By : Latheef Farook
It is common knowledge that Al Qaeda and Taliban were American creations to implement its military agenda in the region. In the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there emerged numerous resistance groups called mujahedeen to liberate their country. Amongst them was Al Qaeda established by Osama bin Laden who hails from a wealthy Saudi family and gave up all his wealth and comforts to liberate Afghanistan.
Osama Bin Laden funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.
The US, hell bent on defeating its super rival Soviet Union in Afghanistan spent billions and supplied mujahedeen with money, training and arms. This included the supply of lethal Stinger missiles, which shot down Soviet helicopter gunships while Pakistan, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States supplied with cash and arms.
Thus in this war against Moscow bin Laden became a reliable American partner. He was elevated to heroic state by millions in the Islamic world due to his magnificent efforts and sacrifices while the US media gave him all the kudos as a multi- millionaire abandoning his millions and living in the caves of Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupiers.
As expected and, as predicted by those who knew Afghan history, the Afghans got Soviet Union to bleed before withdrawing in humiliation from Afghanistan within ten years in 1998. Once the war was over, instead of closing ranks in the true spirit of Islamic brotherhood, mujahedeen groups started fighting among themselves to grab power. People who suffered immense expected peace and relief. However all their hopes of a better future were dashed and the infighting brought untold misery.
It was around this time in the latter part of 1994 there emerged a group called Taliban-meaning students, whom US war monger President George Bush thought was the name of a pop-group. America hand in glove with Saudi Arabia and the oil rich Gulf States selected Afghan students from religious schools in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, trained, armed and financed them to defeat the warring factions and capture power in Afghanistan.
Taliban gained control over several Afghan cities in lightning speed and shocked the world when they successfully captured Kabul in September 1996. Disillusioned with warring factions and several years of conflict, Afghans welcomed the Taliban who restored some measure of peace and stability to their troubled nation.
Though demonized and ostracized by the US and Europe now, Taliban made significant positive contributions. They brought law and order and stability to that lawless country, wiped out some rapacious war lords and gangsters, ended civil wars, stamped out corruption, paved the way for trade and commerce to flourish by making roads safer for people to travel from one corner to another without the fear of being waylaid or attacked, destroyed poppy cultivations and eliminated drug barons to cite a few.
Taliban were also known for their honesty, integrity and moral principles. So much so British woman journalist Yvonne Ridley, arrested by Taliban while in Afghanistan, converted to Islam following her release due to the dignified treatment she received from her Taliban captors. This was quite contrast to the American and NATO soldiers known for their gang raping of Afghan, Iraqi, Libyan and other women in these countries.
The immediate need was economic relief to the starving population, restoration of social order and rebuilding the infrastructure. There were hundreds of thousands of widows, orphans, maimed and crippled men, women and children and the aged, and they all needed support. These were not the priority of Taliban if we are to believe the western media which remains war mongers deadly tool.
Meanwhile the US with its own agenda to control the oil sources of Central Asia tried to make a deal with their Taliban friends for an oil-pipe line to run from the Caspian Sea and through Afghanistan to the warm waters of the Gulf. The secret discussion was reported to have taken place in Texas in the US but was supposed to have fallen through. The US then believed to have dropped their support for their Taliban friends, and as a prelude to complementing its designs on the region, unleashed a well-orchestrated media campaign demonizing the Taliban coupled with an attack on Islam trying to link both together.
The media campaign, the UN sanctions and the US pressure on the Taliban once again brought untold misery to the already impoverished people. In the midst came the Kuwaiti crisis triggered by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Osama bin Laden who saw the American and NATO atrocities and destruction in the gulf under the guise of liberating Kuwait turned against America.
Following a public condemnation of the oppressive and autocratic Saudi monarchy for allowing U.S. troops to enter and operate in Saudi Arabia, Osama Bin Laden moved to Sudan and eventually, in 1996, to Afghanistan, where he had earlier fought against the Soviet troops and where he was warmly welcomed by the Taliban and its top leader, Mullah Omar. Hundreds of Gulf and other Arabs who were disgusted with the disgraceful roles of their rulers in collaborating with US to kill Muslims also joined Al Qaeda to fight against America.
Taliban allowed Bin Laden to recruit freedom fighters and run training camps .The United Nations Security Council passed two resolutions UNSCR 1267 (1999) and 1333 (2000), asking the Taliban to hand over Bin Laden. The Taliban dismissed Security Council resolutions. After the alleged bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 the US asked the Taliban to turn over Bin Laden. The Taliban refused.
