Thanks Zbig

Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski from Le Nouvel Observateur, January, 1998:

  • Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
  • Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
  • Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
  • B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
  • Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?
  • B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

From The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, by Alfred W. McCoy, revised edition, 2003, page 505:

During the protracted civil war, rival factions used opium to finance the fighting, transformed and being transformed by the opium trade. If we combine U.S. satellite estimates and UN field surveys, Afghanistan’s opium harvest had grown tenfold from 250 to 2000 tons during the covert wars of the 1980s; and now doubled from 2,000 to 4,600 tons during the civil war of the 1990s. Through this twentyfold increase during the two decades of warfare, Afghanistan’s economy was transformed from a diverse agricultural system – with herding, orchards, and sixty-two field crops – into the world’s first opium monocrop. With much of its arable land, labor, water, and capital devoted to opium, the drug trade became the dominant economic force. The superpower withdrawal from Afghanistan left behind chaos that encouraged rapid growth in opium production. By 1992, when Russia and the United States ended military aid to their proxy armies, fourteen years of warfare had left – in a population of some 23 million – 1.5 million dead, 4.5 million refugees, and 10 million land mines. One third of the country’s population was displaced and rural subsistence economies had been “deliberately destroyed.”

I totally get you Zbig! What’s to regret? You scored some geopolitical advantage!

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