Reddit Reddit reviews Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

We found 66 Reddit comments about Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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66 Reddit comments about Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001:

u/arjun101 · 1307 pointsr/worldnews

Incidentally, during the '50s and '60s Western governments were against the secular, nationalist, and socialist movements that were laughing off religious ideas and trying to modernize their countries, and sided with the Islamic monarchies.

Arguably the primary reason why monarchies like Saudi Arabia didn't get overthrown by the various labor movements, progressive technocrats, and nationalist military officers that emerged against them during the '50s and '60s was because of the massive amounts of military and economic support given to these backwards, totalitarian monarchies by Western governments (mainly the US and the UK).

-edit-

Here are some good books on the very interesting and complex subject of the Middle East, Islamic fundamenetalism, and US foreign policy

u/sterexx · 473 pointsr/worldnews

Gathering and analyzing intelligence on other countries is its primary, original role. Most directly for keeping specifically the President informed of just what the heck is developing around the world. It was started after WW2 in order to prevent another Pearl Harbor surprise. And they were not allowed to gather intelligence on US soil, but that has not been strictly observed.

This work involves gathering tasks as mundane as always reading the news in a target country, as political context matters as much as tapped phone conversations when putting together an analysis. But the movie-caliber stuff is important too. They tap phones, recruit sources in governments and industry, build a whole network of resources.

To collect this information, the CIA uses two kinds of employees. “Official cover” officers pose as diplomats in US embassies worldwide. All embassy staff will be under surveillance from the target country’s counter-intelligence organizations — their FBI equivalents — so meeting sources is risky and they might stick to less blatant parts of the job. But on the upside, they have diplomatic immunity and just get sent home if caught spying. Non-official cover officers get jobs in multinational companies or assume some invented identity that gives them a reason to be in country. They can more freely recruit local sources but must rot in prison or die if caught, unacknowledged.

Info goes back to legions of analysis teams working in offices in the US who prepare it into reports.

The CIA also engages in covert and clandestine activities meant to influence other countries. This latter role has grown, diminished, and changed in nature throughout its history depending on political climate. Some bad press from some really ugly leaks in the 70’s (I think) about the extent of these activities put a big damper on them for a while, requiring Presidential sign-offs on killings, iirc. Post 9/11, the CIA is back on the hard stuff but keeps a legion of lawyers to make sure it’s teccchhnically legal.

These cold war activities include funding and organizing Afghan resistance against communist rule, for example. A whole covert war. Also tons of election rigging, assassination, etc. Post cold war they have been involved in anti-terror activities like running the war against the Taliban and assassinating militants and their neighbors with drone missiles.

Fun fact: “covert” operations are meant to hide who is behind an operation, “clandestine” are meant to conceal the entire operation from anyone but us. Compare an assassination to a phone tap.

Edit: in one episode (2 or 3 i think) of Netflix docu series Inside the Mossad explains how Israel’s foreign intelligence uses elaborate sting operations to recruit sources. By the time they realize they’re working for Mossad, they’re in too deep to not go along with it. Intelligence orgs do this a lot when they know the people they need probably hate the org’s country. This is basically all the time for Israel spying on other middle east states. Case officers often use really impressively manipulative strategies for recruiting and controlling their local agents. “The Americans” illustrates some great examples of this, if a little more dramatic.

Edit 2A: There are a bunch of other specialized US foreign intelligence agencies, like the NSA that traditionally intercepts signals and cracks their codes.

Edit 2B: In the UK, MI6 of James Bond fame does foreign intelligence and MI5 does counter-intelligence. These existed during WW2 but back then the lines got blurred, with both organizations running their own double agents against Nazi Germany’s own two competing foreign intelligence orgs. In fact, 0% of any spies Germany sent to Britain were able to work for enough time before being caught to send anything useful over. By 1944, when the UK was more confident that they were controlling all the sources sending info to Germany (the ones that wouldn’t work for the UK as double agents radioing harmless intel back home were either dead or imprisoned), they fed Germany massive misinformation about the location (and timing?) of the D-Day Normandy invasion. Read the excellent book Operation Double Cross to learn about this incredible operation.

BOOK EDIT:

Books on the CIA I found rewarding.

“The Master of Disguise” by Tony Mendez. Ben Affleck played him in Argo. Memoir of this artist’s time in the CIA inventing disguises and forging travel documents, often to exfiltrate an exposed source. Watch or read Argo too if you haven’t, the film at least is incredibly cool because its evacuation of American diplomats from Iran as Canadian filmmakers is largely real.
https://www.amazon.com/Master-Disguise-Secret-Life-CIA/dp/0060957913/

“Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.” Recent declassifications are exposing just how terribly the CIA bungled things in the early cold war, which is what this is about. From massive nuclear arms race miscalculations that threatened the world, to unfounded communism paranoia that led to totally unnecessary coups, they used classification to hide their greatest errors.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307389006/

“Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda.” Beyond just the tech, you get insight into the lives of tech team members who would bug homes for their career. Interesting stuff. I think I read a different edition but this is probably fine.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0452295475/

“Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001”
Tom Clancy name, but actually an extremely detailed history of the CIA’s 1980’s support for Afghan mujahideen against the USSR and continued involvement in the 90’s. Down to highlighting cultural generational differences within the multiple cohorts of CIA officers in charge of the long-running operation. Also highlights Pakistan’s demand to hand out all the money, both to act as kingmaker for the dominant factions and to skim hella bux off the top. Descriptions of the conflict and how the Afghans relentlessly persevered and how factions had independent deals and truces with USSR. Then much of the civil war aftermath of USSR pullout when the US stopped caring. Taliban become popular for not tolerating warlords raping local boys, an issue that remains to this day among US supported administration (a coalition of “former” warlords who you will recognize if you read the book). Great read, incredible breadth.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143034669/

u/[deleted] · 170 pointsr/worldnews

Fun fact, the US government (lead by Nixon and Kissinger) actively resupplied the Pakistani military during their genocidal campaign in Bangladesh in 1971, even though they knew what was happening. They also did the same thing during the Indonesian genocides of the mid-50s, coordinated with Islamist paramilitaries. And during the 1980s, both the US and Saudi Arabia poured billions of dollars into General Zia's dictatorship (whose social base was the same political party that perpetrated the mass killings in Bangladesh), helping him purge leftists and secularists and build thousands of Wahhabi madrassas--which got plenty of recruits from the refugees fleeing the US coalition's insurgency in Afghanistan.

