The extent of Russian interest can be judged from its continued support to Northern Alliance, despite the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan and despite US objections. Ahmed Rashid reports: "Russia backed the former Northern Alliance during that time and is continuing to support the army of the powerful alliance leader, General Mohammed Fahim, who is now the Afghan Defence Minister….Quietly, American officials have asked Moscow to stop the flow of arms."  One can imagine the extent of Russian assistance to Northern alliance in the absence of US and NATO forces, and in the absence of military satellites and surveillance drone at the time of the Taliban.
Coming to point (b) mentioned above, Islamophobes’ concerns and strategic and economic interests have evidently far outweighed America’s professed humanitarian benevolence.
In 1999, the plans to cajole, purchase or persuade the Taliban and laying the oil and gas pipelines were put on hold, not because of the humanitarian concerns but because of the fear of attacks on American interests in Afghanistan, which resulted after Osama’s fatwa of Jihad against the United States.
Control of Afghanistan remained a top priority without any concern of human rights abuse and irrespective of who is in power in Kabul. In this regard, the authoritative testimony of US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher concerning American policy toward Afghanistan make much sense.
Rohrabacher has been involved with Afghanistan since the early 1980s when he worked in the White House as Special Assistant to then US President Ronald Reagan, and a Senior Member of the US House International Relations Committee in Bush-II administration. Since 1988 he travelled to Afghanistan as a member of the US Congress with Mujahideen fighters and participated in the battle of Jalalabad against the Soviets.
Dana Rohrabacher has testified as follows: “Having been closely involved in US policy toward Afghanistan for some twenty years, I have called into question whether or not this administration has a covert policy that has empowered the Taliban.” After documenting a large number of factors indicating tacit US support of the Taliban, Rohrabacher concludes: “I am making the claim that there is and has been a covert policy by this administration to support the Taliban movement’s control of Afghanistan…There can only be two explanations. Either the State Department is totally incompetent, or there is an ongoing cover-up of the State Department’s true fundamental policy toward Afghanistan.”
It is correct to conclude that by its covert policy the US was making an all out effort to make Afghanistan a satellite state like Egypt and Pakistan. However, it is naÃ¯ve to assume that the US was attempting to make Afghanistan a protectorate of an unpredictable Pakistan. In the end it realized that it can never achieve its aim without a direct occupation and that is why the US is there busy in consolidating a long lasting puppet regime.
Of course the US Administration has as usual ignored the very objectives of Afghans themselves. Even today, the US has disregarded the aspirations of the Afghan masses just the way it did during the Soviet occupation, during the civil war afterwards, and during the Taliban’s rule.
Some Afghans are supporting the Karzai regime for the reason that they believe Pakistan has exploited Afghanistan towards its advantage during the rule of the Taliban. Pakistan initially supported the Taliban for the United States and later on considered them the only legitimate alternative to the war lord and anti-Pakistan elements in the form of Northern alliance.
It however, doesn’t mean that the US also wanted to reward Pakistan in authorizing it to control Afghanistan as suzerain through war lords. There is no basis to such claims. After failure in turning the Taliban into a puppet regime, the US forced Pakistan in many ways to discontinue a policy that initially came from Washington. Musharraf started following the US dictates early on after his coup. In October 1999, he overthrew an elected government and four months later he was lecturing the Taliban to form a broad based government: "Musharraf tells Mulla Rabbani-led team: Resolve Osama issue, Form broad-based government." (The Frontier Post, February 02, 2000.)
The ties, nevertheless, were gone so deep that Pakistan could not extricate itself until the US government could come up with the staged event like 9/11. At this time, the timid “commando,” had no option but to follow the script and toe the line already drawn for him. He joined hands in the already planned invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
Dr. Ali Noor’s assessment and prediction has proved right. He wrote in 1998: “The US Government, in complicity with its regional allies, and for want of anything better, is trying to put therein a servile government of its own choice so as to possess the necessary leverage to influence the overall politics and economics of the region in accordance with its imperialistic objectives. Pending the identification and installation of such a government the country has to endure the state of anarchy and instability accordingly.” Today, we see that servile government well in place, at least as long as its head, the former CIA agent, Karzai, is guarded by the American troops on his throne.
To make the waters muddy for the Taliban, the bombings in Africa and Yemen were blamed on Osama Bin Laden, despite his clear statements that he has nothing to do with any of these terrorist acts. In preparation for dislodging the Taliban, the US pressed the UN into imposing sanction on the Taliban government. It prevented Western firms from investing in Afghanistan. Islamophobes won their campaign and the corporate terrorists had to abandon their hopes of succeeding in courting the Taliban.
