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Afghanistan 1979-1989

Afghanistan 1979-1989

"The entry of our troops into Afghanistan would outrage the international community, triggering a string of extremely negative consequences in many different areas. Our common enemies are just waiting for the moment when Soviet troops appear in Afghanistan. This will give them the excuse they need to send armed bands into the country." SECRET MEMOS TRACE KREMLIN'S MARCH TO WAR Washington Post 15, 1992

"A Soviet Vietnam?

Funding, Arming And Training

"explore with the Pakistanis and British the possibility of improving the financing, arming and communications of the rebel forces to make it as expensive as possible for the Soviets to continue their efforts" Special Coordination Committee White House Situation Meeting on Afghanistan 17 December 1979

"There were 58,000 dead in Vietnam and we owe the Russians one … I have a slight obsession with it, because of Vietnam. I thought the Soviets ought to get a dose of it … I’ve been of the opinion that this money was better spent to hurt our adversaries than other money in the Defense Department budget" Rep Charles Wilson Texas U.S. Covert Aid to Afghans on the Rise Washington Post January 13, 1985

"Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahideen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national security advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [emphasis added throughout].

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?

B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan , nobody believed them . However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime , a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q : “Some agitated Moslems”? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today...

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West has a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid: There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner, without demagoguery or emotionalism. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among fundamentalist Saudi Arabia , moderate Morocco, militarist Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt, or secularist Central Asia? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries…" Zbigniew Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998) - University Of Arizona

"We can do a lot of damage to the Soviet Union," Casey said, according to Mohammed Yousaf, a Pakistani general who attended the meeting… Casey's visit was a prelude to a secret Reagan administration decision in March 1985, reflected in National Security Decision Directive 166, to sharply escalate U.S. covert action in Afghanistan, according to Western officials. Abandoning a policy of simple harassment of Soviet occupiers, the Reagan team decided secretly to let loose on the Afghan battlefield an array of U.S. high technology and military expertise in an effort to hit and demoralize Soviet commanders and soldiers. Casey saw it as a prime opportunity to strike at an overextended, potentially vulnerable Soviet empire." Washington Post , ‘Anatomy of a Victory: CIA’s Covert Afghan War’, 19 July 1992.

"CIA operations officers helped Pakistani trainers establish schools for the mujaheddin in secure communications, guerrilla warfare, urban sabotage and heavy weapons, Yousaf and Western officials said… The first antiaircraft systems used by the mujaheddin were the Swiss-made Oerlikon heavy gun and the British-made Blowpipe missile, according to Yousaf and Western sources. When these proved ineffective, the United States sent the Stinger. Pakistani officers traveled to the United States for training on the Stinger in June 1986 and then set up a secret mujaheddin Stinger training facility in Rawalpindi, complete with an electronic simulator made in the United States. The simulator allowed mujaheddin trainees to aim and fire at a large screen without actually shooting off expensive missiles, Yousaf said. The screen marked the missile's track and calculated whether the trainee would have hit his airborne target" Washington Post , ‘Anatomy of a Victory: CIA’s Covert Afghan War’, 19 July 1992.

"In Ken Connor's Ghost Force: The Secret History of the SAS, it is claimed that the elite regiment actually trained Afghan fighters in remote locations in Scotland. In Afghanistan itself, the services of Keenie-Meenie Services were used. This was an offshoot of British security firm Control Risks, mainly comprising ex-SAS members and former members of Rhodesian and South African special forces. It took its name from the Swahili word for the movement of a snake through grass. KMS later played a role in the Oliver North, Iran-Contra affair of 1987." Guardian , ‘Blowback Chronicles’, 15 September 2001.

"Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Prime Minister on what occasions since 1979 representatives of Her Majesty's Government discussed the use of Keenie Meenie Services or Saladin Security with Colonel Oliver North; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister: It has been the practice of successive Governments not to answer questions about the details of discussions which may have taken place with foreign Governments" Hansard, ‘Margaret Thatcher, Saladin Security and Keenie Meenie Services’, 1 December 1987.

"Saudi Arabia has been a major source of financing to rebel and terrorist organisations since the 1970s. These were some of the conclusions of a 2006 report issued by the U.S. Department of State titled International Narcotics Control Strategy Report - Money Laundering and Financial Crimes (U.S. Department of State, 2006). Since the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, Saudi Arabia and Saudi-based private actors (i.e. wealthy businessmen, bankers, charitable organisations ) have been providing financial and relief assistance to Muslim communities affected by natural calamities or conflicts. It has been estimated that Saudi Arabia has invested more than $ 10 billion to promote its Wahhabi agenda through charitable foundations. Some of the most influential charitable organisation operating in South and Southeast Asia are: the Islamic International Relief Organisation (IIRO), the Al Haramain Foundation, the Medical Emergency Relief Charity (MERC) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). These organisations have provided funds to build educational and religious facilities, as well as hospitals, in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines, just to mention some.

