After 16 years of writing about it, I thought I knew a lot about the war in Afghanistan, but Scott Horton's new book, Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, showed me how much I didn't know – and that's quite a bit.
Did you know that the Taliban tried desperately to surrender, offering to turn over Osama bin Laden to the country of Washington's choice – but that George W. Bush would have none of it? I didn't.
Sit down for this one: Even before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Taliban tasked their Foreign Minister, one Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, to warn us that an attack on US soil was coming. Muttawakil's journey to deliver the warning to the US embassy in Pershawar, Pakistan, in July of 2001, was to no avail. The Americans weren't interested.
Although I had some idea of the extent of al-Qaeda's operations in the Balkans in the 1990s, during the Bosnia war, I had no idea that 9/11 ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fought on "our" side – the Bosnian side – in that war. Nor did I realize the extent of US support for al-Qaeda during the Clinton administration in other areas of the world, such as Chechnya, and even the Western-most provinces of China. Horton gives us a comprehensive – and little noted – account.