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Quetta And Surplus Jihadis

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 out.

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 Central Asia.

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.