The "first" Afghan War, the CIA's war in response to 9/11, was approved by President Bush and directed by the author, Robert Grenier, the CIA station chief in Islamabad. Forging separate alliances with warlords, Taliban dissidents, and Pakistani intelligence, Grenier defeated the Taliban and put Hamid Karzai in power in 88 days. Later, as head of CIA counterterrorism, he watches as bureaucratic dysfunction in the CIA, Pentagon, and the White House lead to failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his gripping narrative, we meet General Tommy Franks, who bridles at CIA control of "his" war; General "Jafar Amin", a gruff Pakistani intelligence officer who saves Grenier from committing career suicide; Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's brilliant ambassador to the US, who tries to warn her government of the al-Qaeda threat; "Mark", the CIA operator who guides GulAgha Shirzai to bloody victory over the Taliban; General Kayani, a cautious man who will become the most powerful man in Pakistan, struggling with Grenier's demands while trying to protect his country; and Hamid Karzai, the puzzling anti-Taliban insurgent, a man of courage, petulance, and vacillating moods.
Grenier's enemies out in front prove only slightly more lethal than the ones behind his own lines. This first war is won despite Washington bureaucrats who divert resources, deny military support, and try to undermine the only Afghan allies capable of winning.
Later, as Grenier directed the CIA's role in the Iraq War, he watched the initial victory squandered. His last command was of CIA's Counterterrorism Center, as Bush-era terrorism policies were being repudiated, as the Taliban reemerged in Afghanistan, and as Pakistan descended into fratricidal violence.
©2015 Robert L. Grenier. All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the CIA or any other US Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government authentication of information or Agency endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information. The Central Intelligence Agency has not approved, endorsed, or authorized this book or the use of the CIA seal, name, or initials. (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I found that I couldn't listen to this book and do something else at the same time which I typically do. You have to put your mind to this book because it's very easy to get distracted. I don't know whether it was the reader or, whether it was the story. It did give a good insight to how the CIA works.
the book was very well documented. story was easy to follow. very entertaining could not put it down! Bob's insights, as a person who's been there, are educational, insightful, and unfortunately foreboding. love the book!
I am a psychiatrist.I am 80 year old,in excellent health and believe there is no end in learning and good books is the best. Way to Learn.
I have been through this period of history of Southeast Asia especially pakistan/Afghanistan.I congratulate the author on the honesty and courage to say what he believes.If you want to understand the situation
,listen this book a few times
Very, very insightful and interesting book with lots of information I wouldn't get elsewhere but it dragged on and on and didn't keep me engaged. I had to force myself to finish it.
The story of our early involvement in Afghanistan by someone who worked with both the Pakistanis and the Afghans during the years following 9/11. One take-away: we have had appalling leadership at the top levels from both the Democrats and the Republicans. I liked hearing from a non-partisan professional about what we did right and what we've done wrong.
Glad to have someone with all the facts explain the recent history of Afghanistan. Suspect author harbors some of the attitudes he decries: I and my colleagues know what's best. Narrative drones on but that is the nature of the book. Still a side plot or more explicit depiction of a battle would have made it more entertaining.
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