The key to understanding the calamitous Afghan war is the complex, ultimately failed relationship between the powerful, duplicitous Karzai family and the United States—brilliantly portrayed here in its entirety for the first time by the former Washington Post Kabul bureau chief.
The United States came to Afghanistan on a simple mission: to avenge the September 11 attacks and to drive the Taliban from power. This took less than two months. But over the next decade, the ensuing fight for power and money left the region even more dangerous than before the first troops arrived.
At the center of this story are President Hamid Karzai and his brothers who began the war as symbols of a new, moderate, forward-looking Afghanistan—the antithesis of the brutish and backward Taliban regime. Now, with the war in shambles, they are in open conflict with one other and with their Western allies. Joshua Partlow’s clear-eyed analysis reveals the mistakes, squandered hopes, and wasted chances behind the scenes of a would-be political dynasty that, in turn, newly illustrate the arc of the war and America’s relationship to Afghanistan—from optimism to despair, and from friendship to enmity.
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From the Hardcover edition.