The smoke was still billowing out from the devastated ground where the two tallest buildings in the United States once stood majestically, when U.S President George W. Bush have his emphatic speech on the evening of September 20th 2001. Just ten days after the incredulous terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C, which saw 4 commercial aircraft hijacked and then maliciously impacted the two World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon, while one crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The war Bush pledged would be swift and with force against anyone harboring those guilty of the attacks, his first choice….Afghanistan, where the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, was reported to be hiding along with the Taliban.
The story of Afghanistan’s nefarious sect, the Taliban, began in 1979…when Soviet forces made way to it’s capitol..Kabul. The move was unprecedented, and the world watched in shock as the secular invaders were seen vying to implement a government favorable to the communist regime under Leonid Brezhnev. The United States in particular became interested, as the security and intelligence forces began feeding U.S President James Carter with information regarding the revolving door of minted presidents in the embittered Arab country. Babrak Karmal, a former member of the People’s Democratic Part of Afghanistan (PDPA), became the choice by the Soviets to lead the country.
The backlash was almost immediate from its religious community, those who were ousted as “insubordinate” to change within its social structure as women were given more freedoms than ever before. Schools were constructed and the Soviet forces along with Afghan military under Karmal began cracking down on the Pashtuns and Afghan Muslims. It caused a tremendous clash, which saw the country begin t implode from within. 34 nations of the Islamic Conference met on January 1980, the vote was unanimous, the urgent and unconditional withdrawal of Soviet troops” from Afghanistan was announced.
The United States began covertly funding the Mujahideen against the Soviet military. But the losses were beginning to mount, the old Afghan nationalists were losing due to the superior Ariel helicopters and jets of the Soviets, the United States implemented “Operation Cyclone” which saw the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covertly funneling stinger missiles approved by President Carter along with his National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who would begin to endorse the Mujaheddin in Pakistan on a visit in Jalalabad in 1979, and gave a short speech.
Meanwhile Brezinski would return back and in 1980 worked with Carter to implement what is known as “The Carter Doctrine”. The policy was rather forward in it’s stated goals. The United States would use military force to protect it’s interests in the Persian Gulf. Brezinski added:
“Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
The doctrine would also give way to Brzezinski’s own future interest in penning a book, The Grand Chessboard, which was an outline for a post-Soviet world and the United States as it’s sole superpower using the Eurasian and Asia region as the backbone for military conquest protecting the oil reserves in certain nations from others such as China or Great Britain. Meanwhile the war raged on, and the Intelligence Communities such as the CIA, Pakistan ISI, British MI6 and Mossad began funding Afghan warlords with the largest sects to fend off the Soviets.
Men such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Hizib-i-Islami and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and the Northern Alliance. Pakistan madrassas began to produce the ideologies of former Egyptian authors like Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna (Muslim Brotherhood founder), the “defensive jihad” was the motivation to group together all Afghans and Muslims worldwide to a cause which saw the Muslim Ummah, for togetherness, against secular infidels. The cause was right, god was on their side just as Brezinsk stated 2 years prior in Pakistan, the man whom motivated many of these newer younger fervent Muslims was Abdullah Azzam. It would also motivate another young Saudi, one who would have an even greater impact in the future….Osama Bin Laden, who began following Azzam’s teachings. Azzam would also give another Afghan an opportunity to also regain the Afghan country back from the occupiers, “Mullah” Mohammed Omar. His ragtag bunch of approximately 50 men, most from those madrassas in Pakistan, held together strong in the war.
The war would end finally end in 1989, the Soviets agreed to a treaty with Pakistan acting as it;s mediator. However the beginning of the bloodbath raging in Afghanistan would begin with two warring clans fighting for dominance of the country, Mullah Omar’s Taliban and the Northern Alliance now led by it’s enigmatic and ferocious leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud who was dubbed “The Lion of Panjshir, a town Massoud would be born into. There would be two civil wars (1992–1996) and (1996–2001) which saw more deaths than in ten years of war with the Soviets.
