The Spy Who Tried to Stop the Afghan War

Article/Op-Ed in Foreign Policy
March 26, 2015

Painfully, one of the biggest “what ifs” in the book might have avoided war all together, saving thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. Just days after the Twin Towers fell, Grenier flew to Pakistan’s Baluchistan province to meet with Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Osmani, the Taliban commander of southern Afghanistan. Osmani was the Taliban’s de facto second-in-command and Grenier tried to convince him that the group should expel Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan. Osmani was ready to do so, but couldn’t convince his boss, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Grenier went for broke, urging Osmani to depose Omar. Amazingly, Osmani agreed. But the coup never happened; Osmani changed his mind.