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Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001by Steve Coll
Synopses & Reviews
From the managing editor of the Washington Post, a news-breaking account of the CIA's involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden's al Qaeda.
For nearly the past quarter century, while most Americans were unaware, Afghanistan has been the playing field for intense covert operations by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies — invisible wars which sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks and which provide its context. From the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, the CIA, KGB, Pakistan's ISI, and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Department all operated directly and secretly in Afghanistan. They primed Afghan factions with cash and weapons, secretly trained guerrilla forces, funded propaganda, and manipulated politics. In the midst of these struggles bin Laden conceived and then built his global organization.
Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll tells the secret history of the CIA's role in Afghanistan, from its covert program against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989, to the rise of the Taliban and the emergence of bin Laden, to the secret efforts by CIA officers and their agents to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan after 1998. Based on extensive firsthand accounts, Ghost Wars is the inside story that goes well beyond anything previously published on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. It chronicles the roles of midlevel CIA officers, their Afghan allies, and top spy masters such as Bill Casey, Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al Faisal, and George Tenet. And it describes heated debates within the American government and the often poisonous, mistrustful relations between the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies.
Ghost Wars answers the questions so many have asked since the horrors of September 11: To what extent did America's best intelligence analysts grasp the rising threat of Islamist radicalism? Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail?
"[O]bjective — and terrific....Coll...has given us what is certainly the finest historical narrative so far on the origins of Al Qaeda....Ghost Wars provides fresh details and helps explain the motivations behind many crucial decisions." James Risen, The New York Times
"[L]ong overdue....[A] well-written, authoritative, high-altitude drama with a cast of few heroes, many villains, bags of cash and a tragic ending — one that may not have been inevitable." James Bamford, The Washington Post
From the managing editor of the Washington Post comes this news-breaking account of the CIA's involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden's al Qaeda.
Provides an overview of CIA and other covert operations in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, detailing efforts to capture or kill bin Laden and the failure to stop the events of September 11th.
An andldquo;extraordinaryandrdquo; and andldquo;monumentalandrdquo; exposandeacute; of Big Oil from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steveand#160;Coll (The Washington Post)
In this, the first hard-hitting examination of ExxonMobilandmdash;the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United Statesandmdash;Steve Coll reveals the true extent of its power. Private Empire pulls back the curtain, tracking the corporationandrsquo;s recent history and its central role on the world stage, beginning with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and leading to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The action spans the globeandmdash;featuring kidnapping cases, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlinandmdash;and the narrative is driven by larger-than-life characters, including corporate legend Lee andldquo;Iron Assandrdquo; Raymond, ExxonMobilandrsquo;s chief executive until 2005. A penetrating, news-breaking study, Private Empire is a defining portrait of Big Oil in American politics and foreign policy.
About the Author
Steve Coll, winner of a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism, has been managing editor of the Washington Post since 1998 and covered Afghanistan as the Post's South Asia bureau chief between 1989 and 1992. Coll is the author of four books, including On the Grand Trunk Road and The Taking of Getty Oil.
Table of Contents
List of Maps
Prologue: Accounts Receivable - September 1996
Part One: Blood Brothers - November 1979 to February 1989
1. “We’re Going to Die Here
2. “Lenin Taught Us”
3. “Go Raise Hell”
4. “I Loved Osama”
5. “Don’t Make It Our War”
6. “Who Is This Massoud?”
7. “The Terrorists Will Own the World”
8. “Inshallah, You Will Know My Plans”
9. “We Won”
Part Two: The One-Eyed Man Was King - March 1989 to December 1997
10. “Serious Risks”
11. “A Rogue Elephant”
12. “We Are in Danger”
13. “A Friend of Your Enemy”
14. “Maintain a Prudent Distance”
15. “A New Generation”
16. “Slowly, Slowly Sucked into It”
17. “Dangling the Carrot”
18. “We Couldn’t Indict Him”
19. “We’re Keeping These Stingers”
20. “Does America Need the CIA?”
Part Three: The Distant Enemy - January 1998 to September 10, 2001
21. “You Are to Capture Him Alive”
22. “The Kingdom’s Interests”
23. “We Are at War”
24. “Let’s Just Blow the Thing Up”
25. “The Manson Family”
26. “That Unit Disappeared”
27. “You Crazy White Guys”
28. “Is There Any Policy?”
29. “Daring Me to Kill Them”
30. “What Face Will Omar Show to God?”
31. “Many Americans Are Going to Die”
32. “What an Unlucky Country”
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