I'd say that much of the rise of paramilitary Islamist politics in the last few decades in South Asia comes down to the legacy of US-Saudi imperialism in the area, and their use of the Pakistani military as an pillar of their regional power. The effects of the 1980s war in Afghanistan can't be underestimated, it totally mutated the socio-political fabric of Pakistan and the wider region. I really like this quote from Steve Coll's Ghost Wars:

>In 1971 there had been only nine hundred madrassas in all of Pakistan. By the summer of 1988 there were about eight thousand official religious schools and an estimated twenty-five thousand unregistered ones, many of them clustered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier and funded by wealthy patrons from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States...Almost a decade earlier, [ISI] was a small and demoralized unit within the Pakistani military…Now ISI was an army within the army, boasting multiple deep-pocketed patrons, including the supremely deep-pocketed Prince Turki and his Saudi GID. ISI enjoyed an ongoing operational partnership with the CIA as well, with periodic access to the world’s most sophisticated technology and intelligence collection systems….Outside the Pakistan army itself, less than ten years after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, ISI had been transformed by CIA and Saudi subsidies into Pakistan’s most powerful institution (Coll 2004: 180).

And of course, the ISI--and their Saudi backers--went on to fund Islamist paramilitary networks across the region, both in Kashmir and Bangladesh.

u/AaFen · 112 pointsr/MapPorn

If you're still struggling to understand the link between the Taliban and 9/11 then you really need to get some research done.

​

I highly recommend Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. It's an excellent readable-but-academic look at the recent history of Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion through to 9/11.

u/mikerhoa · 23 pointsr/PoliticalHumor

This is wrong on multiple levels, built the most galling one is that somehow you're suggesting that radical Islam is a direct result of Western involvement in Muslim countries.

That's incomplete at best and dangerously ignorant at worst.

First off, some of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism are allies with the US (re Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UAE) and have experienced fuck all in terms of bombing and aggression. There's a lot of money to be made in warfare and chaos.

Also, the main cause of radical Islam is the religion itself above all else. You're insane if you think otherwise. This isn't a bunch of ragtag fighters battling imperialism and defending their innocent families from Western bullies. These are bloodthirsty scumbags who cross borders and slaughter civilians in an effort to spread their monstrous ideology and attain power.

And finally, if the West is so oppressive, corruptive, and murderous why do so many Islamic governments cry out when we threaten to cut off revenue streams and support?

EDIT: Here are some suggestions:

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2015/11/17/10-must-read-books-on-terrorism/

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Life-Emerald-City-Inside/dp/0307278832

http://www.amazon.com/Hatreds-Kingdom-Arabia-Supports-Terrorism/dp/0895260611

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak_(United_Arab_Emirates)

u/emr1028 · 20 pointsr/booksuggestions

Quicksand, by Geoffry Wawro

Power, Faith, and Fantasy by Michael Oren

The Coming Anarchy by Robert Kaplan

The Revenge of Geography by Robert Kaplan

The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr (although to be honest I found this one a little dull)

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran


Little America by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Soldiers of God by Robert Kaplan


Sleeping with the Devil by Baer

Dirty Wars by Jeremey Scahill

Ghost Wars by Steve Coll


Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile

The Way of the Knife by Mark Mazzetti


Eastward to Tartary by Robert Kaplan (I actually haven't read this one yet but it's definitely on my to do list and I'm a huge fan of Kaplan's writing, observation, and analysis.)

The Ends of the Earth by Robert Kaplan

This is a partial list of some books I've read in the past couple of years. I put stars next to the ones that I think are the really really excellent ones. Some of them aren't entirely about the Middle East but the concepts in them are really important if you want to understand the region. I hope you look through the list and at the very least look at some of the books that Amazon recommends to go along with these books.

Oh, you should also check out this essay. I like to think it's decent reading if you want to understand what motivated Bin Laden and the context surrounding his life.


If you manage to read just a few of these, and also keep up with the news (I recommend a subscription to the Economist and to the New York Times) you will be a phenomenally well educated person about the Middle East.

u/pondiki · 20 pointsr/motogp

I am pretty sure MotoGP will race at Qatar in 2018. Unless there are some major geopolitical changes, Dorna will race there until the Qataris stop paying. The Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis, Bahrainis have had squabbles for a long time. The Saudis saying the Qataris sponsor terrorism is the pot calling the kettle black and they know it.

I recommend this article for some context on the Gulf "crisis": http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/how-can-the-qatar-crisis-be-resolved

Steve Coll is a great journalist, recommend his book Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

u/arjun10 · 16 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

>have you not seen the persecution that our ancestors suffered under Islam?

I'm not an expert on the history of Islam in India. Some say the Mughal Empire killed 80,000,000 Hindus through the centuries, others say that this is garbage and that the Mughals had a pretty hands-off approach toward governance, others point out that there were Muslim dynasties in India who fought against the Mughals, others talk about how Islamic rulers and their methods ranged from everything from Akhbar to Aurungazeb. So I'm not sold either way.

>This is a clash of civilizations and the Neville Chamberlain routine against Islam has failed.

See, this is the simplistic and superficial "Them and Us" narrative that I cannot stand. Radical Islam is very much a product of so-called "Western civilization".

The CIA and the State Department funded radical mujahadeen in Afghanistan through the '80s, and former directors of the CIA like William Casey were Christian fundamentalists who wanted to see an alliance between Christians and Muslims against the "godless communists" of the USSR, and Saudi Arabia--the premier source of radical Islamic fundamentalism--has been a key regional ally of the West since World War 1 when the British helped the al-Saud family and the fundamentalist Wahabi clerics gain power over the peninsula. Check out Ghost Wars and Carbon Democracy for good pieces of scholarship on all of this.

