Afghan President Hamid Karzai has good reasons for trying to shut down US investigations into corruption in his government. The Afghan aristocracy has always run the nation’s heroin trade. But it was the CIA that created it.
In 1933 King Mohammed Zaher Shah took the throne in Afghanistan, ruling the country in feudalistic fashion until he was deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud in 1973. A handful of families including the Karzais and the Kalilzidads (Zalmay Kalilzidad is US Ambassador to Afghanistan) owned nearly all arable land, while most Afghans languished amidst some of the planet’s worst poverty. Finally, they’d had enough.
In April 1978 King Daoud was killed in a revolution led by Nor Mohammed Taraki, who became President. Taraki embarked upon an ambitious land reform program to help poor Afghan sharecroppers who were traditionally forced to work the land owned by the king and his cronies. He built schools for women, who were banned from education under the monarchy. He opened Afghan universities to the poor and introduced free health care.
When counter-revolutionary bandits began to burn down universities and girl’s schools, many Afghan’s saw the hand of the CIA. By April 1979, a full seven months before the much-ballyhooed Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan, US officials were meeting with corrupt Afghan warlords and oligarchs bent on overthrowing Taraki.
As the campaign of sabotage intensified, Kabul revolutionaries called on Soviet leader Leonid Brezynev to send troops to repel the bandits. Brezynev refused. The situation deteriorated.
Pro-Taraki militants, convinced of a CIA destabilization plot, assassinated CIA Kabul Chief of Station Spike Dubbs. On July 3, 1979 President Jimmy Carter signed the first national security directive authorizing secret aid to Afghan warlords. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said later that he had convinced Carter that in his, “…opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” Brzezinski, who co-founded the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, was baiting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan.
The embattled Taraki appointed Tabizullah Amin as cabinet minister in charge of land reform. Amin launched a brutal campaign of terror against political opponents, turning world opinion against the previously celebrated Taraki government. Former KGB Chief Yuri Andropov believed that Amin was an agent provocateur working with the CIA to infiltrate the Kabul government, intent on discrediting its progressive agenda.
Taraki sensed the same and traveled to Moscow to consult with the Soviets on a strategy to get rid of Amin. When he returned to Kabul, he was executed. Amin seized power. A few weeks later CIA-backed warlords massacred dozens of Afghan government officials in the western city of Herat. This combination of events forced Brezynev’s hand.
In December 1979 Soviet tanks rolled across the Panshir Valley, while KGB operatives stormed the Royal Palace in Kabul. They assassinated Tabizullah Amin and installed Babrak Karmal as the new leader of Afghanistan. Brzezinski now had the justification he’d been looking for to begin overtly arming the counter-revolutionaries in Afghanistan.
Though the decade-long Afghan conflict killed 2 million people, Brzezinski later boasted, “That (Carter’s secret directive) was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap.”