Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There was a lot of really interesting information in this book that I was excited to read about. However, it was buried in a ton of information that while it did add a little color here and there, it largely bogged down my overall understanding of the topic. The main players in this narrative are the CIA, Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Massoud, President Reagan, the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia, Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Bin Laden, Pakistan, President Clinton, the Taliban, and arguably the drones. However, there are thousands of individuals in this book with all sorts of personal details about them such as what sports their children played. I think an abridged version of this book would be great, but the full version was just too much. I finished it out of sheer stubbornness.
Having recently read The Black Swan and the related series of books, the thing that stands out about this narrative to me it how impossible it was to predict the long-term consequences of US action in Afghanistan during the Cold War. So if you're looking for answers or the ability to assign blame, there might be none to be found. The most likely cause as far as I can determine is fanatical religion itself.
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