Then when this came back and bit the US in the ass on 9/11 the government promptly invaded and occupied Afghanistan and then Iraq, eventually extending the war--undeclared and covert--into Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. Hardly a "Neville Chamberlain" routine.

And even after all this, the US government thought it was a good idea to turn around and once again start arming radical Sunni militants, in order to destabilize and counterbalance Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon, and increase the influence of the Gulf States (which themselves are the primary source of funding for terrorist activity).

But hey I guess this is all too complicated for some people so I guess we should just stick with a black-and-white fairy tale about Good and Evil so our heads don't hurt too much, right?

u/purpleolive · 16 pointsr/CombatFootage

I haven't read too many books about the subject, but one that I really like is 'Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001', by Steve Coll. It's incredibly illuminating and a fascinating read.

Robert Pape's 'Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It' is also one of my favorites.

u/ssd0004 · 15 pointsr/AskSocialScience

As described in the excellent journalistic novel Ghost Wars, Saudi Arabian elites and Pakistani's ISI backed the Taliban, who followed a fundamentalist Sunni ideology known as Deobandi. Deobandi is rather similar in nature to Wahhabism, which is dominant in Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, Iran (and other regional powers like India) supported the Northern Alliance. The Northern Alliance wasn't Shia, and was mostly defined by being anti-Taliban.

The source of funding for Hamas presents an interesting case; while most of its funding came from Saudi Arabia in the early 2000s, this is no longer the case today. Shia regimes like Iran and Syria also have a significant role in funding Hamas.

In general, it is very useful to see the various conflicts between Islamic groups in the Middle East as a result of Saudi Arabia and Iran's geopolitical rivalries, and their proxy militant groups.

It's also interesting to note that the ability of Saudi elites to finance Sunni extremism around the globe is largely facilitated through their access to the world's oil markets, and their historic ability to surge or cutback oil production in order to control oil prices. In my mind, this marks Islamic fundamentalism very much as a facet of the world-capitalist system, rather than part of a "war of civilizations" that Western media so often likes to talk about.

u/CygnusX1 · 15 pointsr/movies

I've never heard of this. Do you have a source? I'm not doubting you, just interesting after having read Ghost Wars.

u/StudyingTerrorism · 14 pointsr/geopolitics

Unfortunately, the most efficient way to become knowledgable about the Middle East is to read. A lot. The Middle East is a far more complex place than most people imagine and understanding the region requires a great deal of knowledge. I have been studying the Middle East for nearly a decade and I still feel like there is so much that I do not know. I would start by reading reputable news sources every day. Places like The Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, Financial Times, are the Los Angeles Times are good English language news sources that you should look at. Additionally, I have written up a suggested reading list for learning about the Middle East, though it is a bit more security-related since that's my area of expertise. I hope it helps. And feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

Books - General History of the Middle East


u/LeonJones · 14 pointsr/politics

Not true...this is a common misconception. The Mujahideen (which is actually just a term describing one who engages in jihad, not a name for a single group) were composed of many different groups. Bin Laden was one of the major Arab influences in Afghanistan during the soviet war and after but we never funded or trained him. He had no problem convincing wealthy Saudis to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to his causes in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The United States was heavily invested with the Northern Alliance and it's leader Ahmad Shah Massoud who arguably was Afghanistan's best chance at actual peace. Al-Qaeda assassinated him 2 days before 9/11 because they knew if the US had any chance of winning in Afghanistan, they would need Massouds leadership.

>Source : http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414140900&sr=8-1&keywords=ghost+wars

u/wolfram184 · 12 pointsr/changemyview

Do you even read your "sources"?

CIA AND FBI NOT WORKING TOGETHER. CONSPIRACY!

THE US GOVERNMENT USES THINK TANKS THAT HAVE FORMER POLITICANS AND EX-MILITARY! THE CABAL GOES DEEPER THAN WE THOUGHT!

No, organizations "defending their turf" is one of the biggest management roadblocks inside and outside the government. Even units inside the CIA and FBI often don't work together. It's human nature.

And of course the government is going to use foreign policy think tanks staffed by former goverment and private foreign policy experts. (And non experts, they can certainly be incompetent). I mean duh.

I know I don't have the time to waste on reading this inane BS. All it is is a bunch of (often dubious) correlations that are supposed to advance an agenda. I'll stick with reading actual sources like The Looming Tower or Ghost Wars

u/minnabruna · 8 pointsr/AskHistorians

You might like My Khyber Marriage and Valley of the Giant Buddahs. They are autobiographical reports by a Scotswoman who married a Pashtun and moved to Afghanistan in the 1920s. My Life: From Brigand to King--Autobiography of Amir Habibullah may also be of interest. It is an as-told-to autobiography of an Afghan brigand who briefly overthrew the King about ten years after the first two books were written. The Road to Oxiana is a bit clunky but offers a Western perspective on Afghanistan in the 1930s.

The more general Afghanistan of the Afghans, written by the husband of the woman mentioned above, focuses a lot of culture and cultural history, Afghanistan is a more general history and this Afghanistan claims to be more about the military history but I haven't read it myself to judge.

If you want something more contemporary, The Places In Between is a decent travelogue by an adventurer/preservationist/mercenary who walked through parts of the country. It didn't blow me away but it is interesting and most contemporary Afghan books from the West are such trash that this one shines in comparison. The author really did go to areas of Afghanistan about which most people know very little.

Ghost Wars is a popular book that focuses on the US involvement in the area during the Soviet Afghan war. Taliban is another popular book, and focuses on the Taliban in the 1990s and early 2000s. The link is to the second edition which I believe is updated.

u/wievid · 8 pointsr/news

Sorry, but you are sooooooo very wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban#Origin

I encourage you to read Steve Coll's book Ghost Wars (Amazon) - it provides an extremely detailed look into the run-up to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the entire war itself and the aftermath leading up to 11 September 2001. I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you, but the United States had absolutely no direct hand in the Taliban's creation. Certainly there were fighters that received training and funding via the US and Saudi Arabia, but the true origins of the Taliban were with a group that the US hardly dealt with but received the full support of Pakistan's ISI in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion during the 1990s.

u/soapdealer · 7 pointsr/AskHistorians

The best account of the US's involvement is in Afghanistan that I've read is the Pulitzer Prize winning Ghost Wars by Steve Coll.

u/Samuel_I · 7 pointsr/worldnews

I take issue with some of the points raised here:

  1. This is not one of them, as it is certainly a reason why we stay. I'd also include the perceived PR failure of being the one to 'admit defeat.'

