CIA’s secret Afghan intervention

Written by Staff Writer At the height of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the country was the site of the CIA’s largest clandestine operation in history. The agency funneled up to $2 billion to…

CIA's secret Afghan intervention

Written by Staff Writer

At the height of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the country was the site of the CIA’s largest clandestine operation in history. The agency funneled up to $2 billion to the Taliban, who had co-opted most of the southern-most regions of the country as well as its southern cultural heartland.

The Americans “started operations in the south and east in the 1980s,” William Braniff, author of Living Hell: The Battle for Afghanistan, told CNN. “They supported these mujahedin up there in those areas, who the Russians had attacked from the north, from the west, from the east and from the south. And the mujahedin were fighting, while, in many ways, the U.S. was arming the enemies of the Soviet Union in order to carve out their own fiefdoms.”

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, seeking to crush the insurgencies in the southeast and west. “The Soviets eventually withdrew in 1989,” said Braniff. “The war dragged on, and the Soviets retreated, leaving much of the countryside and much of the countryside to chaos. People who had fought against the Russians found themselves conscripted into the fledgling Afghan army as a result of corruption. Then, in the 1990s, the Taliban swept to power, winning support from many Afghans who had opposed the Soviet occupation, as well as from Afghans who had lived under the oppressive government of the mujahidin, the northern mujahedin who had been fighting the Soviets.”

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