- Paperback: 408 pages
- Publisher: Presidio Press; Reprint edition (May 2, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 089141875X
- ISBN-13: 978-0891418757
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 112 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Just days from retirement, Schroen, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, was tapped to lead the effort to establish contact with the Northern Alliance in the days following 9/11; the 35-year CIA veteran commanded the first American team on the ground in Afghanistan. At the proverbial tip of the spear, the team slipped into the country and made contact with the Northern Alliance (a loose confederation of Afghan warlords that had been fighting the Taliban government and their al-Qaeda allies), secured their cooperation and set the stage for the deployment of Special Forces teams into Afghanistan. Schroen tells the story crisply and with intimate detail, taking readers on a journey that lurches from harrowing through exhilarating to frustrating—particularly in the realm of communications. "Sitting in the Panjshir Valley," the author glumly concludes, "I seemed to be shouting down a deep, dark hole" at brass thousands of miles away. Events eventually outran the policymakers, however, when a Northern Alliance general finally lost his patience and announced to his CIA contact, "I am going into Kabul regardless of what your NSC decides." Schroen delivers what he advertises: a powerful account that takes the reader inside war councils and 19th-century– style cavalry charges in the months just after 9/11. (May 31)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Schroen had recently retired from 35 years of service with the CIA when the U.S. was attacked by terrorists on 9/11. With experience operating in Afghanistan, he was tapped to lead a team to link with the Northern Alliance to prepare for a military operation against the Taliban. Two days before the attack on the U.S., Northern Alliance leaders had been killed, supposedly on the orders of Osama bin Ladin. On September 19, the CIA team, with six members and $3 million, deployed to Afghanistan on a harrowing mission that included the order to kill bin Ladin. Schroen offers a first-person account of the intricacies of American politics and military operations in an atmosphere charged with the war on terror. He also incorporates historical background of U.S and Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and how the nation came to be in play in the war on terrorism. In an afterword, Schroen looks back on the mission--its successes and failures--from the perspective of the recent elections in Afghanistan and acknowledges the continued challenges in the region. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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First let me say this book brought back a lot of memories of those days after the attack. It’s interesting many years late to review how we felt, how our leaders thought, and still feel the sting of the attack on our nation. Two hundred years from now people will still be reviewing the historical record. It is for this reason I am most pleased to have read this book.
The author was unique in the sense that he had experience in the region prior to the events that brought him there post-9-11. Because of his contacts and his knowledge of language and culture he was ideal to bring an alliance of tribes inline in order to destroy the enemy. This book deals prodomently with that event.
There is no lack of action. But the book does deal with the important issues of rapidly bringing the war to Al Qaeda. This war developed rapidly and the quality of management needed to ensure its success is quite remarkable.
Ultimately this book merges with another book Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander by Gary Berntsen who takes what was built by Gary Schroen. There’s more physical action in this book . But none-the-less the books provide an inside view of those dark days.
Over all this is a very interesting book about the war in Afghanistan. If you enjoyed this then I would strongly suggest Hank Crumpton’s book The Art of Intelligence: lessons from a Life in the CIA’s clandestine service as they both deal with direct intervention in Afghanistan. I would also recommend Hard Measures by Jose A Rodriguez as a primer for what happens when you have key assets with information derived from the battle field.
All four of the books create an historical record of the CIA’s activities. Well…at least what they will release to the public. There is always a “rest of the story” some place waiting to be read.