Nevertheless, it is believed that some of the money destined to charitable activities has been diverted toward rebel and terrorist organisations throughout the region including Al Qaeda, the Haqqani network and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). This was possible because during the 1990s Al Qaeda and JI filled leadership positions in several Islamic charities with some of their most trusted men (Abuza, 2003). Al Qaeda and JI’s operatives were than diverting about 15-20 percent of the funds to finance their operations. In some cases, like the Philippines, such percentage could reach even 60 percent.

The paragraphs that follow will analyse Saudi sponsorship to terrorist/rebel groups in South and Southeast Asia, with case studies on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. The case studies of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be treated together considering the strong interlink (also known as AfPak) they share due to cross border activities of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters" European Parliament, ‘The Involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world’, Directorate-General for External Policies, June 2013, Page 5

"During the 1980s, the IIRO and the MWL were used by the Saudi intelligence to transfer money to mujahedeen, while the IIRO is also known to have directly funded six training camps in Afghanistan (Abuza, 2003, p. 24). At the same time, Bin Laden used to rely on a network of Saudi and Gulf-based sponsors known as the Golden Chain (Blanchard, 2008). According to the 9/11 Commission Report report, the Golden Chain provided Bin Laden with financial support to rebuilt Al Qaeda’s assets in Afghanistan following his departure from Sudan in 1996" European Parliament, ‘The Involvement of Salafism/Wahhabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world’, Directorate-General for External Policies, June 2013, Page 5

"The Government of Saudi Arabia has generally matched the United States financial contributions, providing money in a joint fund with Washington to buy hundreds of Stingers for the Islamic guerrillas even though Congress would not permit such sophisticated weapons to be sold to the Saudis themselves. In addition, several wealthy Saudi princes, motivated by a sense of religious duty and solidarity, gave cash contributions to the guerrillas." Arming Afghan Guerrillas: A Huge Effort Led by US,” New York Times, April 18, 1988

"In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code" From US, the ABCs of Jihad,” Washington Post, March 23, 2002

"It has famously been said that "short-term gain for long-term pain" is foolhardy, but this is exactly what happened to the allies in the jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, not least the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. We helped create the mujahideen, fired them with religious zeal in seminaries, armed them, paid them, fed them, and sent them to a jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. We did not stop to think how we would divert them to productive life after the jihad was won. This mistake cost Afghanistan and Pakistan more dearly than any other country. Neither did the United States realize what a rich, educated person like Osama bin Laden might later do with the organization that we all had enabled him to establish." Pervez Musharraf, In the Line of Fire: A Memoir Page 208, Ex SSG and Pakistani President

KMS - Private security firm helped train the Mujahedeen

British Training of the Mujahedeen in Scotland and other bases in the UK in the 1980s. Ken Connor (Ex SAS) The Ghost Force; The Secret History Of The SAS, Page 278

"They were well-armed and ferocious fighters, but they lacked battlefield organisation" Ken Connor (Ex SAS) The Ghost Force; The Secret History Of The SAS, Page 312

"planning of operations, the use of explosives and the fire control of heavy weapons – mortars and artillery" Ken Connor (Ex SAS) The Ghost Force; The Secret History Of The SAS, Page 312

"They were very grateful for the help and relations between the two groups were very friendly on a personal level but that did not translate into a corresponding warmth between the British government and the leaders of the Mujahedeen. It was strictly an anti-Communist marriage of convenience between two organisations that had nothing else in common." Ken Connor (Ex SAS) The Ghost Force; The Secret History Of The SAS, Page 313

"These cross-border strikes were at their peak during 1986. Scores of attacks were made across the Amu from Jozjan to Badakshan Provinces. Sometimes Soviet citizens joined in these operations, or came back into Afghanistan to join the Mujahideen" Afghanistan The Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower By Mohammed Yousaf, Mark Adkin Page 230 (extended quote)

"Thus it was the US that put in train a major escalation of the war which, over the next three years, culminated in numerous cross-border raids and sabotage missions north of the Amu. During this period we were specifically to train and despatch hundreds of Mujahideen up to 25 kilometres deep inside the Soviet Union. They were probably the most secret and sensitive operations of the war. They only occurred during my time with ISI as in 1987" Afghanistan The Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower By Mohammed Yousaf, Mark Adkin Page 216-17 (extended quote)

"We trained in all types of guerrilla warfare. We trained on weapons, tactics, enemy engagement techniques and survival in hostile environments. All weapons training was with live ammunition, which was available everywhere. Indeed, there were a number of casualties during these training sessions. There were ex-military people amongst the Mujahideen, but no formal state forces participated. We were also trained by the elite units of the Mujahideen who had themselves been trained by Pakistani Special Forces, the CIA and the SAS … We had our own specially designed manuals, but we also made extensive use of manuals from the American and British military" From Mujahid to Activist: An Interview with a Libyan Veteran of the Afghan Jihad’, 25 March 2005, Jamestown Foundation


