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The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth
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The Afghan (original 2007; edition 2006)

by Frederick Forsyth

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1,276386,179 (3.35)14
Member:hadden
Title:The Afghan
Authors:Frederick Forsyth
Info:Putnam Adult (2006), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:fiction, afghanistan, pakistan

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The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth (2007)

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English (33)  Spanish (4)  French (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Vintage Forsyth – very long build-up with lots of irrelevant information on weapons (not used), military procedures (not followed), military hierarchies (not operationalised), and very little in terms of suspense and actual action. This is also how I remember ‘the day of the Jackal’, one of the biggest reading disappointments in my life probably. All this stuff about a planned assassination, and in the end a no show. In this case it is all about a British undercover agent infiltrating Al Qaida, trying to find out about a major operation (al Ishra) against the West. In the end he finds out what it is all about and even manages to self-lessly sabotaging it at the cost of his own life. What remains is an innocuous burial and inscription on some wall at some barracks. Forsyth builds his story around an innocent remark by a British professor of the Koran, who thought perhaps his retired MI5/SIS brother might be capable of infiltrating the AQ ranks to find out about an impending operation. They share a background growing up in Iraq, speaking Arabic, and a smattering of Pashto (NW Pakistan). His ‘legend’ is an Afghan prisoner in Gitmo, whom he personally knew from an earlier MI6 assignment in Afghanistan. Part of the story concerns his removal from Gitmo and subsequent spectacular (stage-managed) escape in Afghanistan. The real legend is put up in a remote snowed-in cabin near the Canadian border, from whence he escapes at some stage, resulting in the most dynamic part of the thriller (a desperate hunt in the snow). My final judgement is that the story could have been told in a much more exciting manner. Taking a leaf from the book of le Carre, why not start with the attack at full sea, or the chase for the escaped legend? And then start working your way back? Or alternatively use the voice and I person of the desperate agent, allowing the reader to identify with his supposed heroics and sense of desperation? But no, a linear narrative with lots of superfluous detail and no real suspense, except for the occasional flicker… ( )
  alexbolding | Mar 24, 2016 |
As the title suggests the story is about a terrorist attack on the leaders of the west. Well written, as usual with Forsyth's novels, and well researched. Forsyth provides a good overview about how we came to be in the mess we are in with the Taliban, ISIS and Pakistan. The only negative about it is that he spends more time on the historical developments in the Middle East than the characters of the book. ( )
  Alex1952 | Feb 27, 2016 |
In yet another wonderful book, Mr. Forsyth covers international terrorism at its best. In this book, British and American intelligence agencies receive a terrible message: an Al-Qaeda strike is imminent. But they have no clue when, where and who will cause the strike. There is no clear clue. Security authorities do not have sources of information inside Osama bin Laden's organization. It is impossible to infiltrate someone from the western hemisphere, unless...
Izmat Khan is an afghan and he is a high official from the Taliban. He has been held at Guantanamo prison for five years. Colonel Mike Martin is a veteran with 25 year experience at the most dangerous war places in the world. He is a British official, born and raised in Iraq. In a try to avoid the attack, the intelligence services will try what nobody ever thought about doing: they will try to make Mike Martin impersonate Izmat Khan. If ou are picky, you will find minor flaws on how Mike is examined by the Taliban guys to find out if he really is Izmat or if he is lying... but generally speaking, this is another masterpiece from the master of suspense. If you like to read in the edge of your seat, this is the book you cannot miss in your permanent library. It took me around 13 hours to read this book. I give it a 5 stars. ( )
  rmattos | Jan 23, 2016 |
I have not read a Forsyth book for many years and I picked this up with some trepidation. The stars are definitely for plot and background details, although the former gets a bit over coincidental towards the end. For writing style and characterisation one star would be generous!
But the sum of the parts kept me reading it and as ever, the possibilities posed by Forsyth seemed all too plausible and worrying, ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Excellent example of how to keep the story moving, fast, and build tension. Also tremendous amount of info (well researched) about how wars work these days, and how subtly and quickly things can shift. I have not read anything by Frederick Forsyth prior to this book and will now definitely look for more -- probably some of his older classics such as The Odessa File. ( )
  bjellis | Apr 25, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frederick Forsythprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meerman, Jacquessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my wife, Sandy, as ever
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If the young Talib bodyguard had known that making the cell phone call would kill him, he would not have done it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451221834, Mass Market Paperback)

When British and American intelligence discover an al Qaeda operation in the works, they enlist undercover imposter Colonel Mike Martin to pass himself off as Taliban commander Izmat Khan. But nothing prepares Martin for the dark and shifting world into which he is about to enter-or the terrible things he will find there.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:06 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When British and American intelligence catch wind of a major Al Qaeda operation in the works, they instantly galvanize--but to do what? They know nothing about it: the what, where, or when. They have no sources in Al Qaeda, and it's impossible to plant someone. Impossible, unless-- The Afghan is Izmat Khan, a five-year prisoner of Guantanamo Bay and a former senior commander of the Taliban. The Afghan is also Colonel Mike Martin, a twenty-five-year veteran of war zones around the world--a dark, lean man born and raised in Iraq. In an attempt to stave off disaster, the intelligence agencies will try to do what no one has ever done before--pass off a Westerner as an Arab among Arabs.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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