Directorate S Directorate S

Directorate S

The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

    • 4.3 • 74 Ratings
    • $11.99
    • $11.99

Publisher Description

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Nominated for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and The Achilles Trap, the epic and enthralling story of America's intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11

Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, with I.S.I., the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the US was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of I.S.I., known as "Directorate S," was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban, in order to enlarge Pakistan's sphere of influence. After 9/11, when fifty-nine countries, led by the U. S., deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the U.S. was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan.

Today we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of I.S.I.'s "Directorate S". This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence.

Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking.

This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism.

Politics & Current Events
February 6
Penguin Publishing Group

Customer Reviews

TriMoose ,

Fantastic Read

This book was phenomenal at providing a lot of context around the war in Afghanistan. The clear arrangement and combination of varying perspectives shows just how complicated the situation became and how complicated it will continue to be. Well worth the time to read to understand the world of Afghanistan.

NateDogg213 ,

Great read and follow up to Ghost Wars

Sadly, this book does not contain a happy ending and is likely to have a sequel. US efforts in Afghanistan can be summed up as a decade and a half stalemate. The Taliban is resilient and enjoys safe harbor in Pakistan. The US cannot seem to decide what it wants to do and when it does have an approach, it isn’t unified and poorly resourced.

More Books by Steve Coll

Ghost Wars Ghost Wars
Private Empire Private Empire
The Achilles Trap The Achilles Trap
The Taking of Getty Oil The Taking of Getty Oil
The Bin Ladens The Bin Ladens
The Deal of the Century The Deal of the Century

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