There is hardly anyone in Pakistan’s strategic community who does not know Dr Hein Kiessling. His book is a welcome addition to literature on Intelligence Studies and fills a void by providing a first comprehensive history of ISI or does he? It has 21 chapters, an introduction, postscript and five appendixes. The book provides valuable information about ISI. It informs us that the founder of ISI was an Australian born British Army Officer Major General Walter Joseph Cawthrone; the conspiracy to assassinate Ayub Khan by six Naval officers who wanted to appoint Maulana Maududi as law minister, Malvi Farid the governor of West and General Azam the governor of East Pakistan; the presence of KGB agents Gnom, Kuri and Gulyam in Pakistan’s diplomatic circle in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Perhaps the most important information is provided on pages 25 and 26; the author states that ISI field operatives were able to acquire within a month of the issuance of Indian General Sam Manekshaw’s operational instructions regarding the Indian Army’s plan of invasion of East Pakistan and passed it on to Islamabad. On December 3, 1971, ISI operatives reported the actual plans and intentions of the Indian army. ISI provided the first reports regarding AQ Khan’s activity during Benazir Bhutto’s first tenure. The author acknowledged and is also visible throughout the text that all the concerned quarters provided him full support. Yet, one cannot escape the feeling that the book is at places casually written and is riddled with flaws that could have been easily avoided. The reviewer is still struggling why the author quoted Majid Nizami’s assessment, “He did not rule out a possible deployment of nuclear weapons for the liberation of Kashmir.” What is the relevance of this with Pakistan’s nuclear policy? The author mentioned President Zardari’s efforts for improving the bilateral relations but completely ignored the developments that took place during the Musharraf-Manmohan period through the “back channel” detailed in Ahmed Raza Kasuri’s book. The readers are left wondering who were the two Pakistanis out of the six who along with Bin Laden gave the fatwa. Equally perplexing is that the author still calls Dr AQ Khan Pakistan’s nuclear weapons guru. General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, commonly believed to be the man behind the Afghan jehad and making ISI a formidable spy organisation and who the author calls “one of the most interesting, most successful but also the most controversial of all ISI directors” is generally missing from this book. This is not necessarily a weakness of this book because it details how Afghan jehad was planned and the contributions of other players involved in this process that has not been publicly known so far. Brig Raza Ali has provided important information about the Afghan jehad. What is surprising is that more than once, his name was written as General Akhtar Rahman. The author points out that although ISI was under the Ministry of Defence and reported directly to the head of the government, it was the chief of the Army who decided what and how much is to be shared with the political leadership. What he does not inform is when this started to happen? From the very beginning? If so, why? And if after some time, when and why? He states without qualifying that Kissinger’s then secret visit to Peking was a “masterpiece of cooperation between the CIA and ISI”. What follows is equally surprising and leaves the reader wondering what the author intended or implied here. According to the author, “CIA and ISI also cooperated in working against the Indira Gandhi government after she signed an agreement with Moscow on August 7, 1971 confirming peace, friendship and cooperation between India and the Soviet Union.” “Only after the murder of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 did the joint CIA-ISI campaigns come to an end.” He claims that “a majority of Pakistanis” are convinced even today that General Akhtar Abdul Rahman and ISI were behind the murder of Shahnawaz Bhutto. How he came to know or quantify the view of the majority of Pakistanis is not clear. This book is important and should be read by all interested in Pakistan. Christophe Jaffrelot is correct in saying, ‘This (book) is the most comprehensive analysis of the ISI to date’ The book has some rooky mistakes that could have been easily fixed. For instance, Balochi is the name of the language, not the people. Since the elections in 1997, Nawaz Sharif became the prime Minister of Pakistan hence it is incorrect that “in 1998 the US compelled Benazir Bhutto’s government to break off all ties with the Taliban” or that Cherat was redesigned as a commando training camp after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Spelling mistakes like “climing”, “wouild” “und”, “chiethe” are also there. The concluding section of the chapter, “The ISI and Nawaz Sharif, 1990-1993” detail the views of Lt General Javed Nasir. Quoting him, the author wrote “Musharraf today is a stooge of Mubarak.” The whole chapter especially this section is too journalistic in tone and the author leaves the whole thing hanging without providing a conclusion. Only the author can tell us what he meant, “Basayev was one among a 1,500-strong Afghan Mujahideen contingent in oil-rich Azerbaijan, which fought under Pakistani command against Armenia in the war over the Nagorno Karabakh enclave.” It is Jammat-i-Islami and not Jamaat-i-Islam. JUI is not an abbreviation for Jammat-i-Islami, it is for Jammait-i-Ulema-e-Islam. It is General Mirza and not Mrza Aslam Beg. “observs”. It is Strategic Plans Division (SPD) not “Strategic Plans Commission”. The referencing in the book is also problematic. I am not sure which referencing system was followed. For instance the first note of the chapter “The First Decade” is see Winchell despite the fact that this is the first time, it is mentioned. Note #4 of the second chapter just states Mirza (2000). Note #21 states “See Ziring (1997), here quoted in Altaf Gauhar, ibid.” problem is that the Note # 20 is “Winchell (2003), p. 377.” All in all, the author has successfully managed to mash well-known facts about Pakistan’s contemporary political history and provided a fresh perspective by attempting to place ISI in it. It also built on whatever is available on ISI in bits and pieces. Despite the all above-mentioned flaws that could easily be fixed in the coming edition, this book is an important addition to literature and should be read by all interested in Pakistan. Christophe Jaffrelot is correct in saying, “This (book) is the most comprehensive analysis of the ISI to date.” The writer is a scholar having taught at many prestigious universities both in Pakistan and abroad. He is also the consulting editor of upcoming e-paper Pakistan Review. He Tweets at @SrizwanZeb and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, July 20th , 2017.