  2. This logic is exactly what exacerbates these supposed hotbeds of terrorism. It's a product of fully internalizing the narrative of the War on Terror, which, I would argue, has led to things like ISIS. "...we will basically see a global terror state erupt," no we already have that in the form of Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan gives them a rallying cry and a casus belli for their actions. Our continued involvement in the war breeds more militants than a 'terrorist haven' ever could.

  3. It's justifying a war by saying, "Well, we've been doing it for 20 years, why would we stop now?" which isn't exactly a great justification in and of itself. What's it matter that this is now a more conventional war? That just demonstrates that the conflict has gotten completely out of hand. The Taliban currently controls more territory than they have since the invasion. We're using the fact that nothing we're doing is working as a justification for continued involvement? Furthermore, it's not surprising that the Taliban's 2015 rise was the result of a power vacuum, since that's how they rose the first time. And guess what? We share a lot of responsibility for that conflict and vacuum too! It was a US, KSA, and Pakistani support that ratcheted up the conflict in the wake of the Soviet invasion and led to a lot of the destabilization that we've seen in Afghanistan, including the power vacuum left after the main players in the civil war were exhausted that allowed the Taliban to rise. Our actions, including attempting to stem 'terror threats' have directly contributed to a cycle that perpetuates that very terror and destabilization.

    >The british and french used to fight in these kinds of colonial hot spots for decades at a time, withdrawing troops and then sending more troops back whenever there was a flareup. Its not entirely different here.

    Typically using the logic of literal colonial powers isn't the best look in the year 2018.

    >Its important to note that this isn't entirely OUR WAR either. It is a civil war in afghanistan, that we are involved in.

    A civil war that only took the form it has because of our actions dating back decades.

    >Its important to note that this isn't entirely OUR WAR either. It is a civil war in afghanistan, that we are involved in. This isn't like Vietnam where we have hundreds of thousands of soldiers there, occupying the country. This is more just a war where we are supporting one side of it. We only have a few thousand troops there at the moment, we aren't the main fighting force. However, if we pulled out, the taliban would win and conquer the country.

    As you rightly point out, without our support the central government would possibly be overtaken by the Taliban, or, at the very least, forced to negotiate (though, they're now doing that anyway). The point here is that one cannot force a people into taking a government that they don't want without mass suppression and violence. Is that really the end game we want? If so, how exactly are we better than the Taliban? We've brought death and destruction to Afghanistan with very little to show for it, especially if we take things all the way back to 1978.

    >We simply can't have that happen, its unthinkable and the consequences would be horrific. So we will stay, for a very, very long time, if need be.

    And such a policy of perpetual war is morally abhorrent. I'd say that the War on Terror has skewed our collective moral compass, but, to be fair, it's never been oriented toward justice anyway, so we're really just seeing more of the same.

    Regardless, I'd advise we take a minute to think about how we got here, how Afghanistan became a hotbed of terror, why these terrorists do what they do, and the role we play in it all. Are we really working toward a better end for the Afghan people? Or are we just finding nails for the bloody hammer that is our military?

    Edit: For those looking for a good history of our involvement in Afghanistan from 1979 to 9/11, I would recommend Ghost Wars by Steve Coll.

    Edit 2: Changed some language with the clarification that OP was referring to US policy and not offering his own prescriptions.
u/flexcabana21 · 7 pointsr/worldnews

Not the guy making the claim but you can read ghost wars, it talks about what the U.S. knew.
https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

u/kaneda33 · 7 pointsr/videos

> I believe the biggest event that led Bin Laden to set his sights on the US was the fact that during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia welcomed US troops into their border despite Bin Laden petitioning the government to leave the responsibility of defending Saudi Arabia (and Mecca/Medina etc.) to Muslims and the mujahidden.
> When the Saudi government spurned him and allowed the US to "temporarily" establish bases and put US troops on Saudi soil, he began to take serious issue with the Saudi government. And when it became clear that the "temporary" status of US troops in Saudi Arabia was bullshit, he truly began to hate the US.

Yep yep. Steve Coll goes into great detail about this in Ghost Wars.
Great read.

u/mthoody · 6 pointsr/Military

Billy's Afghan adventures are chronicled in First In by Gary Schroen. First person account of the first team into Afghanistan after 9/11 (CIA prep for SF).

Also read Jawbreaker by Gary Berntsen which picks up where First In leaves off, including the taking of Kabul. Also a first person account.

Then read the prequel that ends on Sep 10: Ghost Wars. 2005 Pulitzer Prize.

These three books are truly a trilogy in every sense.

u/sweetlou · 5 pointsr/politics

Also in the "conspiracy theory" category:
Ghost Wars, an enthralling piece of investigave journalism done by the Washington Post's Steve Coll about the rise of bin Laden: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=pd_ts_b_6?ie=UTF8&s=books
Hubris, another excellent investigative book about how the Bush Administration sold the Iraq War:
http://www.amazon.com/Hubris-Inside-Story-Scandal-Selling/dp/030734682X/ref=pd_ts_b_22?ie=UTF8&s=books
Conspiracy of Fools, a book about how Enron collapsed. I guess it's not really a "conspiracy theory" book in that it describes a conspiracy that actually took place and for which people were convicted.

u/Pardoism · 5 pointsr/videos

Stolen from here: "Al Qaeda is a global terrorist movement with the United States (including the American homeland) as a prominent, if not the primary, target. The Taliban is a Pashtun political movement with a focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan's largely Pashtun border".

Basically, the Taliban mainly cares about Afghanistan, Al Qaida cares about the whole of the Islamic world. They're active in lots of countries.

