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“The US’s Greatest Strategic Failure”: Steve Coll on the CIA and the ISI

“Directorate S” is Steve Coll’s second major study of the CIA’s role in recent Afghan wars. While “Ghost Wars” chronicled the years 1979-2001, “Directorate S” – referring to a subdivision of Pakistan’s inter-services intelligence directorate that covers Afghanistan – takes up the story in 2001 and follows it through to 2016. AAN Advisory Board member […]

Tilting at Windmills: Dubious US claims of targeting Chinese Uyghur militants in Badakhshan

In early February 2018, US forces conducted airstrikes in Afghanistan’s north-eastern province of Badakhshan, supposedly targeting ‘support structures’ of the ‘East Turkistan Islamic Movement’ (ETIM), allegedly a group of Uyghur extremists hailing from China’s far west said to be focused on attacking the Chinese state. (1) United States Forces – Afghanistan claimed the strikes targeted […]

Expanding Afghanistan’s Special Operations Forces: Doubling their success or further diluting their mission?

One of the key elements of the Afghan government’s Road Map for pushing back the insurgency is increasing the fighting capabilities of Afghan government forces. This includes the expansion of the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) praised special operations forces. However, this expansion is spurring already existing tendencies that are turning these units into shock troops, […]