Origins of Afghan War -

Origins of Afghan War

September 14, 2008

Andrew G. Marshall

Tanks in streets of rural Afghanistan

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to examine the truth behind the October 2001 NATO invasion of Afghanistan, specifically relating to the politics of oil pipelines, the US’ relationship with the Taliban, and war preparations taken against Afghanistan prior to 9/11.


The Soviet-Afghan War

Brzezinski Incites the Soviets

The conventional understanding of the Soviet-Afghan War, which went from 1979 until 1988, was that it resulted when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to secure a Soviet-friendly Afghan government. And as a result of the invasion, the US, through the CIA, gave aid to the Afghan Mujahideen, to later branch out into both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. However, as Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser at the time of the invasion, Zbigniew Brzezinski, later said in a 1998 interview:

“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.”

Brzezinski also went on to state that he “Knowingly increased the probability that [the Soviets] would invade,” and he recalled writing to Carter on the day of the Soviet invasion that, “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.” When asked about the repercussions for such support in fostering the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski responded, “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?”[1]

CIA-ISI Operation

This war served US geopolitical ambitions and maintained an American sphere of influence in the region. The CIA operated in the region through Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is still operational and highly controversial today. Through the ISI, the CIA financed and armed the Mujahideen via manufacturing and exporting heroin.[2]

Creating the Taliban

CIA-SAS Train the “Enemy”

The US and UK worked together through the cooperation of their intelligence and special forces groups in creating both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. British SAS trained the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in bomb making and the leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia.[3]

The Taliban and Intelligence

In the mid-90’s, an obscure group in Afghanistan known as the Taliban were becoming more prevalent. At this time, they were also developing ties with Pakistan’s ISI, which supported the Taliban in their drive to take control of the country during the Afghan Civil War in 1995. The CIA also supported the rise of the Taliban through working with the ISI.[4]

US Sponsors Taliban

In June 2001, an announcement was made by US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that the US would give the Taliban government of Afghanistan a gift of $43 million, “which made the United States the main sponsor of the Taliban.”[5]

The Politics of Pipelines

The Taliban in Texas

Back in 1997, when George Bush was Governor of Texas, top Taliban officials went to his state to meet with Unocal Oil Company to discuss the possibility of a pipeline being built from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan and to Pakistan. Unocal had agreements with Turkmenistan to sell its gas and with Pakistan to buy it. The missing link was getting the gas to Pakistan through Afghanistan, which is where the Taliban came into the picture. Unocal’s main competitor in the pipeline bid was with Bridas, an Argentine firm. However, at this time, Afghanistan was still embroiled in civil war, making the prospect of a pipeline being built an unstable venture.[6]

Bridas, BP and the Taliban

A month before the Taliban visited Texas, Bridas, Unocal’s main competitor, merged its oil and gas assets with Amoco-Argentina Oil, a subsidiary of British Petroleum (BP), one of the world’s top three oil companies.[7] Shortly before this merger was finalized, Bridas had announced that it was close to signing a 2 billion dollar deal with the Taliban, saying “the talks were in their final stages.”[8]

After meeting with Unocal officials in Texas, the Taliban announced in January of 1998 that, “they’re close to reaching a final agreement on the building of a gas pipeline across Afghanistan,” however, they “didn’t indicate which of two competing companies the Taliban favoured.”[9]
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In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the (self-proclaimed) mastermind for the Afghan-Soviet War, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, and cofounder with David Rockefeller of the Trilateral Commission, was an adviser to BP-Amoco, specifically dealing with the Caspian region.[10] Unocal, in an effort to try to secure their pipeline contract with the Taliban, hired former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, former Reagan State Department Advisor on Afghanistan during the Afghan-Soviet War, was also brought on as a consultant for a group hired by Unocal. He would later become US envoy to Afghanistan after the US invasion in 2001.[11]

Enron in Afghanistan

In December of 1998, Unocal announced that it quit its Afghan pipeline project.[12] Between 1996 and 2001, Enron bosses had given millions of dollars in bribes to Taliban officials to secure contracts for building pipelines. After Unocal withdrew from the deal, Enron continued to pressure the Taliban to continue with a pipeline. In 1996, neighboring Uzbekistan signed a deal with Enron to develop Uzbek natural gas fields.[13] On December 2, 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy.

