intentions, 2006-2009. Suicide detectives Plan Afghanistan Murder and the deep state Hard data Tough love Terror and the deep state The new big dogs Losing Karzai A war to give people a chance Part Four. The end of illusion, 2010-2014. The one-man C.I.A. The conflict resolution cell Kayani 2.0 Lives and limbs Kayani 3.0 Hostages Dragon's breath Martyrs Day Fight and talk The Afghan hand Homicide Division Self-inflicted wounds Coups d'état Epilogue: Victim impact statements.