It only took me about three months but I have finally finished the 600-page book Ghost Wars, about events in Afghanistan and Pakistan leading up to 9/11. My favorite paragraph:
The [CIA] sent out a team of mechanics knowledgeable about Russian helicopters to try to resolve the [helicopter mechanical issue]. Massoud’s men took them to their Dushanbe airfield and opened up one of the Mi-17s. The CIA mechanics were stunned: Massoud had managed to patch an engine originally made for a Hind attack helicopter into the bay of the Mi-17 transport. It was a mis-matched, gum-and-baling-wire machine, a flying miracle. The CIA mechanics were so appalled that they did not even want Massoud’s pilots to fire up the helicopter’s rotors. They were afraid the whole thing would come apart and send shrapnel flying.
The freedom fighter leadership would fly in these helicopters.
I still find it amazing that one man who traveled in SUV caravans in third-world countries continues to stymie the most power empire in the history of the world. The book, which I highly recommend, lays the groundwork for how this all came to be. Reading it has been the biggest commitment I made all year.