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The book is inconclusive and more of a narration of known events
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2021
This is an interesting book on ISI and starts with basic facts , nothing really new.
On page-22 our author starts making totally unnecessary factual mistakes like he elevates 12 Division to 12 Corps and Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik to General :--

On page 23 Kiesling starts committing more mistakes like e fails to note that Military Intelligence was presented with information about presence of Indian armoured division in Kashmir but its totally incompetent director Brigadier Irshad dismissed it as an Indian deception plan:--

Now this information was available well before the time that this book was written .In March 2001 this scribe interviewed Major General Naseer ullah Khan Babar who described Brigadier Irshad Pakistans Director Military Intelligence as following :--
“The ssg captured a despatch rider of the Indian Army on the Jammu Samba Road on night 3/4 September 65 carrying the mail of the Indian 1st Armoured Division. This mail bag was taken by Director Aviation Brigadier Mahmud to the dmi Brigadier Irshad who dismissed it as an Indian deception plan! Thus the dmi insisted that the Indian 1st Armoured Division was at Jandiala Guru, East of Amritsar while in reality it was in Samba area right next to our jugular vein in Sialkot sector! Thus once the Indian 1st Armoured Division attacked us opposite Chawinda on 8th September we were caught off balance. And then kept reacting to situations. The initiative had been lost, thanks to intelligence. The move of the formation takes 7-10 days, which acts as warning time.”
The authors description of ISI failure to predict the results of 1970 elections in East Pakistan is accurate:-- (page-25)

On page 26 Kiesling starts making false and incorrect statements like inflating troops of Pakistani military who surrendered by about 34,000 :—

As per Indian figures 56,694 regular Pakistani soldiers surrendered.Finding this was absolutely a non issue for Mr Kiesling.
On the same page our brilliant author continues delivering judgements without discussing the broader context :--

Kiesling fails to note that Yahya Khan held Pakistans first elections based in direct adult franchise and Yahya Khan made administrative reforms like restoring Pakistans provinces.
Our brilliant author spent a lot of time in Pakistan but fails to note on page-33 that Jamote were non Baloch by race :--

His spelling Jamoto is also an innovation.
On same page the other while discussing Iraqi weapons seizure fails to note that as per later Pakistani intelligence investigations the seizure was found to be linked to Iraqi support to Baloch secessionists in Iranian Baluchistan against Iranians state with whom Iraq had a serious conflict.

Again on page 33 the writers claim that Marris carried out attacks after migrating to Afghanistan is not based on facts , as Marris hardly carried out any attacks :--

In post 1977 period Baluchistan saw one of the best periods of peace and tranquility all most all along till 2002.

Page 34 Kiessling erroneously terms “Frontier Corps” as “Frontier Constabulary”, two totally different organizations , leaves a bad taste in the mouth and contradicts the authors claim of exhaustive research :--

Frontier Constabulary is police while Frontier Corps is a totally different organization officered by Pakistan Army officers and headed by a serving Pakistan Army general.

On the same page his claims that this force was trained by Babars Frontier corps is also incorrect as this operation was handled by the ISI and the Afghans were trained at the SSG School in Cherat:--

On page 35 Kiessling talks pure and unadulterated pearls of nonsense when he claims that Zia went to Jordan with his unit:--

And what exactly was Zias unit , this our brilliant German author leaves to the readers imagination.
On pages 35 and 36 Kiessling again wrongly quotes Raja Anwar :--

The actual fact was that Zia was saved by then major general gul Hassan and the incident is described in detail in gul hassans memoirs published around 1991 , so this was entirely an avoidable error.
In 1971 Zia was already a running horse and was deputy commander of Pakistans elite 1st armoured division during the 1971 war.

As a good analyst Kiessling was supposed to provide an indepth picture but he makes a cursory reference to people killed in anti Bhutto 1977 agitation without noting that over 75 % were non Punjabis killed in Sindh where Pakistan Army was more trigger happy :---

In chapter titled interim balance sheet 1948-77 our brilliant author has nothing to state about ISI intelligence failure in locating Indian armoured division in 1965 war.
On page-51 Kiessling starts talking absolute nonsense like he delivers a Solomons judgement on great command qualities of Akhtar Abdul Rahman :--

Akhtars role in first Kashmir was nominal .In 1971 he was commanding a divisional artillery brigade in a division where there was almost no action !
How our brilliant German historian of ISI makes Akhtar a great military commander is anybodys guess !

