[act-ma] Steve Coll, at H Bookstore, Tue Feb 20, 7pm

Amy Hendrickson amyh at texnology.com
Fri Feb 16 13:43:07 PST 2018




February 20, 2018
7:00 PM


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138



This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed journalist, New Yorker
staff writer, and Columbia University Graduate School of
Journalism dean STEVE COLL-author of the Pulitzer
Prize-winning Ghost Wars-for a discussion of his latest
book, Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in
Afghanistan and Pakistan.

About Directorate S

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 fifty-nine countries, led by the U. S.,
deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort
to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the U.S. 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 U.S.-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.


"Spellbinding . . . It does for America in Afghanistan what
Michael Gordon and Tom Ricks did for the Iraq misadventure
in Cobra II and Fiasco." -Evening Standard

"This sequel to Ghost Wars might well become the definitive
account of the CIA and America's secret wars in Afghanistan
and Pakistan . . . In the pages of Directorate S, the sequel
to Coll's Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars, the story is
delivered with a literary prowess that has been absent in
previous western accounts of America's longest-running war.
The dance of blame, with the US swaying at one moment
towards Pakistan and the next towards Afghanistan, is a
choreography familiar to CIA chiefs, US presidents, and
writers who have tackled the subject. Coll refuses to follow
this tired tune, and the result is masterful." -The Guardian

"Steve Coll's Directorate S is the sequel to his magisterial
Ghost Wars. Both books rest on a foundation of serious
scholarship and Coll's extraordinary access, to individual
CIA officers mostly, but also to many others. These notably
included members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) agency, where Directorate S was the name given to the
branch of the agency 'devoted to secret operations in
support of the Taliban, Kashmiri guerrillas, and other
violent Islamic radicals.' Every assertion is carefully
sourced and checked. This book is in the finest traditions
of American investigative journalism. Coll is the thinking
man's Michael Wolff." -Sherard Cowper- Coles, Times of

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20%
off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your

General Info
(617) 661-1515
 <mailto:info at harvard.com> info at harvard.com 

Media Inquiries
(617) 661-1424 x6
 <mailto:mediainquiries at harvard.com>
mediainquiries at harvard.com 

Accessibility Inquiries
 <mailto:access at harvard.com> access at harvard.com


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