Foxtrot in Kandahar
A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America’s Longest War
Imprint: Savas Beatie
FINALIST FOR BEST NONFICTION WAR/MILITARY (Foreword INDIES)
Kandahar. The ancient desert crossroads and, as of fall of 2001, ground zero for the Taliban and al-Qa’ida in southern Afghanistan. In the northern part of the country, the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance (the Afghan organization opposed to the Taliban regime) has made progress on the battlefield, but in the south, the country is still under the Taliban’s bloody hold and al-Qa’ida continues to operate there. With no “Southern Alliance” for the US to support, a new strategy is needed if victory is to be achieved. Veteran CIA officer Duane Evans is dispatched to Pakistan to “get something going in the South.” Foxtrot in Kandahar is his story.
Evans’s unexpected journey from the pristine halls of Langley to the badlands of southern Afghanistan began within hours after watching the horrors of 9/11 unfold during a chance visit to FBI Headquarters. It was then he decided to begin a personal and relentless quest to become part of the US response against al-Qa’ida. Evans’s gripping memoir tracks his efforts to join one of CIA’s elite teams bound for Afghanistan, a journey that eventually takes him to the front lines in Pakistan, first as part of the advanced element of CIA’s Echo team supporting Hamid Karzai, and finally as leader of the under-resourced and often overlooked Foxtrot team.
Relying on rusty military skills from his days as a Green Beret, and brandishing a traded-for rifle, Evans moves toward Kandahar in the company of Pashtun warriors—one of only a handful of Americans pushing forward across the desert into some of the most dangerous, yet mesmerizingly beautiful, landscape on earth. The ultimate triumph of the CIA and Special Forces teams, when absolutely everything was on the line, is tempered by the US tragedy that catalyzed what is now America’s longest war. Evans concludes his memoir with an analysis of opportunities lost in the years since his time in Afghanistan.
Brilliantly crafted and fast-paced, Foxtrot in Kandahar: A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America’s Longest War fills a major gap in the literature of the war’s critical and complex early months. It is required reading for anyone interested in modern warfare, complicated tribal politics, and the ancient land where they intersect.
“Exceptionally well informed and informative, "Foxtrot in Kandahar: A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America's Longest War" is an extraordinary read from cover to cover and will have a special appeal and value for academicians and non-specialist general readers with an interest in modern warfare, Afghan tribal politics, and the contemporary role of the CIA in that part of the world.” ~Midwest Book Review
“With his experience of Afghanistan in the early days of the fighting and his ongoing involvement until he retired, Evans is able to look at the wider picture and gives his own view of the success or failure of America's involvement. A thoroughly readable personal account with some acute observations of the issues involved. 4 stars.” ~Army Rumour Service
“This is essential reading for anyone wanting to get to the bottom of what happened in Afghanistan as the US and their allies fought against the Taliban and al-Qa'ida. The amazing tale of CIA officer Duane Evans as he joins a small force travelling into hostile countryside near Kandahar is riveting, almost like a modern-day tale echoing Kipling's 'The Man Who Would Be King'. Absolutely brilliant.” ~Books Monthly
“Foxtrot in Kandahar is a well written, firsthand account from memory. It has the ring of truth and fills a gap about the Afghan war that illuminates the problems that continue there to this day.” ~Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62, No. 1
“Duane Evans, decorated intelligence officer, novelist, and now, in Foxtrot in Kandahar, a page-turning memoirist, brings us dramatic news from one of the 21st century’s most chaotic frontiers. Evans honors his colleagues and allies by being, in turn, reflective and analytical, bringing to life a history that has remained in the shadows. If you love tales of espionage, strategy, and plain-old hanging-it-on-the-line, Evans delivers a full-throttle portrait of an event that changed America and influences us today.” ~Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of In Harm’s Way and 12 Strong
"This is a useful book for anyone who wants to be reminded of what 9/11 meant to so many. It also highlights the dangers of mission creep and how it can cause even the most devoted patriot to become jaded." ~Naval Historical Foundation