Prior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, in cooperation (and sometimes opposition) with Pakistani intelligence agency I.S.I.. While the U.S. was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of the  I.S.I. known as “Directorate S” was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban. In his book Directorate S, journalist Steve Coll makes painfully clear that the United States doomed the war in Afghanistan—and set our country on a collision course with Pakistan—with of our failure to apprehend this faction’s motivations and intentions.

Coll joins us to discuss the history and impact of this swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions. He outlines how the conflict endured over a decade across the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of prominent military and political figures. Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. He offers us a definitive explanation of how America became ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Join Coll for a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shaped world history.

Steve Coll is the author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Ghost Wars and the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker and previously worked for 20 years at The Washington Post, where he received a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1990.

Thanks to Seattle University, Town Hall Seattle and Elliott Bay Books. Recorded 2/15/18


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Program Details
Episode S7E33
Broadcast Week Aug 12th 2018
Duration 00:58:00
Audience Rating TV-G
Genre Action
Theme Academic & Education
Language English

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