The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invas Ion to September 10, 2001
By Steve Coll
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143034667, 736pp.
Publication Date: December 28, 2004
The explosive first-hand account of America's secret history in Afghanistan
To what extent did America's best intelligence analysts grasp the rising thread of Islamist radicalism? Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail? Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll recounts the history of the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks. Based on scrupulous research and firsthand accounts by key government, intelligence, and military personnel both foreign and American, Ghost Wars details the secret history of the CIA's role in Afghanistan (including its covert operations against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989), the rise of the Taliban, the emergence of bin Laden, and the failed efforts by U.S. forces to find and assassinate bin Laden in Afghanistan.
"Certainly the finest historical narrative so far on the origins of al Qaeda in the post-Soviet rubble of Afghanistan . . . Ghost Wars provides fresh details and helps explain the motivations behind many crucial decisions."
-The New York Times Book Review
The conflict in Afghanistan dominates headlines, but many people seek a deeper understanding of the country and the war the U.S. is fighting there. In the first of a series of suggestions for an Afghanistan "reading list," Washington Post special military correspondent Tom Ricks shares his recommendations, ranging from a collection of Afghan proverbs, to a history of the CIA's involvement in the country. More at NPR.org
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