Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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     Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu Afghanistan, "Terrorism," and Blowback
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Afghanistan, "Terrorism" and Blowback: A Chronology
by
Janette Rainwater, Ph.D.

                                p14

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[By December, 1994    10,000 Afghani and Pakistani Pashtuns who had been studying in madrassas rushed to Kandahar to join the Taliban. The majority were very young, between 14 and 24. They were the displaced youth of the war who had grown up in refugee camps with their only education being that of the madrassa where they studied the Koran "as interpreted by their barely literate teachers [who had no] formal grounding in maths, science, history or geography. Many of these young warriors did not even know the history of their own country or the story of the jihad against the Soviets.... They had no memories of their tribes, their elders, their neighbours nor the complex ethnic mix of peoples that often made up their villages and their homeland.... They were literally the orphans of the war, the rootless and the restless, the jobless and the economically deprived with little self-knowledge. They admired war because it was the only occupation they could possibly adapt to. Their simple belief in messianic, puritan Islam which had been drummed into them by simple village mullahs was the only prop they could hold on to and which gave their lives some meaning. Untrained for anything, even the traditional occupations of their forefathers such as farming, herding or the making of handicrafts, they were what Karl Marx would have termed Afghanistan's lumpen proletariat." Rashid, pp. 28-29, 31-32.]

December 11, 1994    Blowback in the Philippines: A bomb damages a Philippines Airlines plane; one passenger is killed and six injured. [A telephone caller from the Abu Sayyaf group claimed credit for the attack. The police and FBI implicated Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. (Both were financed by bin Laden.) Eleven other flights over the Pacific that day, all on American airlines, had been targeted by the same group, but were averted.] Cooley, pp. 232-233.

October 21, 1995    OIL: Bridas officials are stunned when they witness Turkmenistan's President Niyazov sign an agreement with Unocal and its partner, Delta Oil Company (owned by Saudi Arabia) to build a pipeline through Afghanistan, thus essentially abrogating Turkmenistan's earlier contract with Bridas. [Also present at the New York meeting was Henry Kissinger, a consultant for Unocal and another former Secretary of State. Unocal had become interested when Bridas offered the company a share in the pipeline consortium. Niyazov saw Unocal as a wedge for involving the United States in his country's development (and as an old Soviet apparachnik he had no compunctions about breaking contracts.) The US saw the Afghanistan route as a way to prevent Turkmenistan from becoming dependent on Iran and also to bar Iran from access to the potentially valuable Southeast Asia energy market. In the Spring of 1996 the United States pressured Prime Minister Bhutto to change her allegiance from Bridas to Unocal. Her failure to comply was "one of the factors" in her downfall, according to the Herald of Pakistan. The gas price finalized by Pakistan and Unocal under Bhutto's successor, Nawaz Sharif, was ridiculously low, so low as to prohibit competition. However, the Taliban was not included in the negotiation. The transit fee of fifteen cents per cubic meter was not acceptable to them and they continued to favor the Argentinians. Bridas, although banned by Turkmenistan from exporting oil from its leases, continued with plans for the pipeline and concluded an exclusive agreement with the Rabbani government. Bridas sued Unocal in federal court for US$15 billion in damages and began international arbitration against Turkmenistan for breach of contract. The Texas district court dismissed the case in 1998, saying the dispute should be adjudicated by Turkmenistan and Afghanistan rather than the US. The International Court of Arbitration in Paris awarded Bridas US$47 million. In December, 1998, following the US bombardment of Afghanistan and the anti-Taliban campaign of the Feminist Majority that was directed against Unocal, the company withdrew from the pipeline consortium. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal: "How can women be safe anywhere if some governments can carry out gender apartheid with impunity?" Rashid, pp. 160-180; Herald (Pakistan), June, 1997.]

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© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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