Synopses & Reviews
As Ambassador and Special Envoy on Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, Peter Tomsen has had close relationships with Afghan leaders and has dealt with senior Taliban, warlords, and religious leaders involved in the regions conflicts over the last two decades. Now Tomsen draws on a rich trove of never-before-published material to shed new light on the American involvement in the long and continuing Afghan war.
This book offers a deeply informed perspective on how Afghanistans history as a shatter zone” for foreign invaders and its tribal society have shaped the modern Afghan narrative. It brings to life the appallingly misinformed secret operations by foreign intelligence agencies, including the Soviet NKVD and KGB, the Pakistani ISI, and the CIA.
American policy makers, Tomsen argues, still do not understand Afghanistan; nor do they appreciate how the CIAs covert operations and the Pentagons military strategy have strengthened extremism in the country. At this critical time, he shows how the U.S. and the coalition it leads can assist the region back to peace and stability.
"Ambassador and special envoy to Afghanistan from 1989 to 1992, Tomsen combines scholarship, analysis, and personal experience in an encyclopedic if disturbing history of post-WWII Afghanistan. Tomsen addresses not only America's ignorance of Afghanistan's complex tribal networks but every previous foreign invader who made that error. America's unique blunder, according to Tomsen, has been outsourcing Afghan policy to Pakistan. At Pakistan's insistence, beginning with the 1979 Soviet invasion, the U.S. funneled aid to the mujahideen through Pakistan's military, which was dominated by radical Islamists. Afghanistan lapsed into lawless warlordism after the Soviet 1989 withdrawal. Then the brutal, Pakistan-supported Taliban took control in 1996. Pakistan, happy at receiving an avalanche of aid after 9/11, says Tomsen, stood by as American-supported rebels routed the Taliban, but resumed support of the Taliban when America turned its attention to Iraq. Tomsen explains how to fix things by 'genuine Afghanization and de-Americanization.' Most important, we must take back control of Afghan policy, stop praising Pakistan for its cooperation, stop pouring in unconditional military aid, and insist that Pakistan must help stabilize Afghanistan. Readers will appreciate his expert, if discouraging, insights and wonder how he would add to his analysis following Osama bin Laden's death. Maps. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This revelatory, unprecedented, insiders account of Afghanistans history since the 1970s, and of U.S. involvement, is indispensable reading for anyone concerned about the current war
About the Author
was President George H.W. Bush's Special Envoy on Afghanistan with the rank of Ambassador from 1989 to 1992. Tomsen entered the Foreign Service in 1967 and served in Thailand, Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union. He was United States Deputy Chief of Mission in China from 1986 to 1989, deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs from 1992 to 1995, and the American Ambassador to Armenia from 1995 to 1998. He lives in Virginia with his wife.