It's not that easy to explain, unfortunately. If you're really interested, I recommend the book "Ghost Wars".

u/PatsyTy · 5 pointsr/CombatFootage

If you're ever interested in learning about the lead up to 9/11 in full immaculate detail read Steve Coll's Ghost Wars. At around six hundred pages the book is quite long, but it is the most in depth analysis of what was happening on the ground of Afghanistan from the 70s through to 2001. Coll manages to do this in a uniquely non-partisan way, that I have found to be lacking in most books on the wars in the middle east.

u/ReginaldLADOO · 4 pointsr/worldnews

Ghost Wars by Steve Coll Check it out, very informative.

u/chipvd · 3 pointsr/worldnews

Reading this thread makes me want to recommend [Ghost Wars] (http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669) to anyone interested in this topic.

u/SqoishMaloish · 3 pointsr/CFBOffTopic

Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa is a phenomenal book about postcolonial central Africa, the Rwandan genocide, and the two Congo wars. If you've ever wondered what drives conflicts in the world this book is a great place to learn.


The next one on my tap is: Ghost Wars: the CIAs Secret History in Afghanistan from the Soviet Invasion to 9/11

u/RebootTheServer · 3 pointsr/worldnews

Yeah I have been reading this and it talks about that. They didn't start getting roads until the 50s! Like what the fuck

u/jamillian · 3 pointsr/books

Ghost Wars by Steve Coll is a very interesting explanation of the roots of the current conflict in Afghanistan

u/LetoFeydThufirSiona · 3 pointsr/worldnews

> I would highly recommend the book ghost wars if you want to know more

Yeah, absolutely, thank very much for the recommendation; I've always been really curious about this time and place.

For others interested, didn't know of him, but the author seems wholly legit and here's the link to the book's Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

u/mahervelous22 · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347013396&sr=8-1&keywords=ghost+wars+the+secret+history+of+the+cia

Very thorough analysis of this theme in Afghanistan. I was impressed by the author's knowledge on the topic.

u/Abaum2020 · 2 pointsr/politics

This is absolutely insane that an article of such questionable integrity can reach the front page on this website and it really speaks to the overall ignorance that so many people (and not just neckbeards on reddit) have when it comes to the actualities of the whole Bin Laden-Taliban-Pakistan-CIA story.

It's an absolute tragedy. And I know Im pissing upstream on this one, but fuck it, this cathartic for me I guess.

For those that just read the title on the reddit post and not the entirety of the actual article (which I'm sure is most of you since no one really has time to read something that they deep-down know to be total shit): This article cherrypicks sources in way to construct an incredibly deceiving and simply false chain of accusations that rest on an incredibly misleading set of premises.

The whole thing with Sudan being able to extradite OBL in 90s? Are you kidding me? Like the Islamist government in Sudan had the wherewithal or the desire to extradite one of the biggest patrons in Khartoum who spent shit tons of money financing schools and hospitals? (Sure, they paid lip service to the CIA and the US to avoid being labelled a supporter of terrorism but they had no incentive to follow through on anything). The CIA had been keeping really close tabs on Osama bin Laden (there was a CIA Bin Laden unit in 1996 for fucks sake) while he was in the Sudan due to his suspected financing of terrorists - but he was never named as a co-conspirator in the first WTC bombing - the article gives you link to a PBS timeline of OBL's life but it never says anything about him being named as a co-conspirator to the first WTC bombing. That whole endeavor was financed by KSM (Yousef's uncle who lent the guy like 400 dollars for some fertilizer and a truck rental) the CIA knew OBL had nothing to do with 93 bombing.

I could cite things but it doesn't matter since I guess no one on reddit actually clicks them to independently verify the shit they've just read.

And honestly I stopped reading there because I knew immediately that this article is total shit. I could probably sit here and try to debunk the entirety of this article but it's frankly not worth my time and I'll never be able to convince people otherwise. But please for the love of fuck read some WELL SOURCED books on this topic because it's an incredibly interesting and important piece of American history that is soooo misunderstood today.

Here is one example Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 - it's by no means the definitive work on the subject, but its a good start, and the author actually tries to independently verify his information and when he cannot he actually tells you and refrains from the type of shitbrain supposition and outright lies that you see in this article.

Don't trust shitty online blogs which are NO BETTER than the mindless drivel you get watching CNN, FOX, or MSNBC. The guy/girl writing this has no incentive or obligation to be truthful - only to get the most views on her/his fucking blog and (s)he's feeding this garbage down your throats. It's really popular to criticize the government these days (and trust me, a lot of it is justified), but this is just sad that the people writing this article are feeding you same general type of shit that they accuse the government of feeding you on a daily basis...an absolute tragedy.

u/Linkbytes · 2 pointsr/army

I also recommend reading this

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

It's a very in depth book about the history of Afghanistan, US, an Pakistan relations. It's not really a light read but it's also not a light subject.

u/WarrenSmalls · 2 pointsr/politics

Operation Cyclone

Lots of info on Soviet Afghan war

Really thorough book on the history of the war and US involvement - Ghost Wars

u/mothballette · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Must have had another tab open. Sorry.

It's been a decades-long policy. Here's a short timeline of our involvement up until 9/11 to get your bearings, but it is still going on in places like Syria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had to submit a bill to congress to ask that we stop supporting terrorists. I'm not sure they ever did.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/01/americas-devils-game-extremist-islam/

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook had stated:

>Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west."

Nat'l Security Advisor to Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, admits that the U.S. provoked the USSR to invade Afghanistan. Their war only lasted 10 years. We're on 15:

How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, by Zbigniew Brzezinski:

https://www.counterpunch.org/1998/01/15/how-jimmy-carter-and-i-started-the-mujahideen/

Because of our documented history of stirring up trouble and using it as an excuse for regime change, I am deeply skeptical of any "organic" insurgency against any country in our crosshairs.

Hillary Clinton admitting it on tape:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqn0bm4E9yw

Books:
Ghost Wars, by Steve Coll:

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JTD71FPS7CBJZXMW6PPQ

I used to get many of my books on the Middle East here:

https://www.middleeastbooks.com/collections/books/u-s-foreign-policy

There is so much more. It's a complicated history.

u/PIK_Toggle · 2 pointsr/IAmA

I'll add a few more that don't deal directly with overall ME history:

​

  1. Ghost Wars - It's really two stories: 1) The USA's involvement in Afghanistan in the 1980s. and 2) The aftermath of the war (i.e., the rise of the Taliban and AQ). There's a second volume called "Directorate S" which I have not read yet (I plan on reading it soon).

