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The Wrong Enemy

America in Afghanistan, 2001–2014

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“An enthralling and largely firsthand account of the war in Afghanistan.”—Financial Times
Few reporters know as much about Afghanistan as Carlotta Gall. She was there in the 1990s after the Russians were driven out. She witnessed the early flourishing of radical Islam, imported from abroad, which caused so much local suffering. She was there right after 9/11, when the US special forces helped the Northern Alliance drive the Taliban out of the north and then the south, fighting pitched battles and causing their enemies to flee underground and into Pakistan. She knows just how much this war has cost the Afghan people. And she knows just how much damage can be traced to Pakistan and its duplicitous government and intelligence forces. Combining searing personal accounts of battles and betrayals with moving portraits of the ordinary Afghans who were caught up in the conflict of more than a decade, The Wrong Enemy is a sweeping account of a war brought by American leaders against an enemy they barely understood and could not truly engage.
“A strong, well-crafted account by an informed observer.”—The Economist
“Gall is perhaps uniquely positioned to tackle the troubling questions she raises about Pakistan's alleged support of terrorism . . . a must-read.”— Christian Science Monitor

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 14, 2014 – Gall (Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus) pulls no punches in criticizing U.S. ally Pakistan, who, she writes, "has proved to be perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons." In her travels, she encounters Taliban recruits in seminaries in Quetta and stiff-necked mujahideen in Kandahar as she chronicles the missteps and failures that exacerbated the violence in Afghanistan, namely that the U.S. grossly underestimated the extent to which the Taliban and other militant groups are influenced by the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI. She also documents how Pakistan arrested and executed the more moderate elements of the Taliban, with whom peace negotiations would have been possible, while providing for the more extremist leaders, and how the wave of suicide attacks in Kabul in 2008 had the dual mission of striking fear in the heart of the capital and eliminating Indian and Baluch targets, who were incidental to the Taliban but sworn enemies of the ISI. In particular, Gall decries the decision to disarm Afghanistan's regional and ethnic militias in the hopes of creating a national army, which she calls "as grave an error as the policy of de-Baathification and the demobilization of the Iraqi army in 2003."

Customer Reviews

Incredible detail and insight

Read like a novel with a pace I couldn't put down. Enlightened me on the failures and successes of US policy and the strength of the Afghan people. Enjoyed every page.

Well Reported and Very Insightful

A thorough examination of the Pakistani backing of Afghan insurgency and the repeated missteps of American intervention in Afghanistan. Gall's seemingly easily attained interviews with key figures of all interests (there are so many!) bely the great complexity of the parties' relationships and the extreme danger of reporting, as a western journalist, in a region that views the West as the enemy.

This book is a great accompaniment to a pre-9/11 report like Coll's "Ghost Wars", the two providing approx 35 years of history of the Afghan state.

The Wrong Enemy
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Military
  • Published: Apr 14, 2015
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 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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