On page 53 Kiesslings account of Brigadier Raza Alis sacking is a piece of fiction :--

Colonel Salman 2 Commando who was closely associated with the ISI operations described Raza Alis removal as because of Akhtar Abdul Rahmans jealousy and irritation with special forces officers like Raza Ali who he found as too independent and more than that too upright.
Colonel Salman in an interview with this scribe described General Akhtar Abdul Rahman as a mediocre officer as DG ISI.

Yousuf was described by Salman as a spineless yesman who Akhtar preferred.

On page 55 again our so called brilliant author misses the real issue although much data was available in form of books and articles:--

Lt General Chishti in his book published in late 1980s described Akhtars removal as ISI boss due to various intermarriages between Akhtars sons and daughters of Lt Gen Zahid Ali Akbar and General Rahimuddin etc. But Kiessling makes no mention of this aspect in his shallow analysis.

As a good analyst Kiessling was supposed to give us good analysis but again he repeatedly fails as on page 61 he fails to note that as Pakistans Director Military Intelligence then general Hamid Gul was responsible for Pakistans greatest intelligence failure i.e detecting 35 Miles Indian ingress inside Siachen in Pakistan in 1983-84.

His biographic description of Gul is also inaccurate :--

He makes no mention of the fact that Guls grandfather and father were from the ranks and the familys Pashtun claims were also flimsy as they came from Hindko (dialect of Punjabi) speaking Hazara tract.The agricultural land that the family got was not near Lahore but near Sargodha.

On page 73 Kiessling promotes a totally civilian journalist Zahid Hussain as the greatest expert in Pakistan Army which seems a German fairy tale :--

On page 81 Kiessling places Rafi Alam as close to General Zia which is factually not correct :--

On page 94 Kiessling starts cooking facts like stating that LTG Shamim Alam Khan did not command a corps whereas he had commanded a corps in Multan from March 1988 to mid 1989.And spells Shamim as Shamin , another German innovation.

One is at a loss why our German author always refers to general Agha Nek as :--
On page 107 Kiessling again dabbles into considerable nonsense:--

Kakars family had migrated many generations back from Zhob to Peshawar and Kakar was culturally more of a Peshawar Hindko than a Pathan.Ayub Khan was remotely a Pathan and Hindko speaking while Yahya was a Persian speaking Qazalbash.How Kiessling distorts history is inexplicable.

Page 109 , our author should have described how incompetent people are regularly promoted in Pakistan Army :--

Iftikhar was sacked a a lieutenant colonel for charges of cowardice and incompetence , demoted to major rank and sent on adverse report to another unit during Baluchistan counter insurgency operations.But Kiessling did not do his research.

The term used is “Struck off duty” and not struck from duty as Kiessling writes and Javed Nasir was not dismissed as Kiessling fallaciously writes but retired.(page 109)

Asad Durrani was also prematurely retired and not dismissed as Kiessling fallaciously claims on page 109 :--

Kiesslings claim on page 111 that Maleeha Lodhi was an ISI expert is also highly questionable :--

On page 112 Kiessling distorts Skardus height from 8000 feet to 11,000 feet :--

On page 116 Kiessling is at a loss why Abbasi was sacked from New Delhi whereas it is well known that he was caught by Indian intelligence conducting a personal meeting with an intelligence source , badly thrashed and declared a persona non grata by the Indians:--

Here above again Kiesslings facts are wrong.Abbasi took permission from his corps commander GM Malik for the attack with the understanding that GM would disown the attack if asked.

Kiesslings use of the word unit is also incorrect since Abbasi was commanding a formation known as FCNA comprising many units.

As far as I recollect Abbasi was transferred to infantry directorate and not logistics as Kiessling claims on page 117 :--

On page 122 Kiessling starts churning absolute nonsense displaying his gross ignorance of basic geography ,an apology of German thoroughness :--

Kohala bridge where Asghar Khan had planned to symbolically hang Bhutto was more than 100 miles from Rawalpindi on border of Kashmir and NWFP province of Pakistan.

On page 122 Kiessling fallaciously describes Lt Gen Qazi from Rawalpindi whereas he was from Attock District :--

On page 141 Kiessling talks absolute nonsense:--

Non combatant is a military term that refers to cooks and sweapers.Kiessling is totally ignorant about military history and perhaps does not know that top US generals and war heroes like Lee Meade and Macarthur were from corps of engineers.

