"Roy Gutman, a tireless reporter, has written a deeply researched and fascinating account of the various U.S. foreign policy failures that helped account for the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks. Gutman also explains how so many institutions in the United States, from the media to the national security establishment, largely missed what would turn out to be one of the most important stories of our time."

Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

"In a detailed account and analysis of Afghanistan events after the Soviet military left in 1989, Roy Gutman shows how the world’s abandonment of interest in the country led not only to horrors there but also to the spread of terrorism worldwide. His book provides graphic and valuable background to today’s problems and a warning of tomorrow’s dangers from ignoring such troubled areas. A most impressive and interesting read."

Henry Bradsher, author of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union
"This well-written, on-the-mark book is an informative and entertaining read. No other study that examines the events leading up to 9/11 is as persuasive in placing the blame where it belongs—on the failure of three successive U.S. presidents to provide the foreign policy leadership and direction needed to address the politics, philosophy, and disposition to violence of Islamist extremism."

Thomas E. Gouttierre, University of Nebraska, Omaha
"In the early 1990s, the United States turned a blind eye to the civil strife in Afghanistan. In How We Missed the Story, Roy Gutman traces U.S. inaction amidst civil war, the Taliban’s ascension, and Osama bin Laden’s rise in riveting detail. To truly understand and combat the threat we face, Gutman’s exploration of missed opportunities and lessons learned is essential reading."

Lee Hamilton, President and Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission
"Roy Gutman has succeeded admirably in exposing the missed opportunities and serious errors of U.S. policymakers that led them to misjudge the threat that became all too real on September 11, 2001. Writing in a highly informative and readable style, he explores many of the intelligence failures and policy predispositions that are not so clearly or so thoroughly examined elsewhere. Additionally, his extensive and well-chosen interviews offer new insights and convey scholarly objectivity."

Marvin Weinbaum, Middle East Institute 

Latest Publications

Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiations: How Might They Work

Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiations: How Might They Work

Friday, February 22, 2019

By: Sean Kane

Recent positive developments in the Afghan peace process have renewed hopes that the country’s 17-year-old conflict could come to a close. Direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, however, are likely to involve complex constitutional questions. This Special Report provides...

Peace Processes

In South Sudan, Nonviolent Action is Essential to Building Peace

In South Sudan, Nonviolent Action is Essential to Building Peace

Friday, February 22, 2019

By: Maria J. Stephan; Nicholas Zaremba

On September 12 of last year, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) with South Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition chairman Dr. Riek Machar and several other armed groups. Meanwhile, South Sudanese civil society has sought to further advance the country’s peace process through coordinated, strategic nonviolent actions and campaigns.

Nonviolent Action

Iraq Study Group Report

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

By: The Iraq Study Group

In our efforts to make this report available to all, the report may be downloaded, reproduced, and translated free of charge. The United States Institute of Peace would appreciate being informed...

Pope Francis in the Cradle of Islam: What Might It Bring?

Pope Francis in the Cradle of Islam: What Might It Bring?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar; Melissa Nozell

Pope Francis’ recent sojourn in the Arabian Peninsula was a powerful symbolic advance for interfaith dialogue: the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to the original homeland of the Islamic faith. Francis joined eminent Muslim, Jewish and other Christian clerics in an appeal for the communal coexistence so desperately needed by a world suffering violence and persecution across humanity’s religious divides. The visit’s moving imagery included Christians and Muslims together attending the first papal mass on the peninsula. Yet this powerful symbolism will have real impact only if it inspires us all to take concrete steps—notably by governments, educational institutions and faith-based organizations.


View All Publications