Journalist Steve Coll is a staff writer at the New Yorker, dean of the Colombia School of Journalism and former president of the New America Foundation think tank.

Tn 2005 he wont he Pulitzer for his book Ghost Wars, which examines the secret history of the CIA in Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion to right before the September 11 attacks. It is the foundational text that provides the history and context for understanding America’s involvement in Afghanistan in the era leading up to the September 11 attacks. When published, it took DC by storm and became a canonical text for the national security community.

Needless to say, official Washington and beyond was eagerly anticipating his sequel to Ghost Wars, which was published just a few weeks ago. The book, Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan picks up where Ghost Wars leaves off, spanning from the September 11th attacks to the first few months of the Trump administration.

We kick off with an extended discussion of these two books and what went so wrong for the United States in Afghanistan. We then discuss his own life and career as a journalist, including how an accident of assignment lead him to South Asia at a very critical time.

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