Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan - Steve Coll
A decade-and-a-half ago, journalist Steve Coll won a Pulitzer for his book Ghost Wars, which recounted the CIA’s history in Afghanistan. Now in Directorate S, he picks up where that earlier work left off, examining years of ill-fated U.S. efforts to achieve victory in Afghanistan. Laid out chronologically in rich detail featuring not just American players but Afghan, Pakistani, and other key figures, the story that Coll tells is a bleak and appalling saga of missed opportunities, mistaken assumptions, misguided strategies, and miscast individuals. There’s so much blame to go around, spanning Democratic as well as Republican administrations and implicating numerous intelligence operatives, military officers, and diplomats. But Coll argues persuasively that what has doomed the American war the most has been the inability of U.S. authorities to understand the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service, and stop its covert interference in Afghanistan aimed at enlarging Pakistan’s sphere of influence.