One of the reasons for this certainly appears to be the fact that the Taliban failed to play the US-friendly role of a “servile government”. The US administration was hoping to bring another Saudi Arabia or Kuwait into being where it has unfettered access to their policies and resources. As Ahmed Rashid points out, “The UNOCAL project was based on the premise that the Taliban were going to conquer Afghanistan. This premise was fed to them by various countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elements within the US administration. Essentially it was a premise that was very wrong, because it was based on conquest, and would therefore make it absolutely certain that not only would they not be able to build the pipeline, but they would never be able to have that kind of security in order to build the pipeline.”
The same is more true today than at the time of the Taliban. The US believes to have conquered Afghanistan and the situation is favorable to launch the projects in waiting for years. In fact, the question is: For how long can the US protect an imposed regime and for long can it stay to control Afghanistan.
Compared to the present puppet regime, the Taliban proved very good at maintaining order in the country and providing security. However, three factors made them untouchables in the end:
1). Their refusal to act like subservient Karzai, Musharraf or many other Arab sheiks and kings;
2). Their working towards transforming Afghanistan into an Islamic State and the Islamophobes obsession with bringing that government down, and
3). the fear that Osama’s fatwa of Jihad against the US has created in the hearts and minds of the terrorists in Washington.
In the later days, the Taliban went to the extent of keeping Osama and his colleagues under tight surveillance. The Taliban took all communication equipments from Arabs and they were the ones who banned journalists from seeing Osama -” particularly if they had equipment for recording his statements. Contrary to the common perception that Arabs were directing the Taliban, according to Aymen Al-Zawaheri, the Taliban would not respond to any of their suggestions, let alone obeying them. According to Aymen Al-Zawaheri, “The Taliban just laugh at our suggestions, and do not even bother to respond.”
With all these friendly overtures on the part of the Taliban, which could in no way meant total surrender like any other Middle Eastern Kingdoms and sheikhdoms or the “democratic” regime in Pakistan. In the meanwhile, Islamophobes had taken the anti-Taliban campaign to new limits. The US administration has thus no option but to begin considering the Taliban as a fundamental obstacle to US interests by 1999. Due to these developments, US policy toward the Taliban took an about-turn.
Paving the way for dislodging the Taliban
The Washington Post noted the change of heart in Washington, which in itself shows the Administration’s earlier warm approach towards the Taliban. It complained that this shift was “without public discussion, without consultation with Congress and without even informing those who are likely to make foreign policy in the next administration.”
The US took a start with a punishing Iraq-style embargo of war-ravaged Afghanistan at a time when many of its 18 million people were starving and homeless,” observed the Toronto Sun. Just like Iraq, this measure was directed to fuel a rebellion inside Afghanistan and to force those who were earning a salary of around $4 a month, scarcely enough to live on, to stand against the Taliban.
Consequences of further starving the already starved were ignored and propaganda about the “humanitarian disaster” due to Taliban’s presence was intensified manifold. The Taliban were blamed even for the absence of rain. For example Luke Harding was reporting from Qandahar in a way as if it is the Taliban who were responsible for some 3 million Afghans who were close to starvation.”
Meanwhile, the US desire to eliminate the Taliban, who would not bend to the US undue demands and dictates led to the formation of a joint US-Russian military project to undermine the Taliban to make way for a new more subservient regime well before 9/11, which was used as a perfect ruse of invasion and occupation.
Frederick Starr, Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, reported: “The United States has quietly begun to align itself with those in the Russian government calling for military action against Afghanistan-¦Until it backed off under local pressure, it went so far as to explore whether a Central Asian country would permit the use of its territory for such a purpose.”
Meetings between American, Russian and Indian government officials took place at the end of 2000 “to discuss what kind of government should replace the Taliban… [T]he United States is now talking about the overthrow of a regime that controls nearly the entire country, in the hope it can be replaced with a hypothetical government that does not exist even on paper.”
The fact that the US was strengthening sanctions against foreign military aid to the Taliban, without including an embargo on the other armed factions in the country, confirmed clearly that the shift in policy had no humanitarian basis behind it. In the words of Central Asia specialist Frederick Starr: “[the other factions] when they ruled in key areas, showed a brutal disregard for human rights and for other minorities that was comparable to the Taliban at its worst-¦ Yet the fragment of a government they support limps on and, with US backing, occupies Afghanistan’s seat in the United Nations.”