The United States, immediately retreated form having anything to do with the warring clans, it would enrage young Muslims worldwide, and have reverberating after effects. One whom saw the United States as the new burgeoning enemy, was Bin Laden, who was now hailed a hero back in his native homeland, Saudi Arabia and whom along with Egyptian father figure, Ayman al-Zawahiri, began to implement its Office of Afghan Services (Maktab al-Khidamamt) into the base of operations to launch attacks, Al Qaeda. The United States created its own version of the “Frankenstein” monster, but not at arms length in places like Afghanistan but also within the confines of its own country. Places like New York, Arizona and Kansas City were now launching pads for religious extremism, the former tents of Azzam would no longer be held service, Azzam was seen as an “outlier” and was assassinated by a car bomb in Pakistan in 1989, just as the war ended.
The suspects were never known, but many suspected Bin Laden & al-Zawahiri, while they pointed the fingers at the CIA & Mossad. Azzam’s teachings would now be replaced with an even more extremist form, Wahhabi Islam. Most likely the purveyor of these ideals came from al-Zawahiri himself, as his extremist views were from his mentor Sayyid Qutb and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization which was led by him and Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj. The Egyptian religious sector would produce some of the world’s most notable and infamous extremists, which began Al Qaeda, one was Omar Abdel Rahman (Blind Sheikh) who helped form Gamma al-Islamiyyah. Rahman was already in NYC by 1990, and he would lead the Al Qaeda branch in New York to the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and also the Landmarks Plot (which never materialized).
The Northern Alliance would slaughter many in the Southern districts in Afghanistan, which also saw morbid actions from the Taliban, as they began taking control over most of the region and instituting Shariah Law. The CIA saw a worthy adversary in Massoud but the State Department wanted nothing to do with the war altogether. By 1997, U.S. State Department’s Robin Raphel, suggested to Massoud he should surrender to the Taliban. Massoud considered it an insult, and fought even more vigorously. Al Qaeda led by Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were absconded to Sudan, and launched bombing campaigns there, more notably the 1998 East Africa U.S Embassy bombings….however the CIA had longed began tracking Bin Laden and forced the Sudanese government and its religious emir, Hassan al-Turabi’ to evict the group altogether, The Taliban in Afghanistan received word from Bin Laden, that he would like to return to Afghanistan as their guest, Mullah Omar agreed.
The Islamic rule of law is to accept guests without pause. From here the Taliban would use Bin Laden’s finances to build training camps such as Al Farouq and Tanak Farms as launching pads against the Northern Alliance while Bin Laden began recruiting new Jihadis for what was to be called “The Planes Operation”, or the September 11th attacks.
By 2001, Massoud sensing he was losing the war, visited France to plead to the International community for help. He was met with stunned silence.
On September 9th 2001, Massoud was assassinated, and the September 11th attacks commenced two days later. The Taliban had won the war against the Norther Alliance. The United States immediately blamed the attacks on Osama Bin Laden, however the Taliban were not convinced. The Taliban would give one of the very first media statements, in which they condemned the attacks, and offered the United States Bin Laden if they gave them evidence for his complicity. The U.S flatly refused. In an interview with Pakistani journalist, Rahimullah Yusufzai, Omar stated:
“ I don’t want to go down in history as someone who betrayed his guest. I am willing to give my life, my regime. Since we have given him refuge I cannot throw him out now.”
The United States meanwhile knew nothing about Islamic customs, and if they were aware, wouldn’t much less care. Most of it’s citizenry wanted “justice” and wanted it in the form of bullets and bombs. It would get exactly that, and on September 20th 2001, George W. Bush would give what many considered his best speech in administrative history. In it he exclaimed that the Taliban should immediately surrender Osama Bin Laden and all Al Qaeda operatives. He also added:
“By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban.
Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Qaeda who hide in your land.
Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities.”
Bush speech would receive over a dozen standing ovations, he also gave a resounding statement which would also become the forefront of all wars in the future, one where a defined enemy was left to its suspicions.
“ Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”