America’s Search for the “Good Taliban”

what of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, suddenly everyone’s newest “best friend forever”?

Dubbed the “Michael Corleone of jihad” by Asia Times, the sociopathic former Afghan Prime Minister who pulverized Kabul during the post-Soviet fall-out amongst mujahedin thieves in the early 1990s, is positioning himself for whatever he can grab.

Biden certainly knows that late last year a select group of Afghan diplomats plus Karzai’s brother, Ahmad Wali, finally talked to some Taliban, good or bad, with mediation by notorious Taliban-enabler Saudi Arabia. That means, with US approval. …

Recently in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, the Karzai people thought they had handed Hekmatyar the famous “offer he can’t refuse”: asylum in Saudi Arabia first, then return to Afghanistan with full immunity. They forgot that a proud Hekmatyar does not want asylum. He wants a piece of the action in Kabul–preferably the meatiest part. (Pepe Escobar, “Taliban set to burn the Reichstag?”, Asia Times Online, March 13, 2009)

Lest we forget, this former darling of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) during the anti-Soviet jihad received the bulk of CIA-Saudi largesse as America’s plan to hand the Soviet Union “its own Vietnam” worked splendidly–for the international narcotics trade and American-linked terrorist jackals.

As Alfred W. McCoy pointed out, it was none other than Hekmatyar, with Hezb-i-Islami as the “beard” for rather profitable operations on both sides of the “Afpak” border, who pioneered refining heroin inside Afghanistan.

A piece of work from the get-go, Hekmatyar was a former engineering student and founder of Afghanistan’s Muslim Brotherhood. This brave mujahid cut his political teeth by throwing vials of acid in the faces of Kabul University women who refused to wear the veil. Accused of murdering a leftist student, Hekmatyar fled to Pakistan where he continued his activities with “guidance” from ISI handlers. When the Carter administration began its destabilization campaign against Kabul’s socialist government at the behest of current Obama foreign policy éminence grise, Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hekmatyar was waiting in the wings. McCoy writes:

Instead of arranging a meeting with a broad spectrum of resistance leaders, ISI offered the CIA’s envoy an alliance with its own Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the small Hezb-i-Islami guerrilla group. The CIA accepted the offer and, over the next decade, gave more than half its covert aid to Hekmatyar’s guerrillas. It was, as the U.S. Congress would find a decade later, a dismal decision. Unlike the later resistance leaders who commanded strong popular followings inside Afghanistan, Hekmatyar led a guerrilla force that was a creature of the Pakistan military. After the CIA built his Hezb-i-Islami into the largest Afghan guerrilla force, Hekmatyar would prove himself brutal and corrupt. Not only did he command the largest guerrilla army, but Hekmatyar would use it–with the full support of ISI and the tacit tolerance of the CIA–to become Afghanistan’s leading drug lord. (The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991, pp. 449-450)

And as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed in their 2008 World Drug Report, with Afghanistan currently producing 92% of the world’s supply of illicit opium, that would give Hekmatyar literally billions of reasons to “get back into the game” as they say.

Although you wouldn’t know any of this if you relied solely on The New York Times. In fact, Carlotta Gall, a journalist who certainly knows better, will only report that “Mr. Hekmatyar, a ruthless, hard-line fundamentalist known for reneging on past agreements, is widely rumored to reside in Pakistan,” while glossing over his documented history as a world class drug lord fully the rival of Colombia’s late, though unlamented, Pablo Escobar. And so it goes.. read more

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