Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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Afghanistan, "Terrorism" and Blowback: A Chronology
by
Janette Rainwater, Ph.D.

                                p12

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January 13, 1992    OIL: Bridas, an Argentinian oil and gas company, is awarded exploration rights in the Yashlar block in eastern Turkmenistan for a 50-50 split of production profits. This energy-rich but landlocked country is happy that a western country is willing to help them capitalize on their new independence from the USSR. [Bridas obtained a lease on the Keimir block in western Turkmenistan the following year, and the company spent US$400 million in exploration. Oil was exported from Keimir at the rate of 16,800 barrels a day by 1994, and massive gas reserves were discovered at Yashlar that were more than double the size of Pakistan's gas reserves. On March 16, 1995 Bridas signed an agreement with President Saparmurad Niyazov of Turkmenistan and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan for a feasibility study of a pipeline through Afghanistan to supply energy-starved Pakistan. (Two years earlier Niyazov and his consultant, former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig, had tried unsuccessfully to soften Washington's prohibition of a much shorter and more practical pipeline route through Iran.) Rashid, pp. 157-162.]

March 1992    General Abdul Rashid Dostum defects from Najibullah's government, taking his Uzbek militia with him to join forces with Hekmatyar's mujaheddin. (Vijay Prashad dates this as the beginning of the Northern Alliance.) "Forward into the Past", zmag.org.

April 1992    The Mujaheddin enter Kabul. A cease-fire is achieved with Professor Burhabuddin Rabbani of the Jamait-i-Islami recognized as the head of the guerrilla coalition and of the country. Prashad, "Forward into the Past". For the first time in 300 years the Pashtuns are not the country's rulers. (Rabbani and his commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud, are Tajiks.) The mujaheddin close schools and health clinics. They stop women from working. (Up to this time women constituted 40% of the doctors in Kabul, 70% of the schoolteachers, 60% of Kabul University professors, and 50% of the university students.) Armed groups beat, rape and murder women. Richter, "Revolutionary Afghan Women", zmag.org.

August 1992    The civil war resumes as Hekmatyar and his Hezb-i-Islami fight the Rabbani regime with more civilian casualties. Prashad.

February 26, 1993:    Blowback in USA: A truck bomb made of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (according to the formula given in the CIA training manuals) severely damages the World Trade Center in New York City. More to come.

March 1993    In the Islamabad Accord Rabbani continues as president; Hekmatyar will be prime minister. [However, the terror continued with Hekmatyar shifting allegiance between Dostum and Ahmed Shah Massoud and Rabbani. In the background was a growing coalition of mullahs and students from their madrassas (religious schools) who were deeply appalled by the massive violence of the warring mujaheddin factions and their departure from the original religious purity of the jihad against the Russians. They became known as the Taliban (plural for talib, or student of Islam). Their leader was Mullah Mohammed Omar, descrbed by Rashid as "a poor village mullah with no scholarly learning and no tribal pedigree," who had been chosen for his especial piety rather than any leadership ability. By the time the civil war ended, 45,000 civilians had been killed and 300,000 had sought refuge in Pakistan. So that initially the Taliban, when they entered Kabul in September 1996, were welcomed with relief by a devastated citizenry. Prashad; Rashin, pp. 19-26, 42, 199.]

March 12-19, 1993    Blowback in India: A series of bombings in Calcutta and Bombay kill over 300 people and injure more than 1200. Targets include the Bombay Stock Exchange, Air India offices and other financial symbols selected to avenge the earlier destruction of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya by Hindu extremists.

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© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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