As the Soviets invaded the capitol of Kabul in Afghanistan in 1979, the Afghans and Arab states began to assemble for the eventual war with the secular invader. In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi monarchy along with the Pakistan ISI wanted a face for the war. Prince Turki al-Faisal, Director of the General Intelligence (GID) was too known and “proud” to enter the war but there was one man who dutifully advocated his presence, someone who had the full financial backing of the largest construction company in all of the Muslim lands (The BinLaden Group)….his name was Osama Bin Laden.
By this time Bin Laden was a relatively unknown figure. His finances from his father's company, Bin Laden helped build roads and ditches for the Afghan Mujahideen. Meanwhile the Pakistan ISI and other known warlords heading large contingents of Mujaheddin fighters led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and Ahmad Shah Massoud were receiving funding from the Intelligence field, most notably the ISI and the Central Intelligence Agency.
As Osama bin Laden becomes more involved with the mujaheddin resistance in Afghanistan, he also develops close ties to the Saudi intelligence agency, the GID. Some believe that Saudi Intelligence Minister Prince Turki al-Faisal plays a middleman role between Saudi intelligence and mujaheddin groups . The Soviets would not be prepared for the unforgiving terrain of Afghanistan, searing heat even in the fall months would befall on many troops whom were better prepared for the winter. As the war raged on, more Arabs from around the world expressed interest in joining, and as such a base for operations in helping them get here with full financial backing from numerous agencies and individuals born the Maktab al-Khidamat, or the Afghan Services Bureau. With a triumvirate heading this operation, leading the way Osama Bin Laden, his religious mentor Abdullah Azzam and Egyptian doctor and Egyptian Islamic Jihad prominent member Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Millions of dollars began pouring in from the notable members of the Saudi Kingdom as well as the Pakistan ISI. But the Afghans were fighting an uphill battle as the Soviets were using attack planes and helicopters which would penetrate the Mujaheddin who were out in the open. The United States government, led by White House National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski along with then U.S. President Ronald Reagan, began supplying the Mujahideen with the weapon they needed….the Stinger Missile. It helped turn the tide in late 1987–88. Yassin Kadi, a Saudi architect and businessman (see 1981), meets with Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Both are backers of the Afghan rebels in their war with the Soviet Union. Kadi, who will become a millionaire and a suspected terror supporter, will reveal his contacts with bin Laden in a 2008 interview.
In 1989, the Soviets withdraw from the conflict, beaten and weary from the unforgiving mountainous terrain, with valleys littering the creek beds of rusted soviet tanks. Afghanistan has never been defeated by a foreign invader in all of human history and with this latest victory the remaining Afghan Mujahideen saw this victory as a direct message from god. That the Muslim call to jihad can defeat a superpower which had an insurmountable advantage in the technological aspects. But it was the beginning of a new type of jihad, one where the Pakistan madrassas began preaching as the old Arab nationalists began dying in the desert landscapes of Afghanistan. The preachings of Abdullah Azzam along with it’s more vigorous ideology which would later be called Wahhabi Islam, or better know as Salafi Islam began to hold favor to many of the Arabs. It would upend the secular pan-Arab Nationalism and begin to shape organizations primarily based on the teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah and others who would misinterpret the Islamic faith, such as, Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Omar Abdel Rahman.
It gave birth to the face of the “new jihad” and one where the world would take notice just in a few short years. The man who suddenly became the hero of Muslims worldwide, a man who helped defeat the Soviet Union and who would challenge the Kafir worldwide…..that face belonged to Osama Bin Laden.