People need to understand something about Afghanistan, and the debacle we’re witnessing there. America’s involvement in Afghanistan didn’t begin in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. It began in the last years of the Carter Administration, when he and his advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski set out to “give the Soviets their own Vietnam.” They did this by funding and arming an international cohort of violent fundamentalist extremists and training them in terror tactics. (Osama bin Laden was one of those who joined this jihad army supported by the US, Saudia Arabia and Pakistan.)
At that time, there was a modern, secular regime in Afghanistan. It wasn’t a paradise. It was ridden by internal factionalism, sometimes violent. It was supported by the Soviet Union. It was beset by fundamentalist extremists. It had repressive features. But it was a secular regime. Women were emancipated; many held high positions. Children, including girls, were educated. Science was honored and promoted. Religion was tolerated, albeit uneasily.
This content originally appeared on CounterPunch.org and was authored by Chris Floyd.