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Article : The Taliban: Exporting Extremism



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Other Articles By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore

The Taliban: Exporting Extremism
By Ahmed Rashid

REWRITING THE RULES OF THE GREAT GAME

"Talibanization," the destabilizing export of Afghan-style radical Islam,
may be a new term in the American political lexicon. But in Central and
South Asia, where the repercussions of the super strict Taliban rule of
Afghanistan have been widely felt, the word has become all too familiar. As
political fragmentation, economic meltdown, ethnic and sectarian warfare,
and Islamic fundamentalism tighten their grip on Pakistan and much of the
rest of the region, the dangerous behavior of Afghanistan's new leaders is
no longer a local affair.
More and more, chaos in Afghanistan is seeping through its porous borders.
The ongoing civil war has polarized the region, with Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia backing the Taliban regime while Iran, Russia, India, and four former
Soviet Central Asian republics support opposition Northern Alliance. The
confrontation is producing enormous economic disruption throughout the area,
as the afghan warlord's dependence on smuggling and drug trafficking grows
insatiable.
Into the political vacuum left by 20 years of war and the collapse of stable
government has marched a new generation of violent fundamentalists, nurtured
and inspired by Tailbone's unique Islamist model. Thousands of foreign
radicals now fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan are determined to
someday overthrow their own regimes and carry out Taliban-style Islamist
revolutions in their homelands. For example, Chechnya-based militants who
took over parts of Dagestan in July included in their ranks Arabs, Afghans,
and Pakistanis, most of who had fought in Afghanistan. So had the 800 Uzbek
and Tajik gunmen who took over parts of Southern Kyrgyzstan in August. The
state breakdown in Afghanistan offers militants from Pakistan, Iran, the
Central Asian republics, and China's predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province
a tempting package deal: sanctuary and financial support through smuggling.
Meanwhile, Washington's sole response so far has been its single-minded
obsession with bringing to justice Saudi-born terrorist Usama bin
Ladin-hardly a comprehensive policy for dealing with this increasingly
volatile part of the world.
For Western nations to presume that they can safely exploit the vast oil and
gas riches of the Central Asia without first helping bring peace to
Afghanistan is unrealistic to the extreme. A new Great game is being played
in the region. At stake, however, are no longer questions of mere political
influence or who gets to build oil and gas pipelining where. These issues
will be irrelevant unless the West figures out how to stop the spreading
conflagration in Afghanistan-and fast.
THE STUDENTS WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
For Afghanistan to be at the center of both dialogue and conflict between
civilizations is nothing new. The country's location at the crossroads
between Iran, Central Asia, the Arabian Sea, and India has given its
mountain passes a strategic significance for centuries. At certain times,
Afghanistan has acted as a buffer between competing empires and ideologies;
at others it has served as a corridor through which armies marched. Repeated
efforts to colonize the country, most recently by the British and the
Soviets, have failed and in the process given the Afghans a fierce sense of
Independence and pride.
The United States, patron of the Afghan rebellion against the Soviet
invaders, walked away after the Soviet Union withdrew its last troops in
1989. The Afghans, once on the frontline of the Cold War, were left with a
devastated country. One million had dies during the ten-year occupation. But
only three years latter, when Kabul fell to the mujahideen who had fought
off the Soviets, gory civil war again gripped the country, fueled by
neighboring countries trying to carve out areas of influence. The civil war
has pitted the majority Pushtun population in the south and east against the
ethnic minorities of the north - Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, and Turkmen.
The predominately Pushtun Taliban emerged in late 1994 as a messianic
movement made up of Taliban (literally, students) from Islamic madrasahs
(seminaries) who were living as refugees in Pakistan. They vowed to bring
peace to Afghanistan, establish law and order, disarm the population, and
impose sharia (Islamic law). Welcomed by a war -weary Pushtun population,
the Taliban were at first remarkably successful and popular. Until they
captured Kabul in 1996 they expressed no desire to rule the country. But
ever since then-abetted by their Pakistani and Saudi backers and inspired by
ideological mentors such as bin Ladin-the Taliban have committed themselves
to conquering the entire country and more.
In 1998, the Taliban overran much of northern Afghanistan, pushing the
Northern Alliance (made up of non-Pushtun minorities) into a thin sliver of
territory in the Northeast. This victory further polarized the region, as
Iran threatened to invade and accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.
