Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

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Penguin, 2004 - Political Science - 695 pages
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 Warsok 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 Warsanswers 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?
 

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User Review  - antao - LibraryThing

Essential, bloody, real and tragic. One important underlying issue is what this means for the future, because there are similarities between the inflation of the Afghan government with western cash ... Read full review

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User Review  - LamSon - LibraryThing

This book chronicles the rise of the jihadist movement, starting with mujahedin fighters in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. It continues with the rise of the Taliban and the ... Read full review

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Contents

Lenin Taught Us
38
Go Raise Hell
53
Dont Make It Our War
89
Who Is This Massoud?
107
The Terrorists Will Own the World
125
Inshallah You Will Know My Plans
151
We Won
170
PART
187
PART THREE THE DISTANT ENEMY
369
You Are to Capture Him Alive
371
The Kingdoms Interests
397
We Are at War
416
Lets Just Blow the Thing Up
437
The Manson Family
451
That Unit Disappeared
470
You Crazy White Guys
487

A Rogue Elephant
205
We Are in Danger
225
A Friend of Your Enemy
240
Maintain a Prudent Distance
257
A New Generation
266
Slowly Slowly Sucked into It
280
Dangling the Carrot
301
We Couldnt Indict Him
314
Were Keeping These Stingers
336
Does America Need the CIA?
353
Is There Any Policy?
504
Daring Me to Kill Them
520
What Face Will Omar Show to God?
538
Many Americans Are Going to Die
553
What an Unlucky Country
567
Notes
577
Bibliography
653
Acknowledgments
665
Index
669
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