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US Journalist Reveals How Pakistan Manufactured Afghan Wars

March 24, 2014

Afghan LandscapeLast week, the New York Times’ magazine supplement published an excerpt from Carlotta Gall’s upcoming book on Afghanistan.

Titled What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden, Gall described the connection between Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Though hardly a fresh revelation, Gall’s research captured the farcical nature of the US’ Afghan war and is the first account to illustrate how a completely different campaign was being waged by a supposed American ally.

What Gall has accomplished is to prove, after more than a decade, that the US became ensnared in a quagmire fighting Pakistan’s proxy army. Again, this isn’t a secret, and many public figures–be it outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai or prominent journalists–have discussed the issue (with considerable anger), yet it still doesn’t get as much mileage as it should. Nor is there any effort from the US and Pakistan governments to openly hold each other accountable.

Gall, a veteran war correspondent who spent more than a decade reporting on her subject, now covers ongoing conflicts in North Africa. Her magnum opus The Wrong Enemy: America In Afghanistan 2001-2014 gets an official release this April 8 via Barnes & Noble in both print and digital formats. She already spoke about her work in an interview to publicize the book.

Three years ago, this website tried to provide an accessible portrait of the ISI and mentioned its successful attempt at grand strategy (at least on a limited scale):

But there is a certain sureness among even the most casual observers of the AfPak Wars that the ISI are somehow the biggest stakeholders in the region. After all, whatever the term ‘strategic depth’ means to the Pakistani generals, the very tools to accomplish such an ill-defined goal with regards to the Afghan theater are the ISI themselves.

Furthermore, as early as then it was apparent the ISI were always the ones pulling the strings in Afghanistan even when these actions weren’t always obvious. An authoritative source writing a definitive volume was just needed to emphasize this truth.

While a considerable amount of information is available through simple Google research, a definitive volume on the ISI must be written. There is no doubt in this writer’s mind a willing audience is eager for such a book/ebook. (Even better if it were distributed as a free download.)

Finally, that book is here. (You have to buy it though.)

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