In 1997, Halliburton, with Dick Cheney as its CEO, secured a contract in Turkmenistan for exploration and drilling in the Caspian Sea basin.[14]

The Agreement Hits a Dead End

Unocal pulled out of the deal as a result of Afghanistan’s Taliban government not being fully recognized internationally as the legitimate Afghan government, and therefore, the pipeline project could not receive funding from international financial institutions like the World Bank. Unocal also pulled out as a result of the continual conflict raging in Afghanistan between various groups.[15]

What got in the way?

Not securing stability for a pipeline may have been the Taliban’s greatest downfall. Couple that with the Taliban’s unprecedented success in reducing opium production in Afghanistan from 3300 tons in 2000 to 185 tons in 2001.[16] British and American intelligence links to the lucrative international opium and heroin trade, particularly in Afghanistan, are well established.[17] Concurrently, US and British intelligence connections to the oil industry are also well established, for example, the extensive ties between British Petroleum and MI6,[18] and Enron’s reported use of CIA contacts to try to secure Caspian contracts.[19] It has also been well established that US oil companies in Central Asia not only have extensive ties to Western intelligence, but also to Al-Qaeda.  US intelligence funds and directs Al-Qaeda groups (or at least, leadership) in areas of great interest to US oil companies in order to facilitate US forces being deployed to create a US sphere of influence in oil rich areas.[20]

The Taliban, in not securing stability for a pipeline and in greatly reducing the lucrative and highly profitable opium market in Afghanistan, which benefits US banks and Wall Street, may have secured their fate.

Pre-9/11 Plan for Invasion

Oil Wars

In 2003, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a secret 1999 Pentagon document confirmed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense, which stated that, “Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged.”[21]

The Oil Administration

In January of 2001, the Bush Presidency came to be. George Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, had extensive ties to the Carlyle Group, which in turn had extensive ties to the bin Laden family and the oil and arms industry.[22] Dick Cheney, the Vice President, just retired from the world’s largest oil services company, Halliburton, from which he still received a paycheck while in office.[23] Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State, was previously on the board of Chevron and had an oil tanker named after her upon her depature for the White House.[24] Chevron later took over Unocal Corporation.

Plans for Afghan War

Even before Bush’s presidency, in December of 2000, the Washington Post reported on how the US was beginning to ally itself with Russian authorities in “calling for military action against Afghanistan.”[25] In March of 2001 it was reported that India has joined the US, Russia and Iran in an effort to militarily replace the Afghan Taliban government. Further, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were to be used as bases to launch incursions into Afghanistan against the Taliban.[26] In the Spring of 2001, the US military envisaged and war gamed the entire scenario of a US attack on Afghanistan, which became the operational plan for the war.[27]

War by Mid-October

In the summer of 2001, the Taliban were leaked information from top secret meetings that the Bush regime was planning to launch a military operation against the Taliban in July to replace the government. A US military contingency plan existed on paper to attack Afghanistan from the north by the end of the summer.[28]

A former Pakistani diplomat told the BBC that the US was planning military action against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban before the 9/11 attacks. Niaz Naik, former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, “was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.” The invasion took place on October 7, 2001. Naik was told of this information at a secretive UN-sponsored meeting which took place in Berlin in July 2001, with officials from the US, Russia, and many Central Asian countries. He also stated that the US would launch the operation from their bases in Tajikistan, “where American advisers were already in place.”[29]

Plans on Paper and on the President’s Desk

MSNBC reported in 2002 that, “President Bush was expected to sign detailed plans for a worldwide war against al-Qaida two days before Sept. 11,” and that, “The plan dealt with all aspects of a war against al-Qaida, ranging from diplomatic initiatives to military operations in Afghanistan.” It outlined “essentially the same” war plan as was put into action following the 9/11 attacks. The National Security document was also submitted to Condoleezza Rice prior to the attacks, and included plans to attack the Taliban and remove them from power in Afghanistan.[30]

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that, “To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.”[31]


The war on Afghanistan was launched on October 7, 2001. An operation of this size could not be planned and executed within three weeks, as we are led to believe. The plans and preparations were in place in the year leading up to the invasion.  The events of 9/11 merely provided the trigger point to execute them.

