Tag Archives: Ghost Wars

The Tenth Year: welcome Pakistan!

C-Span this morning tells me my calendar is off by two days, and that in fact it is today that is the first day of the tenth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Here’s a little something from the Wall Street Journal front page:

Pakistan Agency Urges Taliban to Fight

Members of Pakistan’s spy agency are pressing Taliban field commanders to fight the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, some U.S. officials and Afghan militants say, a development that undercuts a key element of the Pentagon’s strategy for ending the war.

The Pakistani spy agency, the ISI, has always been the power behind the Taliban, at least since the 1980’s. To understand how it all began, there’s not a better book than Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars.

ISI and Pakistan and empty vessels on my teevee

For almost two decades, books* have been being written about the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, and how they – with the CIA – created the Taliban. It’s a well known narrative.

Television is discovering the story (as a result of the big wikileak document dump reported in yesterday’s NY Times and everywhere else). To television, it is a brand new story. They didn’t know about this. Some sound like they weren’t even familiar with the ISI.

These are the people who inform a nation.

* Best of the lot is Steve Coll’s 2004 book GHOST WARS: Afghanistan, the CIA and Osama Bin Laden. (approximation of the title) The paperback has an update from the 9-11 Commission. Pakistan and ISI figures heavily in his account. (warning: it’s a long book but reads like a thriller)