Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-21 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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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