    ​

  2. This one is covers recent events in Egypt

    ​

  3. I read a book review of this one and it is on my list.

    ​

  4. The Looming Tower This will overlap nicely with "Ghost Wars"

    ​

    ​

    ​

    ​
u/Spam-Monkey · 2 pointsr/movies

Again most of that money was funneled through Pakistan central intelligence.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

Give it a read. Helped me understand how the we fucked ourselves a little better.

u/PranicEther · 2 pointsr/politics

You can start by finding out who your representatives are here.

Learn about what each office does and what they are responsible for.

What issues are you most concerned with? Taxes? Healthcare? Unemployment? etc. How has your represented responded to these issues (i.e. voting record)?

If you're a student in university, it may be helpful to take an intro political science class. If not, hopefully, some redditors can suggest some good reading for you.

Some websites or news programs that I find helpful in getting some info are NPR, BBC Worldnews, Al-Jazeera and Euronews. I'm not a fan of local news programming. I read a lot online for the local stuff.

You may enjoy The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report. They're comedy shows but they tend to show the absurdities of it all. You can a learn a lot too. Sometimes, I enjoy the roundtable discussions on Real Time with Bill Maher. I've gone as far as to purchase some books based on the discussions they've had.

I can't recommend books for "getting to know politics" per se, but a few in my collection include that I found informative:

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria


The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein


Ghost Wars by Steve Coll


The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse


Politics of the Veil by Joan Wallach Scott


Voices of Freedom vol. 1 & 2 by Eric Foner


Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken




The Parliament of Man by Paul Kennedy

I found them enlightening and some gave me a clearer look at the workings of government and politics in America. Some stuff you have to take with a grain of salt. Checking the references from anything you read is helpful imo. Hope this helps a little.


u/mattman59 · 2 pointsr/conspiracy

I got 2 minutes into this and turned it off because of the weakness of it. Why would the CIA rely on a single source for the information about UBL when dozens existed? I bet very few of you realize Ali Mohamed was a US trained special forces instructor and just so happened to set up most of bin laden's security. The videos also fails to mention the merging of al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the single biggest event in bringing al-Qaeda into the forefront. Even Israel see the CIA has having the best grasp on the interconnectedness of the various global jihadi movement.

Educate yourself, I promise books won't bite

The Bin Ladens
Ghost Wars
*Inside the Jihad

u/dpointer · 2 pointsr/worldnews

Sounds Familiar. I'm sure it will probably work out fine.

u/Daveeatworld · 2 pointsr/worldnews

I strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in how we botched Afghanistan as a whole up to 9/11. I'm currently reading it now and its very interesting and well researched. The Saudi Intelligence Agency is a major player along with the Pakistanis.:

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

u/chadillac83 · 2 pointsr/SocialEngineering

Do you find it a little odd that we illegally bombed ISIS inside of Syria without Assad's approval for months while they slowly grew in size and power. Suddenly Russia shows up and starts dropping bombs and ISIS starts losing ground? Do you find it a little odd that the news as reported in the US often paints the anti-Assad fighters as the good guys while Assad is battling against ISIS. So if we're supporting the fight against Assad's army, but not supporting ISIS, but Assad is fighting with ISIS to keep his country... then who exactly are we supporting? Do you find it at all odd that as Assad started their assault on Alleppo that the news portrayed the killing of fleeing civilians as if it was Assad who was doing the killing, when in reality it was the "freedom fighters" (read ISIS) who was killing them as the fled town.

I am by no means pro-Assad, and if anyone is they should look into the wholesale massacre he participated in during the initial uprisings... I'm not convinced that those uprisings weren't covert operations organized by our Government riding the revolutionary wave of the Arab Spring. Just like we did in Libya.

You show me the line in the sand that differentiates being pro-terror vs simply arming and supporting groups that promote terror.

edit: downvotes, huh? Here, have some links.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/08/politics/amnesty-international-isis-weapons-u-s-/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/russia-turkey-syria-161228050019245.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/dark-side-free-syrian_b_2380399.html

edit2: here, read a book on how we roll, you might learn something.

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

u/akjax · 1 pointr/todayilearned

Do some research about Afghanistan under Soviet Influence (before we decided we needed to drive those damn commies out of there).

Ghost Wars is a great read

u/Zenmasterkyle · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

This is an incredibly complex issue. This book does an amazing job explaining it.

u/shockaDee · 1 pointr/conspiracy

No, I'm pretty sure there was a break with him sometime in the early 90's. This is around the point when he was denouced by his Saudi Family.

A really good book about it is Ghost Wars by Stephen Coll. The best stuff is of course at the end of the book, but it gives a great view from an intelligence perspective of the historical events leading up to 9/11 and OBL's involvement. Granted the author does take the traditional view that OBL is responsible for 9/11, but it also is a very valid historical accounting from a public facing view of some of the events and interests at play.

u/chjones994 · 1 pointr/conspiratard

I read the book Ghost Wars: A History of the CIA in Afghanistan from 1979 to 2001. I never was more than 'maybe' on 9/11 being a conspiracy, but reading this and having the endless footnotes killed all doubt. Plus it has the answers he's clearly looking for. And its a damn good story

u/SaitoHawkeye · 1 pointr/IAmA

> > Yeah the CIA is just super.

I don't even understand what your metaphor means anymore, re: the distributor. Saddam was a monster, and also the powerbroker for Mesopotamia. He was a monstrous asshole. And we took him out...and opened a political void into which dozens of smaller, even MORE MONSTROUS people are now rushing. It's not gone well.

It's not even about Machiavellian tactics. From a realpolitik perspective, Iraq was a total failure.

u/thomasGK · 1 pointr/space

You need to read Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

That has all the info. No conspiracies. Just a long line of fucked up situations.

u/crasherdgrate · 1 pointr/metalgearsolid

Read this on Tuesday/Wednesday last week, Seemed interesting.
Also, seemingly randomly, a month back my fiance recommended a book about Gulf War. I wasn't much interested. It was called 'Ghost Wars'.

