The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth - Book Review

The Afghan

The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth - Book Review

There are a countless number of post-911 spy/military thriller novels out there but The Afghan deserves serious consideration because of the author’s credentials.

Frederick Forsyth’s previous careers as a RAF Pilot, BBC war correspondent, and a spy (yes, he really was a British spy) gives him a unique perspective and tools to write a compelling novel in a very crowded genre.

America’s CIA and Britain’s SAS learn that Al-Qaeda is preparing for a major operation titled ‘al-isra’, but the details, timeline, and target are under wraps.

A special committee of subject matter experts is commissioned by the intelligence agencies to read the Koran in an attempt to decipher the hidden meaning behind ‘al-isra’.

However, the course of the counter-operation change after one of the committee members, Dr. Terry Martin, casually states that his brother Mike Martin, a former SAS officer, could pass as an Afghan and has the required skills to get the job done.

Mike and Terry were brought up in Iraq and hence are accustomed to the middle-eastern culture and dialects. Mike has inherited his dark complexion from his mother, making him an ideal choice for an undercover operation in the Taliban territory.

He impersonates Izmat Khan, a Taliban commander who is currently serving time at Guantanamo Bay. A complex infiltration operation orchestrated by CIA, MI6, and Pakistan’s ISI puts Mike Martin into play.

Will Mike stand the close scrutiny of his cover by the Taliban? Will he be able to get himself in the need-to-know loop of ‘al-isra’ operation? Will he decipher the plan and stop the major attack?


The Afghan benefits from Forsyth’s brilliant writing style and his ability to seamlessly integrate plausible fiction into the background of real events. The narration is fast paced, multi-layered, and keeps you from putting the book down.

The Afghan is not Forsyth’s best work, but it does stand out among other spy novels involving the middle east.

Book Details

Title: The Afghan
Format: Paperback
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Language : English
Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 0451221834

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