George Crile is a veteran producer for CBS's 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II. He's the author of the new book, Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. It's about the CIA's secret war in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, and its support of the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet Union. Ammunitions and weapons were smuggled across the border and at one point over 300,000 fundamentalist Afghan warriors carried weapons provided by the CIA.
Charlie Wilson is a retired congressman and the subject of the book Charlie Wilson's War. It's about the secret CIA operation arming the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet Union. Wilson left office in 1996 after 24 years in office. He is now a lobbyist and one of his main clients is Pakistan.
Rep. Charlie Wilson died this week at 76. Fresh Air remembers the brash Texas Democrat, who was best known for secretly arming the Afghan mujahedeen against Soviet troops in the 1980s. In 2003, both Wilson and George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson's War, spoke to Fresh Air about the covert operation.
Coll is managing editor of The Washington Post. His new book is Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Coll previously covered Afghanistan for the Post and was the paper's South Asia bureau chief between 1989 and 1992. He won the Pulitzer in 1990 for explanatory journalism.
An expert on Central Asia and Afghanistan, Barnett Rubin, Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and a former Peace Fellow with the United States Institute of Peace He's just returned from three former Soviet republics which have large Muslim populations, which he says are now run by ex-communists. Rubin will also discuss the aftermath of the Afghan War, and how many of the radical Arabs who went to Afghan to help the rebels are now taking their "holy war" elsewhere.
Soviet journalist Artem Borovik Borovik covered the Soviet war in Afghanistan. His first hand account of that war has given him insight into the difficulties associated with combat in harsh climates -- conditions American soldiers may face during any intervention in the Gulf crisis.