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

                                p4

1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

March 28, 1979    There is a major revolt in the province of Herat against the Taraki regime fomented by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. (Herat is predominantly Shi'ite Moslem; the rest of Afghanistan is mostly Sunni.) Taraki and Amin ask the Soviet Union for "two or three battalions" to protect communication lines and the Bagram airfield. Amin succeeds Taraki as prime minister, but Taraki remains in the government. Cooley, p. 12.

April 4, 1979    In Pakistan the somewhat populist president, Zulfilcar Ali Bhutto, is overthrown and hung on the orders of General Zia al-Haq. [Zia initially canceled elections indefinitely, but was soon forced to allow local elections of individuals but without party labels. Ali Bhutto's western-educated daughter, Benazir, took over the leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and was able to get many of the party faithful elected. She traveled abroad and promoted international aversion to Zia. The discovery that Pakistan was secretly constructing a facility to enrich uranium (in violation of the 1976 "Symington Amendment") caused President Carter to stop military aid and impose economic sanctions in April. Zia, thus isolated, was ripe to find a "good war" to regain American support. He and the chief of ISI, his secret service, General Akhtar Rahman Khan, would find that opportunity with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Cooley, pp. 52-54.]

July 3, 1979    President Carter, at the urging of his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, signs a secret directive for clandestine assistance to enemies of the pro-Soviet regime in Afghanistan. Cooley, pp. 13, 19-22. [This, of course, was six months before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Brezezinski admitted this in 1998 to a rather shocked French interviewer: "We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we consciously increased the probability that they would .... Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap. You want me to regret that?" When the interviewer asked if he regretted having supported the Islamic fundamentalists and given arms and advice to future terrorists, Brzezinski replied: "What is more important to the history of the world... the Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" Interview with Vincent Javert in Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, January 15-21, 1998, p. 76, translated from the French by Bill Blum. ]

September 17, 1979    President Taraki is replaced and then murdered. Cooley, p. 17.

September 26, 1979    A secret report prepared for President Carter describes the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan and questions whether the rule of General Zia al-Haq will last out the year. Much of Pakistan's GNP is going to their nuclear development program, yet the country is asking for a rescheduling of their huge international debt. "Another problem in the US-Pakistani relationship is in the unchecked expansion of opium poppy cultivation in the tribal areas of Pakistan along the Afghan border." Despite this negative assessment the Carter government will continue the covert funneling of arms and supplies to Pakistan's ISI (secret service) which then sends about 50% to the seven principal Islamic fundamentalist guerrilla groups in Afghanistan which they are training and equipping. Cooley, pp. 58-59.

November 4, 1979    Blowback in Iran: Islamic militant students invade the US Embassy in Tehran and hold 52 personnel hostage in retaliation for the US extension of hospitality to the deposed Shah Reza Pahlevi. [It would be 444 days before they were released.]

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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