Quetta And Surplus
By Dr Farrukh Saleem
The News International (Pakistan)
15 July , 2003
On 25 December 1979, Leonid
Brezhnev sent in troops to invade
Afghanistan. Within two days the Red Army had secured Kabul. On 21 January
1980, US President James E Carter made his State of the Union Address.
The Carter Administration had identified Pakistan as a "Front-line
state" in America's global struggle against Communism.
At the heart of America's
struggle against Communism was the CIA plan to destabilise the Soviet
Union through the spread of Islamic fanaticism across Muslim Central
Asian Soviet republics. Between 1980 and 1989, CIA poured in some $6
billion (other estimates go as high as $20 billion) in arms, ammunition,
recruiting, establishing an extensive madrassa network, training, feeding
and arming of recruits. Saudi Arabia matched the US dollar-for-dollar.
Wealthy Arabs poured in additional millions. Egypt and China also helped
In 1980, Prince Turki al-Faisal,
the then head of Istakhbarat, Saudi Arabia's secret service, handpicked
Osama bin Laden to provide engineering and organisational help to the
fighting Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Osama was provided hundreds of millions
with which he bought heavy construction equipment from Saudi Arabia
destined for Afghanistan's guerrilla camps.
Ronald Reagan took over the
White House on 20 January 1981. The game-plan then revolved around the
production of a hundred thousand religious fanatics to fight the 'godless
Russians'. In 1979 an estimate on the total number of madrassas stood
at around 1,000. Most of these madrassas concentrated on the formal
instruction of Islamic theology. Between 1983 and 1988, CIA aid had
helped establish an additional 1,891 madrassas. The new ones doubled
as guerrilla training camps producing an average of at least fifty battle-ready
alumni a year. That's roughly a hundred thousand Mujahideen a year.
Osama bin Laden on his own is estimated to have recruited, financed
and trained an additional 35,000 non-Afghans.
By 1984, the University of
Nebraska, through a $51 million USAID
grant, joined the Mujahideen war against the Red Army. The
University's Centre for Afghanistan Studies produced literature in
Pashtu and Dari indoctrinating Afghan children with fanaticism and bigotry.
According to The Washington Post of 23 March 2003, Afghan children were
"taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and
land mines." In Qur'aanic lessons, Mujahideen were shown the path
to heaven by killing a handful of 'godless Russians'.
US-run Radio Liberty and
Radio free Europe were set up to beam Islamic fundamentalist tirades
across Central Asia (in 1991, a US federal appeals court ruling against
USAID ruled that taxpayers dollars cannot be used to supply materials
that are religious). Between 1982 and 1989, a hundred thousand non-afghans
-- including Egyptians, Algerians, Palestinians, and Saudis -- were
indoctrinated and trained at Pakistani madrassas to fight the Russians
in Afghanistan. At the peak of the Afghan war some 50,000 Muslim radicals
from 43 countries were fighting the Russians.
Mikhail Gorbachev ordered
the Red Army out of Afghanistan. The last Soviet soldier walked out
of Afghanistan on 15 February 1989. Interestingly, between 1982 and
1989, while the CIA was in league with the Mujahideen, Afghan opium
production ballooned from 250 tons in 1982 to 2,000 tons in 1989.
By 1992, the Najibullah Government
had fallen and theMujahideen had captured Kabul. With the Soviets gone
there was an instant jihadi surplus of more than a couple of hundred
thousand war hardened bullies who had brought the second most powerful
nation on the face of the planet down to its knees. Ronald Reagan had
taught Pakistani generals the fine art of jihad (The Washington Post,
"From US, the ABC's of Jihad"; March 2002). The jihadi surplus
was released away from Pakistan in the direction of Kashmir. Other destinations
included Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, the Philippines and parts of
the Middle East. The 'global village' feels that there is a link between
Afghanistan-Pakistan combine and the persistent fighting in
south-eastern Europe, south-western Russia, western Pacific Ocean and
Srinagar has kept some of
the jihadi surplus busy for the past 11
years. Engagements in Karakorum, Kargil and Xingjiang have also kept
jihadis occupied. The number of madrassas, however, has kept on surging
even after the capture of Kabul in 1992. In 1947, for instance, Pakistan
had 245 madrassas. In 1989, the overall estimate was under 2,000. By
the year 2000, our Ministry of Interior had enumerated 6,761 madrassas.
In 2001, one hundred and nine more madrassas were added (while the total
number of madrassas has not decreased since September 11 the number
of foreign students at these madrassas has gone down sharply).
Before Camp David, the Kashmir
release valve was shut down. One 24 June 2003, we committed to keep
the valve shut down for good. One that is not at peace with the world
ought not expect peace within. On July 4, came the attack on the Quetta
imambargah. Our jihadi surplus -- both in manpower and infrastructure
-- exploded in our midst.
Was it Dr Henry Frankenstein,
the mad, obsessed scientist, who
experimentally created a soulless monster? The monster somehow begins
to terrorise the entire Bavarian countryside. The doctor tries to tame
his own creation. Ultimately, the monster starts destroying everything
that his creator loved. The doctor then tries to raze his own creation.