While Kiessling claims to be an expert on ISI he fails to note that ISI was responsible for General Jahangir Karamats downfall as it gathered complete evidence of Jahangir Karamats complicity in Ukrainian tanks kickbacks when it sent an officer to Russia to gather complete evidence which helped Nawaz Sharif in forcing Karamat into retirement in October 1998.

Kiesslings information regarding Ziauddin working with a British consortium is also faulty :--

This scribes father had known the general since long as my grandfather and the generals father were class fellows.In 2008 this scribes father recommended to Shiekh Yusuf of Hasnain Construction Company to appoint the general as advisor.The general was advisor with Shiekh Yusuf and not with Hasnain Lagan JV. As a matter of fact Yusuf kicked out Lagan in 2009 early as Lagan was found to be extremely dubious.

Kiessling totally misses the point that Musharrafs FATA operation initiated in October 2003 was a brilliant deception plan to deceive the Americans and succeeded brilliantly.Musharraf without any provocation initiated an army operation in FATA in 2003 and successfully deceived and milked the Americans into giving Pakistan Army billions of dollars from 2003 till almost 2018 when finally President Trump called the bluff !

On page 188 Kiessling places General Kiani from Jhelum district whereas he is from Rawalpindi district :--

On page 224 Kiessling gives a clean chit to General Kiani regarding the OBL raid whereas ISI sources indicated that both Kiani and Shuja Pasha were fully involved with CIA in the OBL raid as an exercise to help Obama win his 2012 elections:--

Kiesling has nothing to say about how totally inexperienced officers like Ahmad Hayat were posted to ISI were posted to ISI on pure push and pull , although he was sacked for being indecisive during the DI Khan jail break by Taliban of 2013.

The book is inconclusive and more of a narration of known events rather than serious analysis of ISI.Its most serious failing is the fact that it fails to analyse how the ISI under General Musharraf successfully carried out a grand strategic deception from 2001 to 2012 in totally deceiving the Americans in Afghanistan, while Pakistan Army carried out a fabricated operation in FATA against non entities while it successfully provided sanctuary to the vast bulk of Afghan Taliban in Baluchistan.

Journal of Book Reviews-Intelligence Directorate Covert action and internal ops
The enigma explored by Montana University Professor
ISBN-13: 978-1727709261
ISBN-10: 1727709268

This is a very interesting book by Montana University (adjunct) Professor .
The author explains that th genesis of this book was his:-- (page-9)

“Two- month stay at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul, Afghanistan during the summer of 2009. It was there that I learned a great deal more about Afghanistan–Pakistan relations in general and ISI operations in Afghanistan in particular.”

The book examines the following issues in the writers own words:--
1. How has ISI evolved as an institution exercising intelligence and security responsibilities at home and abroad? What were the driving forces behind that evolutionary process?
2. How does ISI fit into the larger Pakistani Intelligence Community?
3. What does the decades- old relationship between ISI and the CIA tell us about the larger US–Pakistan security relationship?

4. What is ISI’s record in providing accurate and timely early warning intelligence to decision- makers?
5. To what extent has ISI disrupted and abused Pakistan’s democratic processes?
6. Is ISI a rogue agency or a state within a state?
7. Can ISI be reined in and the PIC (Pakistani Intelligence community) reformed?
8. How has ISI employed UW (Unconventional warfare) in support of the state’s national
security objectives? To what extent has UW been a successful strategy
for Pakistan?

These are the very interesting question that the writer has formulated as stated in the books beginning and has attempted to answer in this most interesting book.

On page-7 I must add that some of the authors sources have produced some really classical pearls of confusion and nonsense like late Syed Saleem Shahzad and living Steve Coll.

On page-7 our author starts moralizing and states :--

How writers can assume such an air of arrogance is hard to understand ?

Map of Kashmir on page 15 is apology of a decent map.I am surprised at the cartographical poverty of our learned adjunct professor.

Our author makes false and uninformed assertions about how the Kashmir proxy war started on page-16 in a haste to blame the Pakistani military for all the so called perceived ills as the author views them.Like he fallaciously claims that the idea of Kashmir war originated from Colonel Akbar Khan,DSO:--

The Muslim League’s high command had tasked Mian Iftikhar ud Din Minister for Refugees to prepare a plan aimed at ensuring that the Muslim majority state of Kashmir should join Pakistan. Brigadier Akbar Khan then serving in the Pakistani GHQ wrote an appreciation ‘armed revolt inside Kashmir ‘ on Mian Iftikhar ud Din’s request.

