Blowback: Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski on Afghanistan

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
BLOWBACK FOLLIES:
INTERVIEW OF ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI

National Security Adviser in the Carter Administration


Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs
 
["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid

the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention.

In this period you were the national security adviser to President

Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?


Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA

aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the

Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality,

secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was

July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for

secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And

that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to

him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military

intervention.


Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But

perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to

provoke it?


B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but

we knowingly increased the probability that they would.


Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that

they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United

States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was

a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?


B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had

the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want

me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the

border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of

giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years,

Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a

conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup

of the Soviet empire.


Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic

[intégrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?


B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or

the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the

liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?


Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated:

Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.


B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard

to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam

in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the

leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is

there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco,

Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism?

Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.


[This interview was published in French in Le Nouvel Observateur

(France), Jan 15-21, 1998, but it is believed not included in the

edition sent to the United States. Translation from original French

by Bill Blum, author of "Killing Hope: US Military and CIA

Interventions Since World War II" and "Rogue State: A Guide to the

World's Only Superpower".]

 

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