After 9/11, the story of US support for militant Islamists against the Soviets became a touchy subject. Former officials like to suggest that the agency simply played the roles of financier & quartermaster. In this version of events, the dirty work, the actual management of the campaign & dealings with rebel groups, was left to Pakistan’s ISI. It was Pakistan’s fault that 70% of total U.S. aid went to the fundamentalists, even if the CIA regularly demanded audited accounts. But the beneficiaries have not always been content to play along with the official story. Abdul Haq, a mujahedeen commander, complained loudly during & after the Soviet war in Afghanistan about American policy. The CIA “would come with a big load of ammunition & money & supplies to these groups.” Only occasionally have officials let slip that support for fundamentalists was a matter of cold-blooded calculation.
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Natylie Baldwin is author of The View from Moscow: Understanding Russia and U.S.-Russia Relations, available on Kindle and Book Baby bookshop. She is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated. Her fiction (more...)