HRW criticized the Security Council measures, urging “the adoption of an arms embargo against all combatants, not only the Taliban.” Indeed, a joint US-Russia draft resolution ignored the ongoing efforts of a fraction of the former war lords to undermine peace and security in Afghanistan and were responsible for the humanitarian crisis, focusing instead “on the Taliban’s harboring of Osama bin Laden… [The resolution] would impose new sanctions only on the Taliban until it gives up bin Laden for extradition and closes camps allegedly used to plan criminal activities overseas. But the draft resolution does not directly address the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan, which has been accompanied by a severe humanitarian crisis.”
Executive Director of HRW, Kenneth Roth, pointed out that the international community’s failure to “address abuses by the warring parties now because they are an important cause of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan”, signifies that they are “inexcusably abandoning the Afghan people to suffer atrocities at home while focusing exclusively on the Afghan government’s role in attacks on foreigners.”
September 11 was a long way away, when a Canadian journalist, Eric Margolis, reported in 2000 that “The United States and Russia may soon launch a joint military assault against Islamic militant, Osama Bin Laden, and against the leadership of Taliban, Afghanistan’s de facto ruling movement. Such an attack would probably include US Delta Force and Navy Seals, who would join up with Russia’s elite Spetsnaz and Alpha commandos in Tajikistan, the Central Asian state where Russian has military bases and 25,000 troops. The combined forces would be lifted by helicopters, and backed by air support, deep into neighboring Afghanistan to attack Bin Laden’s fortified base in the Hindu Kush mountains.”
The plans had little to do with helping the Afghan people, and more to do with eliminating the hurdles to US interests in the region. As the Guardian rightly observed in November 2000, “Another missile attack will merely add to Afghanistan’s misery,” not knowing that it would not be just a missile attack, but a full scale invasion and prolong occupation.
All this put bare facts before our eyes that human rights violation, lack of broad based government under the Taliban and terrorism were mere ruses for occupation. In fact, democracy and egalitarian social development are directly opposed by deliberate American policies to further the economic interests of its corporate elites. At the same time, Islamophobes are in total control on all fronts in the war on Islam. No government will be spared which claims to be establishing a perfect Islamic model for the rest of the world to prove Islamophobes’ allegation regarding lack of freedom and democracy under an Islamic government as wrong.
In this case, the Taliban were perfectly acceptable as long as it was not clear if they would follow all dictates from Washington. However, the moment it was confirmed along with their zeal to provide Afghans with an opportunity to live by Islam, the corporate and Islamophobic terrorists joined hands and the Taliban’s policies became “brutal repression” to them.
Evidently, the human rights of the Afghan people are not a very significant factor in the formulation of American policy toward Afghanistan. More Afghan have suffered far more systematic abuse at the hands of US and its puppet regime since October 07, 2001 than they suffered under the Taliban.
All these facts clearly prove that the US occupation is as illegitimate as the US occupation of Iraq and researches, analysts, anti-war activists and peace groups should condemn and consider and address Afghanistan occupation exactly the way they address the problem of Iraq’s occupation. Both are based on lies and deliberate deceptions with no concern for democracy or human rights at all.
US occupation as illegitimate as was the Soviet occupation
There are several US and UN official reports, which on their reading present stark similarity between the US and Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. What was considered as illegitimate then, is presented as legitimate now.
The US has now occupied Afghanistan for almost half the period of Soviet occupation (1979-1988). What is presented as terrorism against occupation forces today was presented in the following words, which is the hall mark of all reporting from the time of Soviet occupation:
“the military initiative in many ways passed to the Mujahideen. They dictated a higher level of combat, which was higher throughout the year and less subject to seasonal fluctuations-¦Mujahideen military capabilities grew in many ways–better cooperation and air defense meant that many areas of the country were effectively free of Soviet/regime control. Mujahideen morale is at an all-time high-¦In many ways 1987 can be described as the year of the Mujahideen.”What would be nihilism and terrorism today was called by this official report from the US as “the spectacular destruction.” Attacks on cities and civilians were encouraged as fully assisted. Under the headline “The War of the Cities,” the report says: “The Soviets and the regime increased their emphasis on urban security in 1987. As a result, Mujahideen penetration and operations in major urban centres became more difficult and less frequent. The Soviets improved defensive belts around the cities, and resistance rocket attacks had to be made from greater distances. .. The sights, sounds, and casualties from nearby combat served to curb any increased sense of urban security.”
Now compare the terminology used for the government set in place by the Soviets with those which are used to glorify the puppet regime of a known ex-CIA agent, Hamid Karzai.
