Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

The author is angry at the failure of Obama to prioritize peace talks with the Taliban, but tells Alan Philps that a recent truce could be a step towards stability

The World Today
6 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

‘Directorate S’ is the title of your second book about the Afghanistan wars, covering the period from 9/11 to the present day. What is this murky outfit?

It’s what the Americans call the covert action arm of the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, that worked with the Taliban and Kashmiri groups and thwarted American ambitions in Afghanistan by fostering the Taliban’s comeback, particularly after 2004. It used a lot of layered, deniable individuals and networks and foundations to try to keep the Pakistani state distant from this effort but there was, I think, no doubt that it was a policy commanded by the top leadership of the Pakistani army.

The Pakistani president and the head of ISI were all involved?

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