On Thursday, while checking online for what book to order for myself (I'm trying to pick up the habit of reading), I searched for the book. Lo and behold! What did I find?

>"Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (Penguin Books) Paperback – December 28, 2004"

amazon link

The first chapter talks about how CIA had started to buy back Stinger missiles in the 90s to stop them from falling in the wrong hands. The same Stinger missiles that helped the Afghans defend themselves from Soviet invasions.

u/man_with_titties · 1 pointr/worldnews

In the 1990s Bill Clinton had the opportunity to kill Osama Bin Laden with a cruise missile attack while OBL was at a falconing camp in Afghanistan. The trouble was that the CIA was not sure how many members of the United Arab Emirates royal families were hunting with him.

source:Ghost Wars by Steve Cohl http://www.amazon.ca/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404680928&sr=1-1&keywords=ghost+wars

In absolute monarchies like Saudia Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, the "independent" businessmen and statesmen are all close to or related to the monarchs.

u/Groumph09 · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

I have not read these but just what I turned up through the places I typically look for books.

u/kaeladurden · 1 pointr/politics

What really scares me here is that everything happened right now reminds me of Ghost Wars where the CIA watched and reported that Afghanistan (and Pakistan by extension) and got a ton of young men involved in religion and extremism and overthrew their governments and enslaved their women and closed all the schools... all that bad stuff that happened in the 80s to the muslims in those countries is happening here. Now. What are we going to do?

u/loverofreeses · 1 pointr/videos

I think people are downvoting because this has a certain "truther" feel to it, whether you meant it that way or not.

That being said, the situation involving our foreign intelligence at the time (or lack thereof) absolutely played a crucial role in 9/11. There is a fantastic book out there by Steve Coll called Ghost Wars which goes in-depth about the role of the CIA, US and foreign governments in the lead-up to 9/11. Not in a "truther" way at all, but rather the details that contributed to the US being caught off-guard that day. Definitely worth a read for those interested in such topics, or who like history, politics, etc.

u/snackbot7000 · 1 pointr/NoStupidQuestions

There's a phenomenal book called Ghost Wars about this. Highly recommended, it might sound like conspiracy nonsense but it was written by NY Times journalist and won a bunch of awards. Reads like a spy thriller.

The TL;DR of the book is that the CIA started sending crates full of cash and supplies (including Stinger missiles) to local Afghani warlords who were fighting the Soviets. Certainly not just "advisors." Through the early 80's, there was a faction in the U.S. Congress who basically said, "Holy shit, the religious extremists are so effective, the crazies give the best bang for the buck, so hook them up with more money and equipment!" They got what they wanted.

It's very disheartening to read about how very competent (and relatively secular) warlords like Ahmed Massoud got very little support from the U.S. and violent butchers like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar got Stinger missiles, communications equipment, funding, tactical information etc. Hekmatyar fought a lot of other Afghani groups with the supplies, and he also infamously threw acid in women's faces if he didn't like their style of dress. But those types of guys got the hook-up, and level-headed guys like Massoud got shafted.

The book also explains very clearly how poorly the supplies were being tracked. Money and weapons were often handled by the Pakistanis who could deliver the gear to whomever they pleased.

It's very complicated, but needless to say, supporting these crazies was totally insane and had a lot of tragic consequences. It might not be technically accurate to say "CIA created al Qaeda" but it would be accurate to say that factions within Congress and Intelligence agencies kicked a giant hornet's nest and started funding the scummiest hornets.

u/insoucianc · 1 pointr/Libertarian

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change_in_Latin_America

Those corrupt governments are installed and supported by the US.

Gathering and analyzing intelligence on other countries is its primary, original role. Most directly for keeping specifically the President informed of just what the heck is developing around the world. It was started after WW2 in order to prevent another Pearl Harbor surprise. And they were not allowed to gather intelligence on US soil, but that has not been strictly observed.

This work involves gathering tasks as mundane as always reading the news in a target country, as political context matters as much as tapped phone conversations when putting together an analysis. But the movie-caliber stuff is important too. They tap phones, recruit sources in governments and industry, build a whole network of resources.

To collect this information, the CIA uses two kinds of employees. “Official cover” officers pose as diplomats in US embassies worldwide. All embassy staff will be under surveillance from the target country’s counter-intelligence organizations — their FBI equivalents — so meeting sources is risky and they might stick to less blatant parts of the job. But on the upside, they have diplomatic immunity and just get sent home if caught spying. Non-official cover officers get jobs in multinational companies or assume some invented identity that gives them a reason to be in country. They can more freely recruit local sources but must rot in prison or die if caught, unacknowledged.

Info goes back to legions of analysis teams working in offices in the US who prepare it into reports.

The CIA also engages in covert and clandestine activities meant to influence other countries. This latter role has grown, diminished, and changed in nature throughout its history depending on political climate. Some bad press from some really ugly leaks in the 70’s (I think) about the extent of these activities put a big damper on them for a while, requiring Presidential sign-offs on killings, iirc. Post 9/11, the CIA is back on the hard stuff but keeps a legion of lawyers to make sure it’s teccchhnically legal.

These cold war activities include funding and organizing Afghan resistance against communist rule, for example. A whole covert war. Also tons of election rigging, assassination, etc. Post cold war they have been involved in anti-terror activities like running the war against the Taliban and assassinating militants and their neighbors with drone missiles.

Fun fact: “covert” operations are meant to hide who is behind an operation, “clandestine” are meant to conceal the entire operation from anyone but us. Compare an assassination to a phone tap.

Edit: in one episode (2 or 3 i think) of Netflix docu series Inside the Mossad explains how Israel’s foreign intelligence uses elaborate sting operations to recruit sources. By the time they realize they’re working for Mossad, they’re in too deep to not go along with it. Intelligence orgs do this a lot when they know the people they need probably hate the org’s country. This is basically all the time for Israel spying on other middle east states. Case officers often use really impressively manipulative strategies for recruiting and controlling their local agents. “The Americans” illustrates some great examples of this, if a little more dramatic.