“The PDPA, Moscow’s chosen instrument of rule,-¦. when a new constitution was imposed by an illegitimate, party-packed assembly,-¦ Diplomatically, the Soviets tried to improve the government’s international legitimacy by sending Kabul emissaries on a 6-month-long worldwide diplomatic and public relations campaign… Other countries continued to condemn the occupation and reject the Soviet assertion that there is any solution to the Afghan issue short of Soviet withdrawal-¦In February, Najib offered to meet opposition representatives in a neutral setting–recognizing their status as equals. Kabul’s offer to negotiate remains, but the resistance insists on talking to the Soviets rather than the "puppet regime."
According to this report, the US rejected even when by mid-winter 1987, Najib had offered to accept an undefined role for former king Zahir Shah. On July 14, 1987, Najeeb offered specific posts to the opposition, including more than a dozen cabinet seats and the posts of vice president and of deputy prime minister. He also suggested that the post of prime minister could be negotiable. (This was later specifically offered.) After a meeting with Gorbachov Najib, at a subsequent press conference, said that he would give up not only his position but his life, if he personally became an obstacle to peace. But nothing was acceptable because his government was considered as a “regime” established by the occupation forces.
This is how the US pushed Afghnaistan into the quagmire that followed. This is so typical of the US policies to say “NO” to every proposal offered unless the so-consdered enemy does not fully and conconditionally surrender. If we look at the details avilable from the official reports from Washington, what Najeeb was presenting during the last days of Soviet occupation was no less than surrender in any way.
In the fall 1987, Najeeb furter broadened the "national reconciliation" offer. At the October party conference, Najib offered inclusion to leftist democratic unity, coalition, and the strengthening of posts offered to the opposition. Najib specifically named the "seven [Alliance] parties" in his appeals. The opposition would be allowed to open offices and publish newspapers if they renounced their US backed Jihad.
Following his admission that Soviet troops had pulled back from some hinterland posts, Najib said Soviet troops would leave, and regime forces not operate in, areas where the mujahidin ceased their attacks. He implied the resistance could run those areas. At the November Jirga, he said that Soviet troops could be withdrawn in 12 months or, less if the Mujahideen wind up their Jihad, but that was the point when in the insistance of the US Mujhahideen further escalated their attacks and rejected all offers. Again the principle put forward was simple: no negotiation with a regime installed by occupation forces.
Torture and mistreatment of the opponents of the occupation regime was highlighted by all major media outlets and the UN routinely condemned such practics. The same is now a daily routine in the US concentration camps, such as the Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Guantanamo in Cuba. The US officials reports used to call detention of Mujahideen as “incommunicado detention.” The US used to comaplain that the regime in Kabul use “physical and psychological torture to extract "confessions" and to intimidate regime opponents.”
All complaints and appeals in the anme of humanity against beating or prisoners; subjecting them to electric shocks; burning with cigarettes; immersing in cold water or snow; forcing to watch other people being tortured; placing in cells with the corpses of other torture victims; and depriving of water, food, and sleep are now some of the most humane treatments which opponents of Karzai regime would love to have compared to what they are actually facing.
Since the regime in Kabul was an occupation installed regime, the leaders of Jihad against occupation were allowed to attend the Organization of the Islamic Conference summits. Their spokesen were honoured to address the delegates. But the OIC summit would every year rebuff the Aghan government under occupation in its efforts to to reclaim Afghanistan’s seat in the conference.
In stark contrast to the global legitimacy extended to Karzai regime in Kabul, the Soviet installed regime made only limited gains in its Soviet-supported worldwide effort in 1987 to gain international legitimacy. The regime sent representatives to 52 countries in hopes of upgrading relations. Many countries turned away Kabul’s representatives. This gives us the depth of groundwork which the Islamophobes and corporate terrorists have done over the years to make the world see black as white today.
Some might argue that the US occupation of Afghanistan is justified by the US Security Counicl resolution. However, what to speak of the US resolutions which are at times based on so faulty and biased information that it killed 1.8 million Iraqis over a period of 12 years, yet the UN could not find out the truth that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
The dead-silent UN in the case of US occupation of Afghanistan, was extremely vocal in the case of Soviet occupation. From January 1980 to 1987, the UN General Assembly voted nine times, by overwhelming and generally increasing margins, for a resolution calling for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and Afghan self-determination.
The UN helplessness is evident from the fact that its secretary general has called the US UK war “illegitimate,” but the UN has yet to pass a single resolution of the kind of resolutions that was a routine at the time of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
It shows that the UN’s extending of withholding legitimacy to occupation is menaingless. We need to keep in mind at all the historical and associated factors to see the illegitimacy of the US occupation of Afghanistan.
