88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary. Robert L. Grenier. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015. Pp. 443. (Book Review)


Secret meetings at midnight, discreet whisperings in the aircraft cabins, juggling with colleagues, co-opting moles, roof-top encrypted satellite conversations, clandestine reporting from recruits, exciting getaways on motorcycles across perilous ravines – this is certainly not out of Ian Flemings’ novel, but Robert L. Grenier’s 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary, a captivating ‘cloak and dagger’ account of the events and his personal encounters with Pakistani officials and Taliban commanders leading to the fall of the Taliban regime in Kandahar, and the subsequent installation of “His Excellency”, Hamid Karzai, as the interim head of the government in Kabul. Grenier, as the CIA Station Chief posted in Islamabad from 1999 to 2002, led a clandestine intelligence team responsible for penetrating and “fretting” out the secrets, and through a network of ‘moles’, track the pulse of political, military, and social developments both in Pakistan, and the Taliban-controlled southern and eastern Afghanistan.

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