Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Geraint Rees (
Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 06:26:18 MST

On 12/31/01 11:21 AM, "Robert J. Bradbury" <> wrote:

> On Mon, 31 Dec 2001, Neil Blanch wrote:

>> they helped psychotic religious nuts become our government by giving
>> them guns & missiles,
> Facts not in evidence. While the Intelligence Service of Pakistan
> may have helped promote the Taliban I doubt a case can be made that
> the U.S. gave them "guns & missiles".

OK let's try some facts (well, some sources that quote facts...). Here's a
quote from Steve Coll writing in the Washington Post in 1992:

"In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive
166,...[which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the
mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to
defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a
Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic
increase in arms supplies -- a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987,
... as well as a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon specialists who
traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan's ISI on the main road near
Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani
intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels"

So far so good , no Taliban, or Bin Laden right now - just US vs Soviet
Union. But US strategy at that time was to encourage militant Islam in
Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Here's a quote from Ahmed Rashid's Yale
University Press book (online extract at

"Casey committed CIA support to a long-standing ISI initiative to recruit
radical Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan and fight with the
Afghan Mujaheddin. The ISI had encouraged this since 1982, and by now all
the other players had their reasons for supporting the idea.

President Zia aimed to cement Islamic unity, turn Pakistan into the leader
of the Muslim world and foster an Islamic opposition in Central Asia.
Washington wanted to demonstrate that the entire Muslim world was fighting
the Soviet Union alongside the Afghans and their American benefactors. And
the Saudis saw an opportunity both to promote Wahabbism [their strict and
austere creed] and to get rid of its disgruntled radicals. None of the
players reckoned on these volunteers having their own agendas, which would
eventually turn their hatred against the Soviets on their own regimes and
the Americans."

And the final piece of the jigsaw is that Bin Laden was encouraged to come
to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Here's an excerpt from the US
Government's own bio (

"Usama Bin Ladin left Saudi Arabia to fight against the Soviets in
Afghanistan in 1979. In the mid-1980s he co-founded the Maktab al-Khidamat
(MAK) or Services Office, to help funnel fighters and  money to the Afghan
resistance in Peshawar with a Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood member named
'Abdallah 'Azzam. The MAK ultimately established recruitment centers around
the world -- including in the U.S., Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan --
that  enlisted, sheltered, and transported thousands of individuals from
over 50 countries to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets."

Also see

> *What* possible agenda could the U.S. have where it would promote
> the success of fundamentalist Islamic memes ?!?

I think this should be obvious from the above. The US Government, through
the CIA and the ISI as its proxy, appears to have encouraged militant Islam
in Afghanistan as a way of fighting the Soviet Union. Of course, this does
not mean *in any way* that the ultimate consequences (Bin Laden, Taliban
etc) were in intended. But it does suggest that the US entanglement (and
responsibility) in Afghanistan is much more complex than you suggest.

Best wishes,


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