In the midst came the September 11 events in New York and Washington which were swiftly exploited by President George Bush and his neo- conservative cabal to impose their hegemony on Afghanistan, and thus, Central Asia, to serve US oil companies, arms industries and other corporate establishments. Within 48 hours, George Bush accused Al Qaeda of masterminding this attack, without any investigation to find out the actual perpetrators of the 9/11 tragedy and demanded the Taliban authorities hand them over for trial in US.
Refusing to yield to US pressure and blackmail, the Taliban asked the US to submit proof of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the 9/11 events. The US was too arrogant to furnish any proof, and put the onus on their new enemy the Taliban to do so. The Taliban began conducting their own investigations, but before any conclusive evidence could be collected, the US Allies invaded Afghanistan.
The US, the sole superpower certainly does take the cake for its sheer bloody conceit, its shameful betrayals of erstwhile allies, breaking its word dozens of times and imagining it is completely above international law. It plays by its own rules, thumbs its nose at international treaties and kicks anyone in the behind when questioned about its despicably bullying behavior. Its contemptible actions and those of its sycophantic Western confederates have exposed power politics in their most primitive and ruthless form.
Washington let loose its destructive military juggernaut on the poorest of the poor Afghans, pitiable people forced to forage for a single meal and who didn’t know where their next nibble would be coming from. All humanitarian appeals not to wage war on Afghanistan went unheeded. Taliban was routed out by December 2001; thousands of Afghans were slaughtered, installed a puppet regime and began implementing its agenda covering the entire region.
The US blitz turned what was already a battered and blemished land into a region of nearly complete devastation. In addition to human casualties, roads, homes, TV and radio stations and hospitals were destroyed. Carpet-bombing, missile attack, and cluster bombs were responsible for killing thousands of civilians. In addition thousands more died from starvation or exposure, including children, who make up more than half of the population of Afghanistan. Everyone except the victims failed to view the issue from the Afghan perspective. Many of these impoverished victims knew little or nothing about politics. Indeed, a good many of them were not aware that a country called America even existed. The bombardment which wreaked unspeakable collateral damage on the nation was a violation of both international law and the United States law, set forth in the UN Charter, a treaty ratified by the US and therefore part of the supreme law of the land under the US Constitution.
The Taliban would have been the darlings of Washington if only they had agreed to be party to the proposals of the US oil cartels to exploit the resources of Central Asia. Their failure to do so and more significantly their refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden put them on a crash course with Washington. But they paid dearly for their unyielding position on bin Laden, demonized as America’s Public Enemy Number One. They were thrown out of power and suffered slaughter in the process as the world’s sole superpower exacted its vengeful pound of flesh.
The US rushed to sign agreements with Central Asian countries for oil exploration in an endeavor to keep both China and Japan out of the scene. In the guise of introducing democracy, freedom and human rights, the US aggression brought back to power war lords, gangsters, hooligans and murderers, who terrorized, looted and killed innocent people. Karzai’s administration, protected by US troops, was confined to Kabul, while opium production began to flourish and drug cartels again became active. Around 75 percent of world’s opium comes from Afghanistan and with opium poppy being cultivated in 28 out of 32 provinces and, according to UN sources, Afghan opium farmers and traffickers brought home billions.
Twelve years later today Americans had to withdraw with humiliation in the same way Soviet Union ran away from Afghanistan. This proves what Indo- Pak sub continent’s great poet philosopher Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal said – “Afghanistan remains a grave a graveyard for invaders. So much even Alexander the Great said “it is easy to get into Afghanistan, but extremely difficult to get out”.
Taliban has once again emerged not only as a force to reckon with but to even drive out Americans. However even today very little is known about the inner working of the Taliban due to their deep secrecy that has always surrounded them.
Summing up the situation Malalai Joya who is the youngest and most famous female MP in Afghanistan who now lives in exile and whose bravery and vision have won her an international following had this to state in her book “ Raising My Voice”;
“Afghans are represented in the media as a backward people, nothing more than terrorists, criminals and henchmen. This false image is extremely dangerous for the future of both my country and the West. The truth is that Afghans are a brave and freedom loving people with a rich culture and a proud history. We are capable of defending of independence, governing ourselves and determine our own future. But Afghanistan has long been used as a deadly playground in the Great Game between superpowers, from the British Empire to Soviet Empire, and now the Americans and their allies. They have tried to rule Afghanistan by dividing it. They have given money and power to thugs, fundamentalists and warlords who have driven our people into terrible misery. We do not want to be misused and misrepresented to the world. We need security and helping hand around the world, but not this endless US led so called “War on Terror” which is in fact war against the Afghan people