The writers assertions on above mentioned page 16 are nothing short of sheer intellectual dishonesty as he falsely claims that it was the army colonel Akbar Khan who forced Jihad in Kashmir on the government.This is a factually incorrect statement.

On page 214 of his book Sardar Shaukat Hayat the man directly responsible for Pakistans proxy war invasion of Kashmir clearly states the sequence of events :--

“Seeing the Maharajas and Indias bad faith,we therefore decided to walk into Kashmir.I was put in charge of operations.I asked for the services of Brigadier Sher Khan and Brigadier Akbar both of 6/13th Frontier Force”.

The author could have easily found this book published in April 1995 but did not ! And more deadly is his basic intellectual dishonesty in preparing a moral case against Pakistan Army by falsely claiming that the invasion was Colonel Akbar Khans idea forced upon ,civilians who were not very keen possibly !

On page 16 our author starts making basic factual mistakes :--

As a matter of fact the tribal invasion of Kashmir began on 20th October 1947 and the tribesmen on night of 20/21st October had crossed the Neelam River bridge in Kashmir.

Muzaffarabad had been captured on morning of 21st October 1947, while our author states that the tribal invasion commenced on 22 October 1947.

On the same page 16 the author makes broadbrushes like he states that proxy war precedent was a Pakistani innovation:--

He totally ignores or forgets or is not aware that proxy wars was a British inheritance of Pakistani state.

The British regularly used proxies for their military purposes as in 1929 when they planned and executed a huge operation with base in North Waziristan to assemble a tribal lashkar very similar to Kashmir 1947 to remove Bacha Saqao in Kabul.

The writer is bad and sloppy with his sources also.He could have quoted Colonel Yahya Effendis book published in 2007 to reinforce his elaboration of proxy war in Kashmir.Effendi in his book examines in detail how Pakistan Army supported the war in Kashmir.

The writer could have inserted a major Pakistani intelligence failure in his book if he read all the available sources carefully.

Like in late 1947 many days before Indian Army arrived in Kashmir the Indians by mistake sent the whole war plan to Lahore by mistake.The plan was sent to Pakistans Director Military Intelligence Brigadier Sher Khan in Pakistan Army Headquarters but Sher Khan as per General Musas narrative in his book “From Jawan to General” just sat over the crucial information.

On page 17 I started having serious doubts about our authors research when he totally falsely states that Pakistans first Intelligence Bureau boss G.Ahmad was a Bengali !

I am perplexed why on earth American authors have to get involved in such unnecessary and fallacious matters.

The fact of the matter is that G.Ahmad was a diehard Punjabi and had no connection with Bengal.Interestingly G.Ahmad was brother of Aziz Ahmad and both brothers had the unique precedent of serving as Pakistans ambassadors to USA one after the other.

On page 21 the author again starts making nonsense statements like elevating Sahibzada Yaqub to an Indian ruling family while he was a small time younger son of an Indian nawab.

On page 22 , again the writer starts making uninformed and naieve statements like below :--

As a matter of fact Pakistans official history of Kashmir war, published in 1970 , contrary to our brilliant adjunct professors assertions states that Pakistan wanted a ceasefire and the very strategic aim of Pakistans Operation Venus was creating conditions where India should accept a ceasefire.

But our brilliant author claims that both Pakistan and India were unhappy with ceasefire.

On page 50 our brilliant analyst promotes Aziz Ahmad who was Pakistans Foreign Secretary to the rank of Minister of State !

The worst part of the book is the authors sloppy handling of Pakistans greatest strategic intelligence failure in 1965.

Here he most unimaginatively quotes Shuja Nawaz whose book was only published in 2008 and gives a totally “false and misleading picture of Pakistans greatest intelligence failure”.

In endnote number 6 our brilliant author quotes Shuja Nawazs books dumb passage below but fails to explain what actually happened and who failed in Pakistans intelligence set up ?

The above is page 222 of Shuja Nawaz’s book Crossed Swords which our author quotes.

The book is inconclusive and more of a narration of known events rather than serious analysis of ISI.Its most serious failing is the fact that it fails to analyse how the ISI under General Musharraf successfully carried out a grand strategic deception from 2001 to 2012 in totally deceiving the Americans in Afghanistan, while Pakistan Army carried out a fabricated operation in FATA against non entities while it successfully provided sanctuary to the vast bulk of Afghan Taliban in Baluchistan.

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