John Pilger gives us a concise review of the horror of the CIA attack on the people of Afghanistan using Afghanis as a pawn in the Cold War, an attack that gave birth to all subsequent disaster. Pilger makes us aware that if Jimmy Carter could reveal from whom came pressure to initiate such cruel and deadly U.S. foreign policy, war promoting media would have difficulty maintaining the deception that leads Americans to accept the slaughter of all opposing American occupation of Afghanistan today:
"In the sixties, a liberation movement arose in Afghanistan, centered on the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which opposed the autocratic rule of King Zahir Shar and eventually overthrew the regime of the king's cousin, Mohammad Daud, in 1978. It was, by all accounts, an immensely popular revolution. Most foreign journalists in Kabul, reported the New York Times , found that "nearly every Afghan they interviewed said they were delighted with the coup.' The Wall Street Journal reported that "150,000 ... marched to honour the new flag ... the participants appeared genuinely enthusiastic.' The Washington Post said that "Afghan loyalty to the government can scarcely be questioned.'
The new government outlined a reform programme that included the abolition of feudal power in the countryside, freedom of religion, equal rights for women and the granting of hitherto denied rights to the various ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
Under tribalism and feudalism, life expectancy was thirty-five and almost one in three children died in infancy. Ninety percent of the population was illiterate. The New government introduced free medical care in the poorest areas. Peonage was abolished: a mass literacy campaign was begun. For women, the gains were unheard of; by the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up 40 percent of its teachers and 30 per cent of its civil servants.
Indeed, so radical were the changes that they remain vivid in the memories of those who benefited. Saira Noorani, a female surgeon who escaped the Taliban in September 2001, said, "Every girl could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked ... We used to go to cafes and cinema to see the latest Indian films on a Friday and listen to the latest Hindi music ... It all started to go wrong when the mujheddin started winning ... They used to kill teachers and burn schools ... We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were people the West had supported.'
The problem with the PDPA government was that it was supported by the Soviet Union. Although Stalinist in its central committee structure, it was never the "puppet' derided in the West, nor was its coup "Soviet backed', as western propaganda claimed at the time. In his memoirs, Cyrus Vance, President Carter's Secretary of State, admitted, "We have no evidence of any Soviet complicity in the coup."
On the other wing of the Carter administration was Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's Security Adviser, who believed that the recent American humiliation in Vietnam required atonement, and that the gains of post-colonial liberation movements elsewhere presented a challenge to the United States. Moreover, the Anglo-American client regimes in the Middle East and the Gulf, notably Iran under the Shah, had to be "protected'. Were Afghanistan to succeed under the PDPA, it would offer the "threat of a promising example'.
On July 3, 1979, unknown to the American public and Congress , President Carter authorized a $500 million covert action programme in support of the tribal groups known mujahedin. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, progressive government. Contrary to cold war mythology, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which did not happen until six months later , had nothing to do with it. Indeed, all the evidence is that the Soviets made their fatal move into Afghanistan in response to the very tribal and religious "terrorism' that the Americans used to justify their invasion in November 2001.
In an interview in 1998, Brzezinski admitted that Washington had lied about the American role. "According to the official version of history,' he said, "CIA aid the mujaheddin began during 1980, that after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan ... But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise.' In August of 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' large interests ... would be served by the demise of [PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.'
Thus, Washington began a Faustian affair with some of the most brutal fanatics on earth. Men like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received tens of millions of CIA dollars. Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London in 1986, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a "freedom fighter'. Between 1978 and 1992, the life of the PDPA government, Washington poured some $4 billion into the mujaheddin factions. Brzezinski' plan was to promote an international movement that would spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and "destabilize' the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, a "few stirred-up Muslims" .
His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, CIA director William Casey gave the CIA 's backing to a plan put forward by Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI , to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1982 and 1992. (Taliban means "student'.) Operatives, who would eventually join the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a Cia camp in Virginia. This was called Operation Cyclone.
In Pakistan, mujaheddin training camps were run by the CIA and Britain's M16, with the British SAS training future al-Qa'ida and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts. This continued long after the Soviet army had withdrawn in 1989. When the PDPA government finally fell in 1992, the West;s favorite warlord, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, rained American-supplied missiles on Kabul, killing 2,000 people, until the other faction agreed to make him Prime Minister.
The last PDPA president, Mohammad Najibullah, who had gone before the UN General Assembly to appeal desperately for help, took refuge in the UN compound in Kabul, where he remained until the Taliban took power in 1996. They hanged him from a street light" [from John Pilger's The New Ruers of the World .]
There is a lot more blood on American hands every day made possible by steady media propaganda that killing Taliban, who still govern most of Afghanistan and the parts of Pakistan where we have driven them, is protecting America from the Saudis of 9/11.
(Americans are also told that it is fine to be bombing five countries, but not Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 nation of origin. Wikileaks has revealed US officials confessing to knowledge of continued major funding for al-Qaida coming from Saudi Arabia, and not from Yemen, Somalia, Iraq or Pakistan where US Predator and Reaper drones strike daily targeting America's growing enemy and thereby taking the lives of men, women and children of those countries in willful collateral murder.)
Who are the Taliban? How and why did the Taliban come into existence?