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.
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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
6 of 10 people found this review helpful
Great book to understand our actions and background in Afghanistan. Enjoyed this book and the succinct writing. With all the problems the US have had in Afghanistan, this is a must read for any US person interested in foreign policy and current affairs. This book should serve as a lessons learned for future planning to avoid long winded conflicts without a clear sustainable plan and goal.
President Trump would wise to ask Robert Grenier to come out of retirement to help with Afghanistan. Very informative on the inter working of CIA and interaction with governments.
this was a great book and explained the events taking place in Afghanistan during the early years after 9:11 and was only dry on occasion
enjoyed the narrator. the CIA sounds like beaurocratic tedium not James Bond. I learned a lot
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.
insightful opinion of what we've done right and wrong in Afghanistan in the last decade-and-a-half. also an insightful history of the area
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.