The nature of the Taliban -who they are and what they represent-has been
difficult for outsiders to understand because of the excessive secrecy that
surrounds their leaders and political structure. The Taliban do not issue
policy statements or hold regular press conferences. There is no Taliban
manifesto. Because of the ban on photography and television, Afghans do not
even know what their new leaders look like. The one-eyed Taliban religious
leader, Mullah Muhammad Umar, does not meet with non-Muslims and so remains
a mystery.
Historically, Afghanistan was a deeply conservative Muslim country where
sharia, as interpreted by Afghan tribal custom, prevailed for centuries. But
the Islam traditionally practiced in Afghanistan was also immensely
tolerant-of other Muslim sects, other religions and different lifestyles.
Until 1992, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jews all played a significant role in the
country's bazaar economy and sectarianism was not an issue.
Since 1992, however, the bloody civil war has destroyed this tolerance,
setting sects and ethnic groups against one another in a way formerly
unimaginable. The once-unifying factor of Islam has become a lethal weapon
in the hands of extremists and a force for division and fragmentation.
Ninety percent of Afghans are Sunni Muslims, although Shiites predominate
among the Hazaras and some Tajik clans settled in central Afghanistan.
Traditional Islam in Afghanistan believed in minimum government with as
little state interference as possible. Another key factor contributing to
Afghan tolerance was the enormous popularity of Sufism, a mystical and
undogmatic branch of Islam.
Before the Taliban arrived, none of Islam's extreme orthodox sects-such as
the conservative Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia-had ever found a home in
Afghanistan. But the Taliban emerged at a critical juncture, as the country
was fractured by warlords, Pushtun hegemony dissipated, and an ideological
vacuum grew within Islamist movement. The Taliban began as reformers,
following a wellworn tradition in Muslim history based on the familiar
notion of jihad-holy war against infidels. Jihad, however does not sanction
killing of fellow Muslims on the basis of ethnicity or sect. Yet the Taliban
has used it to do just that. This appalls non-Pushtuns who accuse the
Taliban of using jihad as a cover to exterminate them.
The Taliban's anomalous interpretation of Islam emerged from an extreme and
perverse interpretation of Deobandism, preached by Pakistani mullahs
(clerics) in Afghan refugee camps. Deobandism, a branch of Sunni Islam,
arose in British India as a reform movement that aimed to regenerate Muslim
society as it struggled to live within the confines of a colonized state.
The Deobandis sought to harmonize classical Islamic texts with current
realities-an aim Taliban has ignored.
Early on, a few Deobandi Madrasahs were established in Afghanistan, but they
were not hugely popular. They were more successful in Pakistan, however.
Pakistani Deobandis set up a political party, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam
(JUI), with a strong anti-American stance.
During the war against the Soviets, the few Deobandi Afghan groups that then
existed were ignored. Across the border, however, the JUI used the war to
set up hundreds of madrasahs in Pakistan's Pushtun belt, offering Afghan
refugees and young Pakistanis free education, food, shelter, and military
training. These Deobandi madrasahs, however, were run by barely literate
mullahs untutored in the original reformist Deobandi agenda. Saudi funds and
scholarships brought them closer to ultraconservative Wahhabism.
Still, the JUI remained politically isolated until Pakistan's 1993
elections, when it allied itself with the victorious Prime Minister Benazir
Bhutto, becoming a part of her ruling coalition. For the first time the JUI
gained access to the corridors of power, establishing close links with the
army, Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and the interior Ministry. In
1996 the Taliban handed control of training camps in Afghanistan over to JUI
factions, thus enhancing their image among the new generation of Pakistani
and Arab militants who studied there.
The JUI and its many breakaway factions have become the main recruiters of
Pakistani and foreign students to fight for the Taliban. Between 1994 and
1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in
Afghanistan. These battle hardened militants now gravely threaten Pakistan's
own stability, and the support the Taliban receives from Pakistan's Deobandi
netwwork, quite separate from the military supplies it gets from the
government, ensures even greater Taliban penetration into Pakistani society.
