Eyewitness to the CIA's Secret War in Afghanistan
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 A principal virtue of TV-journalist Lohbeck's vivid account of his lengthy sojourn in Afghan combat zones is the light it sheds on the mujahideen groups that--despite various political/religious agendas, internecine rivalries, and fitful aid from Western allies- -managed to drive Soviet troops from their mountainous, hostile homeland. The only American journalist to make the savage undeclared war a full-time beat (mainly for CBS), Lohbeck first provides an overview of the primitive Muslim nation's history, which extends through Moscow's bootless efforts to support a reliably Communist government in Kabul by force of arms. The author offers instructive perspectives on the seven different resistance movements that fought or at least opposed USSR forces (and vied for sponsorship abroad, most often in the US). Early on, Lohbeck gained the confidence of an astute guerrilla chieftain named Abdul Haq, whose effective military operations he reported on many occasions. A muddy-boots correspondent, the author was wounded twice in the course of covering a host of deadly engagements between tribal irregulars and Soviet invaders. He also experienced some real, if not always mortal, dangers away from the front lines. Cases in point range from the Afghanistan's puppet regime putting a price on his head through stateside contact with Jay Pollard (a Naval Intelligence operative subsequently convicted of selling classified documents to Israel) to clashes with Pakistani officials (nominally committed to maintaining their country's neutrality), ad hominem assaults by fellow members of the press, and run-ins with CIA agents pursuing objectives at odds with those espoused by either Foggy Bottom or Capitol Hill. Dramatic, frequently affectionate, takes on fractious rebel warriors whose success has yet to yield them the victory they thought they'd won by nine years of bloody battle. (Foreword by Dan Rather; maps and eight pages of photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-89526-499-4
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993