The US had decided to overthrow: Even a month before the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush’s administration had finalized a plan to destroy the Taliban regime through direct force. According to Steve Coll, an American journalist and author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, the US had effectively decided to provide covert military aid to anti-Taliban groups, particularly the Northern Alliance affiliate.
The group decided to issue an ultimatum to the Taliban, demanding that they deliver over bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members. If the Taliban refused, the US would offer anti-Taliban parties covert military assistance. If both of those alternatives fail, the officials resolved to take more direct action to topple the Taliban regime. Coll penned an essay. This was in sharp contrast to Bill Clinton’s administration’s approach, which tended to assume that the Taliban could provide Afghanistan peace and stability.
Author and translator Marcela Grad stated in her book, Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader, that Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel recommended Massoud to surrender to the Taliban in 1997 to bring peace to the country. As long as he held an area the size of his hat, he would continue to defend it from the Taliban, Massoud said.
Former diplomats believe Massoud’s confidence derived from the fact that the primary regional power, India, had agreed to back him up to that point. In Tajikistan, India erected facilities with a military hospital and other assets in Farkhor and Ayni. Support for Massoud is recalled by an Indian ambassador. Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar, an Indian ambassador who served in Dushanbe from 1996 to 2000, organized military and medical aid to Massoud and his men.
V. Sudarshan, a veteran Indian journalist, says in The Hindu, quoting Kumar, that contact with Massoud was established within a week after the Taliban took control of Kabul in September 1996.
Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s current first vice president, called the Indian ambassador in Dushanbe to request a meeting for the commander, who was then posted in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe on behalf of the overthrown Kabul administration. Massoud, who had arrived in Dushanbe early in the morning after eluding the Taliban, had been referred to as a commander by him. The US had decided to overthrow
Kumar proceeded to Massoud’s home in Dushanbe after getting clearance from his superiors in New Delhi. He was greeted with tea and dry fruit. The ambassador was encouraged by New Delhi’s political elite to listen closely, report truthfully, and play it by ear. While sipping tea, Massoud requested India’s assistance in deposing the Taliban and defeating al-Qaeda.
In addition to heavy equipment, Kumar said India gave the anti-Taliban coalition with uniforms, ordnance, mortars, small arms, refurbished Kalashnikovs confiscated in Kashmir, combat, and winter clothing, packaged food, and medications via Tajikistan. The funds, on the other hand, were channeled through Massoud’s brother, Wali Massoud, who was stationed in London at the time. The US had decided to overthrow
India also provided spares and maintenance for Northern Alliance’s ten helicopters, as well as two Mi-8 helicopters. It also paid $7.5 million to build a medical facility in Farkhor, 130 kilometers (81 miles) southeast of Dushanbe, where Massoud died after being transported to Khoja Bahauddin, in Afghanistan’s Takhar Province, after an assassination attempt on him on Sept. 9, 2001.
Massoud was in New Delhi on a four-day visit five months before he died. This had to be a tightly guarded tour, as any number of terrorist groups from Afghanistan and Pakistan were gunning for his life, writes India’s former Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh in his book A Call to Honour. India’s cooperation with the Northern Alliance is still mainly an unsung story, he said. It will have to wait for a more detailed account. The US had decided to overthrow
More US secrets are being revealed. More secrets are leaking out of Afghanistan’s well-guarded closets as the war draws to a close. Hundreds of private interviews, which make up a hidden war history, reveal that US and allied officials confessed that their fatally defective warfighting methods strayed off in paths unrelated to Al-Qaeda or 9/11.
In its seven declassified reports, the Washington-based Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) failed to answer whom they regarded as enemies and allies in Afghanistan after questioning over 600 diplomats and military commanders.
The paper, titled Lessons Learned, focuses on the US government’s failed attempts to curb rampant corruption and establish a competent Afghan army and police force, as well as to make a dent in Afghanistan’s lucrative opium traffic. According to Bob Crowley, an army colonel who worked as a senior counterinsurgency advisor to US military commanders from 2013 to 2014, surveys were done to confirm that everything was running smoothly.
The head of SIGAR, the organization that conducted the interviews, John Sopko, said to The Washington Post that the American people have been continually lied to. Various arms of the US administration have spent $934 billion to $978 billion in Afghanistan since 2001, according to an estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of Brown University’s Costs of War Project.
In public, US authorities stated that graft was not tolerated. However, they revealed in the Lessons Learned interviews that the US turned a blind eye as Afghan power brokers plundering with impunity.
I like to employ a cancer analogy, says the author. There are ways to deal with petty corruption, just like there are ways to deal with skin cancer, and you’ll probably be all right. Corruption at the highest levels of government is like colon cancer: it’s worse, but if caught early enough, it’s usually treatable. Kleptocracy, on the other hand, is like brain cancer: it’s fatal, Christopher Kolenda, a retired army colonel who had served in Afghanistan on multiple occasions, told SIGAR analysts. The US had decided to overthrow
US officials told interviewers that by allowing corruption to flourish, the US and its allies contributed to the weakening of the Afghan government’s popular legitimacy. With judges, police chiefs, and bureaucrats extorting bribes, many Afghans became disillusioned with democracy and turned to the Taliban to keep the peace.
Opium eradication efforts were unsuccessful. One unnamed US soldier claimed that Special Forces teams hated the Afghan police officers with whom they trained and collaborated, describing them as terrible.
Believing we could develop the military that quickly and effectively was insane, a senior USAID official told government interviewers.