Edit 2A: There are a bunch of other specialized US foreign intelligence agencies, like the NSA that traditionally intercepts signals and cracks their codes.

Edit 2B: In the UK, MI6 of James Bond fame does foreign intelligence and MI5 does counter-intelligence. These existed during WW2 but back then the lines got blurred, with both organizations running their own double agents against Nazi Germany’s own two competing foreign intelligence orgs. In fact, 0% of any spies Germany sent to Britain were able to work for enough time before being caught to send anything useful over. By 1944, when the UK was more confident that they were controlling all the sources sending info to Germany (the ones that wouldn’t work for the UK as double agents radioing harmless intel back home were either dead or imprisoned), they fed Germany massive misinformation about the location (and timing?) of the D-Day Normandy invasion. Read the excellent book Operation Double Cross to learn about this incredible operation.

BOOK EDIT:

Books on the CIA I found rewarding.

“The Master of Disguise” by Tony Mendez. Ben Affleck played him in Argo. Memoir of this artist’s time in the CIA inventing disguises and forging travel documents, often to exfiltrate an exposed source. Watch or read Argo too if you haven’t, the film at least is incredibly cool because its evacuation of American diplomats from Iran as Canadian filmmakers is largely real.
https://www.amazon.com/Master-Disguise-Secret-Life-CIA/dp/0060957913/

“Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.” Recent declassifications are exposing just how terribly the CIA bungled things in the early cold war, which is what this is about. From massive nuclear arms race miscalculations that threatened the world, to unfounded communism paranoia that led to totally unnecessary coups, they used classification to hide their greatest errors.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0307389006/

“Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda.” Beyond just the tech, you get insight into the lives of tech team members who would bug homes for their career. Interesting stuff. I think I read a different edition but this is probably fine.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0452295475/

“Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001”
Tom Clancy name, but actually an extremely detailed history of the CIA’s 1980’s support for Afghan mujahideen against the USSR and continued involvement in the 90’s. Down to highlighting cultural generational differences within the multiple cohorts of CIA officers in charge of the long-running operation. Also highlights Pakistan’s demand to hand out all the money, both to act as kingmaker for the dominant factions and to skim hella bux off the top. Descriptions of the conflict and how the Afghans relentlessly persevered and how factions had independent deals and truces with USSR. Then much of the civil war aftermath of USSR pullout when the US stopped caring. Taliban become popular for not tolerating warlords raping local boys, an issue that remains to this day among US supported administration (a coalition of “former” warlords who you will recognize if you read the book). Great read, incredible breadth.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0143034669/

u/blarghusmaximus · 1 pointr/IAmA

You should read Ghost Wars.

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669

Its astoundingly good. It won a Pulitzer, and deservedly so.

The book ends on September 11th, 2001.

Its on Audible too, and one of the more enjoyable listens

Another great one is The Outpost -- you might know it as Outpost Keating -- incredible book.

But Ghost Wars is required reading IMO.

Theres a book by a Green Beret, who was known as 'Red Beard' or something like that... Can't think of the name... It was really a book about winning hearts and minds of the locals. What actually worked with tribal elders in Taliban territory and what didn't. I dont think a single round gets fired in the entire thing... but I couldn't put it down. I'll reply again if it comes to me. Really great insights.

u/itsfineitsgreat · 0 pointsr/worldnews

Don't get your news from fucking movies, man. You could just read Ghost Wars and know way more than your friends and impress girls at parties.

u/stevo3883 · 0 pointsr/pics

The US has never armed/supplied/funded/had any relations with the Taliban at any point since the group was founded in the mid 1990's.

see Ghost Wars It won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered the definitive account of US activities during the Afghan/Soviet war, the US abandonment once the Soviet Union left and then collapsed, The Taliban's creation in the 1990's and the multi-dimensional Afghan civil war, The Taliban's victory in the civil war in 1996 and establishment of an Islamic republic that was recognized by no countries on the planet except for Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It will cover Bin Laden's outstal from Sudan after multiple terrorist attacks on Americans, and his request for and granting of asylum in Afghanistan. It will cover his multiple training camps set up to facilitate the "planes attack", as well as the Taliban taking money from Al-Qaeda and granting them free reign in the country.It covers the cruise missles launched by Clinton at Bin Laden's largest terrorist training camp in hopes of killing him, which failed. And it covers everything up to September 10th, 2001.

the Taliban existed for about 2 years before the US was launching cruise missles into Afghanistan to kill terrorists they were harboring. 2 years after this, the US invaded, conquered, and ousted the entire Taliban regime.

u/APartyInMyPants · -1 pointsr/WTF

If you're really interested in learning, read this.

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0143034669

This provides context from one particular facet, and I know things going back with our relationship with that region are extremely complicated.

Not to simplify it (there's a lot to it) but it boils down to the fact that "we" were really afraid of communism spreading, so we supported people who fought communism. But sometimes we just up and abandoned these relationships after the mission was successful. And then sometimes the people we abandoned didn't take it so well.

I'm curious how this has changed US policy on factions that we've supported around the world. Will be an interesting case study in 20 years to see if we actually learned anything.

u/coldkodiak · -2 pointsr/worldnews

blah blah blah. There is no conspiracy. The CIA simply fucked up and stopped paying to all the hydra heads that were branching off of their creations in Afghanistan.

They systematically kept trying to go after Bin Laden right until the end of the Clinton adminstration.


It was Bush who dropped the ball, and imo through sheer negligence.


read a book

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Wars-Afghanistan-Invasion-September/dp/0143034669/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221425263&sr=8-1

or two

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802141242/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk

u/Smarter_not_harder · -8 pointsr/todayilearned

Motherfucker! How about a SPOILER ALERT!

I'm reading Ghost Wars right now and, after 475 damn pages, am finally to early 2000 (the book details the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan, and the US involvement and lead up to 9/11 starting in the 1970s). I did not yet know he was assassinated at that time.

u/thegoodbabe · -9 pointsr/Documentaries

> Main takeaways?

Here you go!