COVERT ACTION

By Region

Afghanistan

D - Z

Dimitrakis, Panagiotis.

1. The Secret War in Afghanistan: The Soviet Union, China and Anglo-American Intelligence in the Afghan War. London: Tauris, 2013.

From publisher: The author "analyses every aspect of this vital turning point in Cold War history; from President Jimmy Carter's 'Afghan Trap' to Margaret Thatcher's role in the crisis. Dimitrakis also outlines the full extent of China's involvement in arming the Mujahedeen, effectively fighting Brezhnev's Soviet Union by proxy."

2. "The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: International Reactions, Military Intelligence and British Diplomacy." Middle Eastern Studies 48, no.4 (Jul. 2012): 511-536.

From "Abstract": "From the outset the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was strongly condemned by Britain and all the other NATO member states, by the non-aligned group and by key countries in Asia and the Middle East. During the first days following the invasion, London worked for the speedy build-up of a diplomatic consensus, while the Carter administration was still in a state of surprise and some confusion.... Simply put, the fear of war led to something of a panic among non-aligned nations, which in turn convinced them to back western diplomacy."

Farr, Grant M., and John G. Merriam. Afghan Resistance: The Politics of Survival. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1987.

Wilcox: Eight articles on guerrilla warfare and insurgency.

Filkins, Dexter, Mark Mazzetti, and James Risen. "Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll." New York Times, 28 Oct. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to current and former American officials, "Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years.... The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.'s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar.... Ahmed Wali Karzai said in an interview that he cooperated with American civilian and military officials, but did not engage in the drug trade and did not receive payments from the C.I.A."

Lohbeck, Kurt. Holy War, Unholy Victory: Eyewitness to the CIA's Secret War in Afghanistan. Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1993.

According to Surveillant 3.4/5, Lohbeck was the "only American journalist assigned to cover the war full-time." He was a "suitable witness to the vicious power struggles that are still plaguing Afghanistan and are now plaguing the West." Proceedings 120.11 (Nov. 1994), notes that this "account is bound to raise some eyebrows and fuel a few debates, but there is a great deal of insight grown from a unique perspective."

MI 20.3 says this is "not as informative a guide to CIA activities as the title implies." It is a "journalistic memoir" which "focuses on the rebels, with secondary consideration of CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI) activities.... Jonathan Pollard ... attempted to implicate Lohbeck in the spy ring. The effort failed." This is an "important book."

McGrory, Daniel. "CIA Stung by Its Stingers." Telegraph (London), 3 Nov. 1996. [http:// www.telegraph.co.uk]

"A race between terrorists and the Western powers for control of a huge cache" of shoulder-launched Stinger anti-aircraft missiles "is underway in the arms bazaars of Afghanistan.... The weapons were sent into Afghanistan by the CIA during the Soviet occupation and were a key factor in tipping the balance of firepower against the Red Army. Now the West fears that, if they fall into the wrong hands, the Stingers could turn the tables in future conflicts or prove devastating if used by terror groups against civilian aviation."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Closing Bases in Afghanistan as It Shifts Focus Amid Military Drawdown." Washington Post, 23 Jul. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The CIA has begun closing clandestine bases in Afghanistan, marking the start of a drawdown.... The closures were described by U.S officials as preliminary steps in a plan to reduce the number of CIA installations in Afghanistan from a dozen to as few as six over the next two years -- a consolidation to coincide with the withdrawal of most U.S. military forces from the country by the end of 2014..... U.S. officials stressed that the CIA is expected to maintain a significant footprint even after the pullback, with a station in Kabul that will remain among the agency's largest..., as well as a fleet of armed drones that will continue to patrol Pakistan's tribal belt....

"[A] full withdrawal of U.S. troops would probably trigger a deeper retrenchment by the CIA, which has relied on U.S. and allied military installations across the country to serve as bases for agency operatives and cover for their spying operations. The CIA's armed drones are flown from a heavily fortified airstrip near the Pakistan border in Jalalabad.... Current and former U.S. officials familiar with the agency's plans said they call for pulling most agency personnel back to the CIA's main station in Kabul, plus a group of large regional bases ... in Bagram, Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif, Jalalabad and Herat."

