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The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014by Carlotta Gall
Synopses & Reviews
Aand#160;and#160;few bloody months in South Asia during the summer of 1947 explainand#160;the world that troubles us today.
Nobody expected the liberation of India and birth of Pakistan to be so bloody andmdash; it was supposed to be an answer to the dreams of Muslims and Hindus who had been ruled by the British for centuries. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhiandrsquo;s protandeacute;gandeacute; and the political leader of India, believed Indians were an inherently nonviolent, peaceful people. Pakistanandrsquo;s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a secular lawyer, not a firebrand.and#160; But in August 1946, exactly a year before Independence, Calcutta erupted in street-gang fighting. A cycle of riots andmdash; targeting Hindus, then Muslims, then Sikhs andmdash; spiraled out of control. As the summer of 1947 approached, all three groups were heavily armed and on edge, and the British rushed to leave. Hell let loose. Trains carried Muslims west and Hindus east to their slaughter. Some of the most brutal and widespread ethnic cleansing in modern history erupted on both sides of the new border, searing a divide between India and Pakistan that remains a root cause of many evils. From jihadi terrorism to nuclear proliferation, the searing tale told in Midnightandrsquo;s Furies explains all too many of the headlines we read today.
"Gall (Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus) pulls no punches in criticizing U.S. ally Pakistan, who, she writes, 'has proved to be perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.' In her travels, she encounters Taliban recruits in seminaries in Quetta and stiff-necked mujahideen in Kandahar as she chronicles the missteps and failures that exacerbated the violence in Afghanistan, namely that the U.S. grossly underestimated the extent to which the Taliban and other militant groups are influenced by the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI. She also documents how Pakistan arrested and executed the more moderate elements of the Taliban, with whom peace negotiations would have been possible, while providing for the more extremist leaders, and how the wave of suicide attacks in Kabul in 2008 had the dual mission of striking fear in the heart of the capital and eliminating Indian and Baluch targets, who were incidental to the Taliban but sworn enemies of the ISI. In particular, Gall decries the decision to disarm Afghanistan's regional and ethnic militias in the hopes of creating a national army, which she calls 'as grave an error as the policy of de-Baathification and the demobilization of the Iraqi army in 2003.' (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A sweeping history and powerful indictment of America's longest overt war, by the veteran New York Times journalist who was stationed in-country throughout the entire conflict.
Like the Rape of Nanking, the partition of India was aand#160;dramatic, bloody crisis that remains a key historical faultline today.
andldquo;Provides a raw, unvarnished and important look at one of the darkest and least understood parts of the Afghan war . . . [Gall] is in an extraordinary position to write this important and long overdue book.andrdquo; andmdash; New York Times
andldquo;A strong, well-crafted account by an informed observer.andrdquo; andmdash; Economist
Combining harrowing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with searing portraits of the ordinary Afghans who endured a terrible war of more than a decade, veteran New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall reveals the full history of how the United States has been fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong country. Gall has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American intervention, beginning shortly after 9/11. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people, and American and NATO soldiers, and how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous military and intelligence forces. The Wrong Enemy is a sweeping account of a war brought by American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage.
Carlotta Gall has reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan for almost the entire duration of the American invasion and occupation, beginning shortly after 9/11. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people, and how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous government and intelligence forces.and#160;Now that American troops are withdrawing, it is time toand#160;tell the full history of how we have been fighting the wrong enemy, in the wrong country.
Gall combines searing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with moving portraits of the ordinary Afghanis who enduredand#160;a terrible war of more than a decade. Her firsthand accounts of Taliban warlords, Pakistani intelligence thugs, American generals, Afghani politicians, and the many innocents who were caught up in this long war are riveting.and#160; Her evidence that Pakistan fueled the Taliban and protected Osama bin Laden is revelatory. This is a sweeping account of a war brought by well-intentioned American leaders against an enemy they barely understood, and could not truly engage.
About the Author
CARLOTTA GALL has worked for theandnbsp;New York Times since 1999, including over ten years in Afghanistan and Pakistan.andnbsp; She previously worked for the Financial Times and The Economist.andnbsp; In 2007 she was featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.
Table of Contents
1. The Taliban Surrender 1
2. The People Turn 22
3. Pakistans Protégés 39
4. The Taliban in Exile 56
5. Al Qaeda Regroups 78
6. The Wrong Enemy in the Wrong Country 93
7. The Taliban Return 119
8. The Suicide Bomb Factory 147
9. Militancy Explodes in Pakistan 163
10. The Taliban Close Their Grip 182
11. Karzais Turn 200
12. Obamas Surge 223
13. Osamas Safe Haven 241
14. Springtime in Zangabad 265
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History and Social Science » Military » Afghan War (2001-)