The joint venture between the Taliban and the JUI, funded by Saudi Wahhabis
and supported by the Pakistani ISI, has become an ever-expanding enterprise,
seeking new markets in Central Asia and beyond. The Taliban may have debased
Deobandi traditions-but in doing so they have promoted a new, radical model
for Islamist revolution. Unlike their predecessors, the Taliban have little
knowledge of Islamic and Afghan history, of sharia or the Quran. Their
exposure to the radical Islamic debate around the world is minimal; indeed,
they are so rigid in their beliefs that they admit no discussion.
THE NEXT TO FALL: PAKISTAN AND KASHMIR
The Taliban's purist ideology and the Pakistani recruits it has nurtured
have had immense cross-border repercussions in Pakistan. An already fragile
nation in the midst of an identity crisis, economic meltdown, ethnic and
sectarian division, and suffering under a rapacious ruling elite unable to
provide good governance, Pakistan could easily be submerged by a new
Islamist wave-one led not by established, more mature Islamist parties but
by neo-Taliban groups.
By 1998, such neo-Taliban parties had become a major influence in the
Pakistani provinces of Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province. In
these regions, they had begun banning television and videos, imposing sharia
punishments such as stoning and amputation, assassinating Pakistani Shiites,
and forcing women to adopt the restrictive Taliban dress code. Their
influence is now starting to creep outside the Pushtun belt to Punjab and
Sind. Of the 6,000-8,000 Pakistani militants who joined the Taliban for
their July 1999 offensive against the Northern Alliance, the majority were,
for the first time, not Pushtuns but Punjabis. The Pakistani government's
support for the Taliban is thus coming back to haunt it, even as Pakistan's
leaders remain oblivious of the danger and continue their support.
The contradictions in Pakistan's Afghan policy have become even more acute
due to the support given to the Taliban by two extremist JUI splinter
groups, the Sipah-Sahaba Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Both groups have
killed hundreds of Pakistani Shiites and allegedly twice tried to
assassinate Prime-minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. When Sharif responded with
a crackdown against them in Punjab, their leaders took refuge in Kabul and
came under Taliban protection-the same Taliban backed by Islamabad.
Pakistan believes that a Taliban -controlled Afghanistan will be an ally and
give its army strategic depth in its ongoing conflict with India. In
particular, Islamabad considers support for the Taliban necessary because of
its dispute with India over Kashmir. The Taliban, Deobandi groups in
Pakistan, and bin Ladin's terrorist network all give major support to
Kashmiri insurgents resisting New Delhi's control of Indian Kashmir.
Islamabad therefore cannot drop its support for them without affecting the
Kashmir cause it espouses.
Yet the increasing Islamicization of the Kashmiri struggle has undermined
both the Kashmiri's own demand for self determination from India and
Pakistan's bid to win international mediation of the dispute. The Kashmiri
independence movement is loosing world sympathy as more and more Pakistani
and Arab recruits join the fight and turn it into a Taliban jihad. The
longer this goes on, the less chance there will be that the territorial
dispute will ever be peacefully resolved. Day by day, the danger grows for
Pakistan, Kashmir, and India itself.
DOMINOES: CENTRAL ASIA, IRAN, AND CHINA
WITH THEIR POROUS BORDERS, weak security apparatuses, and crisis-torn
economies, the five former Soviet Central Asian republics-Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan-have every reason to
fear the turmoil emanating from Afghanistan. The threats include the flow of
drugs and weapons and a possible flood of refugees if the Northern Alliance
is defeated.
But the central Asia's leaders, who have not changed since the Soviet era,
are growing increasingly authoritarian. Their rigged elections and
restrictions on political parties have undermined democratic alternatives,
leaving underground Islamist movements as the only political opposition.
Widespread poverty and unemployment provide a fertile recruiting base for
young militants.
During the recent Afghan civil war, the newly independent Central Asian
states supported their ethnic kin in northern Afghanistan, who provide a
buffer against the spread of Pushtun fundamentalism. That buffer has now
been virtually eliminated. The Taliban control Afghan territory bordering
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Yet apart from Turkmenistan, which
has declared itself neutral in the Afghan conflict, these states continue to
support the weakened Northern Alliance. Ahmad Shah Masud, the alliance's
ethnic Tajik military commander, keeps a major re-supply base in Southern
Tajikistan, where he receives arms from Russia and Iran.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic
movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), fled to Afghanistan. Yuldashev is allegedly
one of the masterminds behind the assassination attempt against Uzbek
president Islam A. Karimov in February, when six bombs in Tashkent killed 16
people and wounded 128. In may, the Taliban allowed Yuldashev to set up a
military training camp in northern Afghanistan, just a few miles from the
border. Multiple sources in the region say he is training several hundred
Islamist militants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrhyzstan, as well as
Uighurs from Xinjiang province in China.
