Re: Aid for Afghanistan

From: Geraint Rees (
Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 11:42:49 MST

On 12/31/01 4:37 PM, "Brian D Williams" <> wrote:

> The U.S. is dropping bombs on portions of their country because
> terrorists trained in their country and with the support of their
> acting government, murdered thousands of Americans.

>> From: Neil Blanch <>
>> The USA is at least partly responsible for the rise of the Taliban
>> to power.
> From: Brain D Williams <>
> Nonsense. The Taliban did not even exist when we funded rebel
> groups in Afghanistan to oppose the Soviet invasion.

The Taliban emerged around 1993, well after the Soviet withdrawal - so you
are literally correct. But I think it is perhaps a little disingenuous to
imply that the USA had nothing to do with the Taliban. The CIA channeled
large amounts of funding and arms via the ISI to support militant Islamic
groups in opposing the Soviet invasion. Individuals supported (indirectly)
by the USA at that time included Usama bin Laden. From the wreckage at the
end of the Soviet withdrawal emerged the Taliban, utilising weaponry and
training that had previously been provided by the ISI/CIA.

The ultimate consequences of this (9/11) is clearly wholly unanticipated,
and in that sense no 'blame' can be attributed to US foreign policy in the
late 80s/early 90s. Terrorists, harboured by the Taliban, were responsible
for 9/11; not the USA.

However, this unfortunate sequence of events should certainly alert everyone
to the fact that foreign policy that at the time might seem sensible ('fight
the Soviet invasion') can have wholly unanticipated (and fatal) consequences
for US citizens and Afghani civilians caught in the crossfire.

>> The USA helped create, train & directly funded, elements in
>> Afghanistan that are at least partly responsible for the terrible
>> years of war & bloodshed that the country has endured.
> The U.S. supported groups defending against the Soviet invasion. It
> was after the Soviets left that they started fighting amongst
> themselves for control. Something they have always done.
> This hardly makes us responsible, try sticking to the facts.

I agree there is no direct chain of causality here; the US is not
'responsible' in that sense. But in its foreign policy, the US shapes
attitudes and events that have consequences. One of the goals of foreign
policy (or covert operations?) must surely be to limit as much as possible
any unintended consequences. So in that sense at least, US foreign policy of
the late 80s might be said to have failed.

Best wishes,


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