The US policy to the Soviet occupation of Afghanstan was summarised in a nutshell like this: “So long as the Soviet Union continues to occupy Afghanistan, the U.S. Government will maintain its strong support for the Afghan people’s cause.” It shows tha “the Afghan people’s cause” could not be served under the Soviet occupation.
The same is the case today. To view realistically, there is no people on the face of the earth whose cause could be served under one or another occupation. Like any other occupation in human history, the US occupation of Afghanistan would one day definitely come to an end. It is up to those who have considered it legitimate to realise that in true sense no occupation could be a legitimate occupation.
The only solution for individuals, groups and governments to avoid future embarassment of siding with tyrants is to boycott cooperation in consolidation of an illegal and illegitimate occupation of Afghanistan, which is against all norms of international relations, international law, human descency and human rights.
Notes: Smith, J. W., ‘Simultaneously Suppressing the World’s Break for Freedom’, op. cit. Also see Chossudovsky, Michel, ‘Who Is Osama Bin Laden?’, Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal, 12 September 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/cho109c.html  Agence France Presse (AFP), 12 December 2000.  Ibid. Agence France Presse  Cited by Agence France Presse, 14 January 1998. Also see Greg Guma, ‘Cracks in the Covert Iceberg’, Toward Freedom, May 1998, p. 2; Feinberg, Leslie, ‘Brezezenski brags, blows cover: US intervened in Afghanistan first’, Workers World, 12 March 1998.
 “ISI sheltering Taliban along Pak-Afghan border US senators,” ANI February 14, 2003. Original Link: http://in.news.yahoo.com/030213/139/211qx.html, http://www.prisonplanet.com/news_alert_021403_general2.html Also see:
Ron Synovitz, “Analysts Say Some Neighbors Interfering in Kabul’s Internal Affairs,” February 10, 2003. http://www.afghanistans.com/News/default.HTM
 ‘CIA responsible for terrorism, says Babar’,
Frontier Post, 5 May 2000.
The head of the new Afghan provisional government is a "true patriot", despite long-standing ties with the USA. Sources quoted by the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan report that Karzai changed from being an early supporter of the Taleban to leading an undercover resistance against them. The following is the text of the report, published on the newspaper’s web site on 11 December : ‘Al-Watan has received new, important information about secret ties existing between Hamed Karzai, head of the Afghan provisional government, and the Americans from well-informed US and European diplomatic sources. The information confirms that Karzai has cooperated with the Americans since the years of Afghan jihad [war] against the Soviets in the 1980s and that he has ties with the CIA. The information also confirms that Karzai, in coordination and cooperation with the CIA, carried out a large-scale covert operation inside Afghanistan with the objective of igniting a popular uprising against the Taleban regime.'” Also see: Eric Margolis, “A stupid and useless war,” April 21, 2002 (http://www.bigeye.com/042102.htm ) where he says: “Zahir Shah was escorted back from Rome by old CIA `asset’ Hamid Karzai, the American-appointed, British-protected `interim leader’ of Afghanistan. The glib Karzai, who has no authority in Afghanistan and commands little respect – he’s called the `mayor of Kabul’ – sought to acquire a measure of legitimacy by playing obsequious son and retainer to the 87-year old monarch.”
 For details, see “A lesson for the Taliban-bashers.”
 Reuters – Wednesday, September 19, 2001, http://www.bostonherald.com/attack/world_reaction/ausmul09192001.htm
Daily Dawn September 20, 2001. http://www.dawn.com/2001/09/20/top3.htm
Also read shura’s decision: http://www.911review.org/Wget/www.robert-fisk.com/clerics_final_decision_sept2001.htm which fell on deaf ears.
 Goltz, Thomas, “The Caspian Oil Sweepstakes – A Great Game Replayed”, Jinn Magazine (online), Pacific News Service, San Francisco, 15 October 1997, http://www.pacificnews.org/jinn.
Also see: See Stephen J. Sniegoski, "Keep your eyes on the Caspian, or, None dare call it imperialism," The Last Ditch, September 22, 1997 (whole number 18), pp. 1, 19-29. http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch
 See: “Al-Qaeda a non-entity before 9/11.” http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/alqaeda_nonentity.html
Also see: “Al-Qaeda: Weapons of mass hysteria,”
 Stacy Sullivan, “Operation Desert Fraud How Keith Idema marketed his imaginary Afghan war.” From the October 25, 2004 issue of New York Magazine
 “CIA posing as Al-Qaeda,” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4513.htm Also see: “The Phony (Mossad) Al-Qaeda cell in Palestine.”
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