"Third, we will attempt to increase our propaganda campaign on the Soviets worldwide. We will recommend to our European allies that they encourage their press to pay more attention to the subject... to cast the Soviets as opposing Moslem religious and nationalist expressions" Special Coordination Committee White House Situation Meeting on Afghanistan 17 December 1979

PDPA Afghan Government Change Of Laws And Living Conditions

"Land reform attempts undermined their village chiefs. Portraits of Lenin threatened their religious leaders. But it was the Kabul revolutionary Government’s granting of new rights to women that pushed orthodox Moslem men in the Pashtoon villages of eastern Afghanistan into picking up their guns. … “The government said our women had to attend meetings and our children had to go to schools. This threatens our religion. We had to fight.” … “The government imposed various ordinances allowing women freedom to marry anyone they chose without their parents’ consent.” Afghans Resist New Rights for Women; Attacks in Response to Changes Portraits of Lenin Distributed Workers and Troops Surrounded The New York Times Feb. 9, 1980

"In October 1978 the Taraki regime issued Decree No. 7. Its main purpose was to reduce indebtedness caused by bride - price and to improve women's status . The decree had three parts : prohibition of bride - price in excess of a mahr of 300 afghanis ( for value of the afghani — see Glossary ) , provisions of complete freedom of choice of marriage partner , and fixation of the minimum age at marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men. In addition , it imposed the penalty of imprisonment for three months to three years for violation of the decree." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 121

"The seventh decree attempted to promote equality between the sexes in married life. It fixed a maximum amount for the bride - price ( mahr ) , established a minimum age for marriage at 18 years for men and 16 years for women, abolished forced marriages , and established legal penalties of imprisonment for violating the decree's provisions" US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 232

"The effect of Decree No. 7 on women's status was not known as of 1985. The Democratic Women's Organization of Afghanistan ( DWOA ) was organized by Dr. Anahita Ratebzad after the foundation of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan ( PDPA ) . Its function was to educate women , bring them out of seclusion , and initiate social programs . It was still functioning and growing in the mid - 1980s." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 128

"In 1985 women were admitted to militias on a volunteer basis. They were encouraged to enlist, and female“ martyrs ” were glorified in the Afghan press." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 128

"Before the revolution cosmopolitan health care services were woefully inadequate… 60 percent of the country's hospital beds were in Kabul. In mid - 1985 the government reported an 80 - percent increase in hospital beds and a 45 - percent increase in the number of doctors since the revolution but asserted that health care provision still lagged far behind need. To attack the massive public health problems, the government has initiated mobile medical units composed of nurses and physicians and has instituted medical brigades of women and young people. In 1985 problems with public health programs and health care were discussed openly in the Afghan press. The news media reported attempts on the part of the government to expand health care into the provinces , but it seemed that most new clinic construction occurred in Kabul." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 129

"Before the April Revolution Afghanistan had one of the world's highest rates of illiteracy. The new government ranked education high on its list of priorities. The revolutionary regime initiated extensive literacy programs, especially for women , because as of 1978 few women who lived outside of Kabul could read . The school system , which before 1978 had consisted of eight years of primary school and four of secondary , was changed . In 1985 primary school included grades one through five , and secondary education comprised grades six through 10. Textbook reforms were also instituted . The content of the books was changed to include the concept of dialectical materialism , and the number of languages in which the texts were printed was expanded , reflecting Karmal's stated policy that children should be able to learn in their mother tongue… The Afghan and Soviet governments signed several education cooperation agreements whereby Afghan students could pursue higher education in the Soviet Union , the Soviets would establish 10 professional and technical schools in Afghanistan , and the Soviets would provide the schools with technical assistance… In 1985 the government announced that since the April Revolution 1,150,000 people had graduated from literacy courses .On July 19, 1985, government figures put the number of students currently enrolled in literacy courses at 400,000… In 1983 there were seven professional and technical colleges in addition to the two universities. Although it was difficult to assess the veracity of the figures, which may have been inflated, it appeared in the mid - 1980s that the government was seriously attempting to expand education in the country." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 130,132

"The Khalqi policy of encouraging the education of girls , for example , aroused deep resentment in the villages . Local sensibilities were also offended by the secular character of new curricula and the practice of putting girls and boys in the same classroom." US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 232

Although both PDPA groups were concerned with changing gender roles and giving women a more active role in politics , women such as Ratebzad , one of the four PDPA members elected to the Wolesi Jirgah in 1965 , were more prominent in US Department of the Army, Afghanistan, A Country Study (1986) Page 223


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