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Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism

von John K. Cooley

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1372161,578 (3.58)2
This book examines the events of September 11th 2001, Osama bin Laden's role and the complex working of the Al Qa'ida terror network. This is the classic book on the history of the USA's involvement with Afghanistan that explains the devastating consequences of the alliance between the US government and radical Islam. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of the current international crisis.Cooley marshals a wealth of evidence - from the assassination of Sadat, the destabilisation of Algeria and Chechnya and the emergence of the Taliban, to the bombings of the World Trade Center and the US embassies in Africa. He examines the crucial role of Pakistan's military intelligence organisation; uncovers China's involvement and its aftermath; the extent of Saudi financial support; the role of 'America's most wanted man' Osama bin Laden; the BCCI connection; the CIA's cynical promotion of drug traffic in the Golden Crescent; the events in Pakistan since the military coup of October 1999; and, finally, the events of September 11th 2001 and their continuing impact on world affairs.… (mehr)
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In September 2001, following the worst terrorist attack against it in its history, the United States—for the second time in a generation became embroiled in an air and ground war in Afghanistan. This time, the war was not a proxy war against Russian invaders but a direct one, fought with allies who had varying degrees of commitment against the presumed terrorist attackers. By the winter of 2001-2 the new Afghan war had caused innumerable civilian casualties and thrown many of the world’s one billion or more Muslims into a state of new political ferment. The war had bred a state of global insecurity and instability and had accelerated a global economic recession. This book aims to explain some of the reasons why all this came about.
  ExeterQuakers | Jul 28, 2020 |
Cooley knows his stuff and the book has a "been there, interviewed him" feel to it. It could use a little editing and organization, but by the end, I had a far better picture of how we got to where we are now.

When given the choice of a number of books to read for a class on the law of war and terror, I chose this one, and I was not disappointed. Primarily concerned with US action in Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban and later Osama bin Laden in the mire left by the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

Cooley has an incredible amount of information and relies on interviews he conducted with key players over the last 30 years. He sees the rise of terror in that state as largely a result of the unchecked flow of weapons and money to the mujaheddin from the United States to support the guerrilla war against the Soviets. With the exodus of Soviet tanks from Afghanistan, the US left also, closing, almost overnight, intelligence operations and diplomatic presence. The result was a disastrous civil war between warlords and religious fanatics that allowed the rise of the Taliban.

Citing the US as a culprit in the quagmire, a significant amount of responsibility is placed on the actions of the Pakistani intelligence services. Controlled by religious ideologues, the Pakistani intelligence services operated nearly autonomously from other Pakistani government branches, and often in opposition to stated policy. It's ostensible purpose was create a religiously friendly state on Pakistan's western border so as to take weight off of pressure created by the often contentious, and occasionally violent, relationship with India on it's other side.

Eventually, it leads to the exportation of the "holy warriors" around the world, and followed later by opium as a cash crop supporting the somewhat outcast Taliban government.

In short, a must read.

The book suffers from a lack of editing and a somewhat choppy organization. However, the sheer volume of information easily makes the difficulty following the reading well worth the challenge. ( )
  publiusdb | Aug 22, 2013 |
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This book examines the events of September 11th 2001, Osama bin Laden's role and the complex working of the Al Qa'ida terror network. This is the classic book on the history of the USA's involvement with Afghanistan that explains the devastating consequences of the alliance between the US government and radical Islam. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the roots of the current international crisis.Cooley marshals a wealth of evidence - from the assassination of Sadat, the destabilisation of Algeria and Chechnya and the emergence of the Taliban, to the bombings of the World Trade Center and the US embassies in Africa. He examines the crucial role of Pakistan's military intelligence organisation; uncovers China's involvement and its aftermath; the extent of Saudi financial support; the role of 'America's most wanted man' Osama bin Laden; the BCCI connection; the CIA's cynical promotion of drug traffic in the Golden Crescent; the events in Pakistan since the military coup of October 1999; and, finally, the events of September 11th 2001 and their continuing impact on world affairs.

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