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Directorate S

The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan
De : Steve Coll
Durée : 28 h et 30 min
1 out of 5 stars (1 notation)

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Description

Winner of the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award for Nonfiction

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars, the epic and enthralling story of America's intelligence, military, and diplomatic efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 9/11. 

Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, with I.S.I., the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the US was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of I.S.I., known as "Directorate S", was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban, in order to enlarge Pakistan's sphere of influence. After 9/11, when 59 countries, led by the US, deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the US was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan. 

Today, we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the US-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But, more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of I.S.I.'s "Directorate S". This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence. 

Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking. This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism. 

©2017 Steve Coll (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Commentaires

"[A]journalistic masterpiece...Coll succeeds on all levels.... Coll is masterful at plumbing the depths of agencies and sects within both Afghanistan and Pakistan.... In this era of fake news, Coll remains above it all, this time delivering an impeccably researched history of diplomacy at the highest levels of government in Washington, Islamabad, and Kabul." (Kirkus Reviews, starred)

“With his evenhanded approach, gift for limning character, and dazzling reporting skills, he has created an essential work of contemporary history.” (Booklist, starred)

“The most comprehensive work to date on the US war in Afghanistan.... Coll’s vital work provides a factual and analytical foundation for all future work on the Afghan War and US policy in Central Asia.” (Publisher’s Weekly

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Louis Macareo
  • 06/03/2018

All the detail you could want

This was not a barn burner, but it was an extremely detailed account and for 27 hours the presentation is rather fluid and digestable. I can not imagine how much work it took to put this book together. Congratulations to the author on his accomplishment. Oh, and Afghanistan . . . goodness what a hot mess!

15 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • 20/02/2018

Slow At Times But Always Horrifying And Engaging

If you aren't horrified and heartsick after listening to Directorate S, you need to listen to it again. It might take that: I listened to it twice because, while extraordinarily well-researched, it packs soooo much of EVERYthing, every move, every plot, every person involved, it sometimes has a tendency to drag. But if you listen carefully, you might feel rage, horror, a certain sense of helpless dread.
Every person from the young wannabe terrorist, to the absolutely most soulless of operatives, from the politician with a bit of knowledge, to the politician who should know better, from the sociopaths of Pakistan, to the paranoid of Afghanistan is/are covered in great detail.
Steve Coll has pulled together a most fascinating work, and I wound up feeling bouts of shame, bouts of exasperation and anger.
While, as I said, it does drag a bit at first, it's always engaging, and if the subject matter is anything of interest to you, you'll be well-pleased with Coll's results.
You can't get any more in-depth than Directorate S. And you won't feel any more helpless than when you come to its conclusion. There's plenty of blame to go around; nobody gets a pass. And we as the American people are left holding a mixed bag of chaos...

30 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • K Kravitz
  • 09/09/2018

Good,but

I would have enjoyed the book even more if I had a map of the areas discussed a sort of group family trees for the various organizations. This may be in hard copy. Otherwise, enjoyed the book.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • philip
  • 05/03/2018

Superb!

Excellent sequel to Ghost Wars. Coll does not take sides nor take a polemic approach. One finishes the book convinced that America’s adventure in Afghanistan was an epic mistake but with good intentions. The ISI was largely responsible for the chaos in Afghanistan but the leaders are not evil. Karzai was an asshole and yet often correct about what was wrong about US policy. The narrator does an excellent job.

10 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 19/04/2018

Outstanding history

This book reveals the long, ultimately unsuccessful American effort to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan. An essential look at nearly two decades of a war that was begun without anyone's knowing who the real enemy was. A brilliant analysis compellingly written.

4 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MJB
  • 20/03/2018

excellent. very detailed. well written

Just like the first volume , Steve Coll. tells this sad, cautionary tale as though it were a fiction novel
I wish that were true

3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • howie
  • 15/04/2018

Explains what a commitment of war is.

Loved it, modern day history explained as its best. Trump fired some great fighters. He for one should read or listen to this book.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris Hedgecock
  • 14/02/2018

excellent

couldn't stop listening. deeply researched but never slow. lot's of fresh reporting here for a subject that has been written about many times before.

5 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 10/05/2018

must read history of the war in Afghanistn

must read history of the war in Afghanistn and the various players and events that have brought us to where we are today.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Noah
  • 22/05/2020

Anthology of the War in Afghanistan

Though the title implies this book focuses mainly on "Directorate S" (ISI), it is by far more of a journalistic history of America's diplomatic, military, and intelligence engagements with Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2001-2018.

Anyone interested in a fair account (though it includes some heavy critique, mainly in the form of opinions expressed by persons other than the author) of the War in Afghanistan should read this. There are certainly "boring" chapters that are difficult to trod through, but there are a few gems here, such as the Marc Sageman account of internal base murders, the exploration of black-sites, and a real-life account of Bakersfield; additionally, there are several episodes of important events that are relatively unknown to the broader public.

Most importantly, it reveals the confused approach the international coalition took in Afghanistan, how inter-agency conflicts prevented common sense policies from being implemented, and how international security interests undermined the very goals of the US in Afghanistan.

It does not have a strong structural narrative other than aiming for an objective, chronological history using perspectives of two or so dozen individuals, such as Richard Holbrooke, David Patraeus, Leon Panetta, and Michael Flynn, amongst many others that are sometimes difficult to remember (prior familiarity with some of these figures is very useful); this is especially true of the individuals concerning inter-Afghan politics. However, the author does a good job of keeping track of who that person is aligned with and their reasoning, even if you may have already forgotten their name and position, which is especially helpful in an audio form of this book. A little bit of Wikipedia reference is helpful from time to time to get a better sense of "who is who."