The result of this war on Afghanistan is that Afghanistan’s new President is Hamid Karzai, a former Unocal adviser, opium production reaches record level every single year,[32] and as of April 2008, a US-sponsored pipeline agreement was signed with Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and may have Canadian forces in Afghanistan guarding the pipeline route.[33]

Mission Accomplished.

Andrew G. Marshall is a contributor to


[1]    ‘’Le Nouvel Observateur’ (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76:

[2]    Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:

[3]    Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007, pages 122-123

[4]    Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:

[5]    Robert Scheer, Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban. The Nation: June 4, 2001:

[6]    BBC, Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline. BBC World: December 4, 1997:

[7]    Thomson Financial, Amoco Argentina-Oil Assets acquires Bridas Corp-South American Oil from Bridas Corp. Thomson Financial Mergers and Acquisitions: November 17, 1997:

[8]    BBC, Afghan Pipeline Deal Close. BBC World: November 3, 1997:

[9]    BBC, Taleban says it’s ready to sign Turkmen pipeline deal. BBC News: January 4, 1998:

[10]    Brian Becker, Where have all the cold warriors gone? U.S. oil giants drain Azerbaijan. Workers World: August 21, 1997:

[11]    Mary Pat Flaherty, David B. Ottaway and James V. Grimaldi, How Afghanistan Went Unlisted as Terrorist Sponsor. The Washington Post: November 5, 2001:

[12]    Steven Levine, Unocal Quits Afghanistan Pipeline Project. The New York Times: December 5, 1998:

[13]    History Commons, 1996-September 11, 2001: Enron Gives Taliban Millions in Bribes in Effort to Get Afghan Pipeline Built.

[14]    Halliburton, Halliburton Alliance Awarded Integrated Service Contract Offshore Caspian Sea In Turkmenistan. 1997 Press Releases: October 27, 1997:

[15]    Dale Allen Pfeiffer, The Forging of ‘Pipelineistan’. From the Wilderness: 2002:

[16]    Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, 2nd ed. Center for Research on Globalization: Québec, 2005: Page 227

[17]    Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:

[18]    Andrew G. Marshall, The Georgian War. Geopolitical Monitor: August 30, 2008:

[19]    History Commons, 1996-September 11, 2001: Enron Gives Taliban Millions in Bribes in Effort to Get Afghan Pipeline Built.

[20]    Peter Dale Scott, Al Qaeda, U.S. Oil Companies, and Central Asia. Global Research: July 30, 2005:

[21]    Ritt Goldstein, Oil wars Pentagon’s policy since 1999. Sydney Morning Herald: May 20, 2003:

[22]    Michael C. Ruppert, The Best Enemies Money Can Buy. From the Wilderness: 2001:

[23]    CNN, Cheney may still have Halliburton ties. CNN: September 25, 2003:

[24]    Carla Marinucci, Critics Knock Naming Oil Tanker Condoleezza. San Francisco Chronicle: April 5, 2001:

[25]    S. Frederick Starr, Afghanistan Land Mine. The Washington Post: December 19, 2000:

[26]    Rahul Bedi, India joins anti-Taliban coalition. Jane’s Security News: March 15, 2001:

[27]    SMH, Defence redefined means securing cheap energy. Sydney Morning Herald: December 26, 2002:

[28]    David Leigh, Attack and counter-attack. The Guardian: September 26, 2001:,4273,4264545,00.html

[29]    George Arney, US ‘planned attack on Taleban’. BBC News: September 18, 2001:

[30]    Jim Miklaszewski and Alex Johnson, U.S. sought attack on al-Qaida. MSNBC: May 16, 2002:

[31]    Michael Meacher, This War on Terrorism is Bogus. The Guardian: September 6, 2003:

[32]    Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:

[33]    CCPA, Afghanistan gas pipeline could impact Canada’s role in Afghanistan: report. Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives: June 19, 2008:

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