Miller, Greg, and Joshua Partlow. "CIA Making Secret Payments to Members of Karzai Administration." Washington Post, 27 Aug. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The CIA is making secret payments to multiple members of President Hamid Karzai's administration, in part to maintain sources of information..., according to current and former U.S. officials. The payments are long-standing in many cases and designed to help the agency maintain a deep roster of allies within the presidential palace. Some aides function as CIA informants, but others collect stipends under more informal arrangements meant to ensure their accessibility, a U.S. official said."

Ostermann, Christian Friedrich. "New Evidence on the War in Afghanistan," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 14/15 (Winter 2003-Spring 2004): 139-141.

The author reports on an "international conference, 'Towards an International History of the War in Afghanistan,' organized in April 2002 by the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) in cooperation with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Asia Program and Kennan Institute, George Washington University's Cold War Group, and the National Security Archive." Available Russian documents reveal "how one-sided official reporting from Afghanistan severely limited Soviet policy options between March 1979 ... and the final decision-making process on intervention that fall."

Prados, John. "Notes on the CIA's Secret War in Afghanistan." Journal of American History 89, no. 2 (Sep. 2002): 466-471.

Riedel, Bruce. What We Won: America's Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-1989.Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2014.

Peake, Studies 59.1 (Mar. 2015), says that this "important book" examines the "secret intelligence alliance" that defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan. To Riedel Pakistani General Zia ul-Haq was "the most important figure" in thid struggle.

Weinbaum, Marvin G. "War and Peace in Afghanistan: The Pakistani Role." Middle East Journal 45, no. 1 (Winter 1991): 71-85.

The focus here is not intelligence, but CIA-ISI links are discussed.

Weiner, Tim. "Blowback from the Afghan Battlefield." New York Times, 13 Mar. 1994.

"[S]ince the Soviets withdrew, tens of thousands of Islamic radicals, outcasts, visionaries and gunmen from some 40 nations have come to Afghanistan to learn the lessons of the jihad,... to train for armed insurrection, to bring the struggle back home.... The sole field of victory for C.I.A.-backed 'freedom fighters' in the 1980's has become an international center for the training and indoctrination of terrorists." There, "the foreigners learn about guerrilla warfare, antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Much in demand, but too precious to fire in training, is the Stinger antiaircraft missile, supplied by the hundreds to the Afghans by the C.I.A. in the 1980's."

Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Covert Paramilitary Presence in Afghanistan Much Larger Than Thought." Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2010. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The CIA has trained and deployed in Afghanistan "a well-armed 3,000-member Afghan paramilitary force collectively known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams.... The existence of the teams is disclosed" in Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars. More broadly, however, "interviews with sources familiar with the CIA's operations, as well as a review of the database of 76,000 classified U.S. military field reports posted last month by the Web site WikiLeaks, reveal an agency that has a significantly larger covert paramilitary presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan than previously known."

CNN Wire Staff, "Official: CIA-Trained Force Targeting Militants in Pakistan," 22 Sep. 2010, quotes a "U.S. official" as saying: "You're talking about one of the finest Afghan fighting forces, which has made major contributions to security and stability." Kimberly Dozier and Adam Goldman, "US Official: CIA Runs Elite Afghan Fighting Force," Associated Press, 22 Sep. 2010: "Modeled after U.S. special forces, the Counterterrorist Pursuit Team was set up in the months following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 to penetrate territory controlled by the Taliban and al-Qaida and target militants for interrogations by CIA officials."

Williams, Brian Glynn. The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warlord Who Led US Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2013.

Seeger, Studies 58.2 (Jun. 2014), sees this as an "insightful book into Dostum and his life and times. It is "[w]ritten in a clear and entertaining style.... Williams has not only superbly portrayed Dostum as a hero to his Uzbek people but also as a real person whose personal and professional flaws in part explain his relegation to a regional rather than a national role in Afghanistan."

Yousaf, Mohammed, and Mark Adkin.

1. The Bear Trap: Afghanistan's Untold Story. London Leo Cooper, 1992.

Powers, NYRB (13 May 1993) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 295-320, finds that the tension of managing the war in Afghanistan "is well described" in this book.

2. Afghanistan -- The Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower. Havertown, PA: Casemate, 2001.

According to Cohen, FA 81.2 (Mar.-Apr. 2002), this book "is the memoir of the Pakistani brigadier general who masterminded the equipping and training of the Afghan mujahideen in their struggle against the Soviets in the 1980s." He tells a "fascinating and believable tale."

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