The CIA’s Covert Operations: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Arms Trafficking, Covert Operations, Drug Trafficking
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A 2002 article by Michael Rubin stated that in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, the United States sought rapprochement with the Afghan government—a prospect that the USSR found unacceptable due to the weakening Soviet leverage over the regime. Thus, the Soviets intervened to preserve their influence in the country. According to Vance’s close aide Marshall Shulman “the State Department worked hard to dissuade the Soviets from invading.” In February 1979, U.S. Ambassador Adolph “Spike” Dubs was murdered in Kabul after Afghan security forces burst in on his kidnappers. The U.S. then reduced bilateral assistance and terminated a small military training program. All remaining assistance agreements were ended after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Following the Soviet invasion, the United States supported diplomatic efforts to achieve a Soviet withdrawal. In addition, generous U.S. contributions to the refugee program in Pakistan played a major part in efforts to assist Afghan refugees.

Brzezinski, known for his hardline policies on the Soviet Union, initiated in 1979 a campaign supporting mujaheddin in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were run by Pakistani security services with financial support from the Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s MI6. This policy had the explicit aim of promoting radical Islamist and anti-Communist forces. Bob Gates, in his book Out Of The Shadows, wrote that Pakistan had been pressuring the United States for arms to aid the rebels for years, but that the Carter administration refused in the hope of finding a diplomatic solution to avoid war. Brzezinski seemed to have been in favor of the provision of arms to the rebels, while Vance’s State Department, seeking a peaceful settlement, publicly accused Brzezinski of seeking to “revive” the Cold War. Brzezinski has stated that the United States provided communications equipment and limited financial aid to the mujahideen prior to the “formal” invasion, but only in response to the Soviet deployment of forces to Afghanistan and the 1978 coup, and with the intention of preventing further Soviet encroachment in the region.

Milt Bearden wrote in The Main Enemy that Brzezinski, in 1980, secured an agreement from King Khalid of Saudi Arabia to match U.S. contributions to the Afghan effort dollar for dollar and that Bill Casey would keep that agreement going through the Reagan administration.

The Soviet invasion and occupation resulted in the deaths of as many as 2 million Afghans. In 2010, Brzezinski defended the arming of the rebels in response, saying that it “was quite important in hastening the end of the conflict,” thereby saving the lives of thousands of Afghans, but “not in deciding the conflict, because….even though we helped the mujaheddin, they would have continued fighting without our help, because they were also getting a lot of money from the Persian Gulf and the Arab states, and they weren’t going to quit. They didn’t decide to fight because we urged them to. They’re fighters, and they prefer to be independent. They just happen to have a curious complex: they don’t like foreigners with guns in their country. And they were going to fight the Soviets. Giving them weapons was a very important forward step in defeating the Soviets, and that’s all to the good as far as I’m concerned.” When he was asked if he thought it was the right decision in retrospect (given the Taliban’s subsequent rise to power), he said: “Which decision? For the Soviets to go in? The decision was the Soviets’, and they went in. The Afghans would have resisted anyway, and they were resisting. I just told you: in my view, the Afghans would have prevailed in the end anyway, ’cause they had access to money, they had access to weapons, and they had the will to fight.” Likewise; Charlie Wilson said: “The U.S. had nothing whatsoever to do with these people’s decision to fight … but we’ll be damned by history if we let them fight with stones.”

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