The Afghanistan File

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Pub Date 6 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2022
Medina Publishing Ltd, Arabian Publishing

Description

The Afghanistan File, written by the former head of Saudi Arabian Intelligence, tells the story of his department’s involvement in Afghanistan, from the time of the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the attacks on September11, 2001. It begins with the backing given by Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet occupation, and moves on to the fruitless initiatives to broker peace among the Mujahideen factions after the Soviet withdrawal, the rise to power of the Taliban and the shelter the Taliban gave to Osama Bin Laden.

The extraordinary difficulties that Saudi Arabia and its allies faced in dealing with the Mujahideen are a central feature of the book. Prince Turki found them magnificently brave, but exasperating. On one occasion, in trying to arrange peace among them, he got permission from King Fahd to open the Kaaba in Makkah, and had the leaders go inside, where they were overcome with emotion and swore never to fight each other again. A few hours later on their way to Madinah, they almost came to blows on the bus.

Prince Turki’s account gives details of the Saudi attempts in the 1990s to bring its volunteers out of Afghanistan – with chequered success – and his negotiations with the Taliban for the surrender of Osama Bin Laden. The book includes a number of declassified Intelligence Department documents.

Prince Turki explains that the nihilistic, apparently pointless terrorism that has been seen in the Middle East in the last twenty years had its origins in Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden’s deluded belief that he had helped defeat the Russians. There is no evidence that he ever fought them at all. Soon after the attacks on 9/11, Saudi Arabia discovered that it had a homegrown terrorist problem involving some of the returnees from Afghanistan. Many of the huge changes that have taken place in the Kingdom since have stemmed from the campaign to tackle this. 

Prince Turki AlFaisal is the youngest son of King Faisal, who ruled Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. He was educated at Princeton and Georgetown University. From 1978 to 2001, he was head of the Saudi Arabian General Intelligence Department, which was responsible for the Kingdom’s dealings with Afghanistan, and for the next twenty three years it was Afghanistan that absorbed most of his attention. Soon after he left the department, he was appointed Ambassador to London from 2003 to 2005, and then Washington from 2005 to 2007. In these posts, he argued first against the invasion of Iraq, and once that was a fait accompli, for a more sensitive, less radical political solution than that imposed by the Americans. Since he left Washington, Prince Turki has been running the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh.

The Afghanistan File, written by the former head of Saudi Arabian Intelligence, tells the story of his department’s involvement in Afghanistan, from the time of the Soviet invasion in 1979 to the...


Advance Praise

I have known HRH Prince Turki for many years. He is a senior member of the Saudi Royal Family and, for many years, an outstanding Ambassador to the US and the UK as well as being in charge of his country’s intelligence agency. He is wise, thoughtful and committed to peace and progress in the Middle East. We are fortunate that he has written this Memoir of his remarkable career. 

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

U.K. Minister of Defence and Foreign Secretary during 1992-97.

We have waited twenty years for an authoritative account of the complex Saudi-Afghan relationship. Prince Turki AlFaisal has delivered a candid and detailed history drawing on his quarter century at the helm of Saudi intelligence. Compellingly readable, this book should be read by all who study the Afghan conflict. An outstanding book.

Professor Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History

I have known HRH Prince Turki for many years. He is a senior member of the Saudi Royal Family and, for many years, an outstanding Ambassador to the US and the UK as well as being in charge of his...


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ISBN 9780992980887
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