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88 Days to Kandahar

A CIA Diary

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Description

The First American-Afghan War, a CIA war, was approved by President George W. 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 launched the “southern campaign,” orchestrating the final defeat of the Taliban and Hamid Karzai’s rise to power in eighty-eight chaotic days.

In his gripping narrative, we meet: General Tommy Franks, who bridled at CIA control of “his” war; General “Jafar Amin,” a gruff Pakistani intelligence officer who saved Grenier from committing career suicide; Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s brilliant ambassador to the US, who tried to warn her government of the al-Qa’ida threat; “Mark,” the CIA operator who guided Gul Agha Shirzai to bloody victory over the Taliban; General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, a cautious man who became 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 he directed the CIA’s role in the Iraq War, Grenier watched the initial victory squandered. His last command was of CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC), as Bush-era terrorism policies were being repudiated, as the Taliban re-emerged in Afghanistan, and as Pakistan descended into fratricidal violence.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 22, 2014 – Grenier, former director of CIA's counterterrorism center and station chief in Islamabad, offers unparalleled insight into the American campaign in Afghanistan with a frank, even-handed assessment of the initial military effort to topple the Taliban. Casting himself as an intrepid defender of his agents, he expounds at length on the strategic concerns, bureaucratic squabbles, and conditions on the ground that shaped the conflict. Pakistan in particular comes out looking better than it does in most accounts. Grenier contends that Pakistani intelligence services were fully and capably committed to the fight against al-Qaeda, and that the rise of extremism in Pakistan since 9/11 has more to do with shortsighted American policy and Indian meddling than with official Pakistani complicity with terrorists. One question never addressed is how bin Laden could have survived for so long within a mile from the Pakistani Military Academy in Abbottabad: Grenier merely says, "Once safely in Pakistan, given even a modicum of support, he could have gone virtually anywhere undetected." Grenier does refer to himself in the third person, but by and large his tone is affable, and his conclusions many of which run counter to conventional wisdom are logical and amply demonstrated.
88 Days to Kandahar
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jan 27, 2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 464 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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