Taliban officials deny helping the IMU. Yet in June, the Taliban rejected a
request to extradite Yuldashev to Uzbekistan. And in late August, Juma
Nammangani, another IMU leader, entered southern Kyrgyzstan with some 800
militants, seized villages and hostages, and threatened to invade
Uzbekistan. For Central Asians, the war in Afghanistan is now truly coming
home.
Although the IMU are not Deobandis, they are influenced by Wahhabism and
have tried to impose the Taliban code in their areas of influence. Although
Uzbeks have historically been suspicious of the Pushtuns, the Taliban offer
the IMU a sanctuary from Karimov's crackdown, weapons, and the means to
finance themselves through the drug trade.
Iran is also threatened by the Taliban. The Shiite regime in Tehran has long
opposed Pushtun fundamentalism because it is backed by a regional
rival-Pakistan---and because it is Sunni-dominated. Moreover, the Taliban
are virulently and violently anti-Shiite. During the Afghan war against the
Soviets, the Iranians backed the Shiite Hazaras. They have now extended
military support to all non-Pushtun groups in the Northern Alliance. Matters
came to a head in late 1998, when the Taliban executed 11 Iranian diplomats
in Mazari-I-Sharif. Iran threatened to invade Afghanistan, and the war was
narrowly avoided.
The Taliban now harbor various Iranian dissidents. They have given sanctuary
to the small Ahle-e-Sunnah Wal Jamaat, made up of Sunni Iranians opposed to
the Tehran regime. And the leaders of the principal Iranian opposition
group, the Iraq-based Mujahideen-e-Khalq, frequently visit Kandhar and have
asked the Taliban for an operational base.
China, too has been affected by the ascendance of the Taliban. Beijing
shunned the civil war in Afghanistan until February 1999, when it first made
overtures to the Taliban in an attempt to stem the tide of Afghan heroin
flooding Xinjiang. The heroin was helping fund Islamist and nationalist
opposition to Beijing among the Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups.
Uighur militants have trained and fought with the Afghan mujahideen since
1986, and Chinese officials say the arms and explosives the rebels have used
against Chinese security forces come from Afghanistan. Taliban officials
have assured China that they are not harboring fugitive Uighurs, but some
Uihgur militants are known to be involved with Yuldashev and with bin
Ladin-if not the Taliban itself.
The Taliban's reasons for this regional adventurism are a mixture of
naivete, frustration, and ideology. At one level, the Taliban insist that
Afghan tribal tradition obliges them to give sanctuary to guests such as
Uighur rebels or bin Ladin. But the Taliban are also furious with Iran and
Uzbekistan for their military support of the Northern Alliance. And Kabul is
deeply frustrated with its rejection by the international community and the
Muslim world, which has refused to recognize the Taliban government. By
harboring dissidents, Afghanistan gets its revenge.
"Our prestige is spreading across the region because we have truly
implemented Islam, and this makes the Americans and some neighbors very
nervous,: says Afghan Information Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. That is
putting it lightly. As militants from around the world flock to it for
sanctuary, Kabul only increases its support for the wave of Talibanization
it hopes to unleash on the region and beyond.
BLOWBACK
With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI, who wanted to
turn the Afghan jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against
the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries
joined Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more
came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign
Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad.
The camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan where they trained became virtual
universities for promoting pan-Islamic radicalism in Algeria, Egypt, Yemen,
Sudan, Jordan, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. Americans woke to the danger
only in 1993, when Afghan-trained Arab militants blew up the World Trade
Center in New York, killing six people and injuring 1,000. The bombers
believed that, just as Afghanistan had defeated one super power-the Soviet
Union-they would defeat a second.
One of the main recruiters of Arab militants for the Afghan jihad was bin
Ladin. As the richest and highest ranking Saudi to participate in the
struggle, he was heavily patronized by the ISI and Saudi intelligence. Bin
Ladin left Afghanistan in 1990 but returned in May 1996. Soon he turned on
his former patrons and issued his first "Declaration of jihad" against the
Saudi royal family and the Americans, whom he accused of occupying his
homeland.
Striking up a friendship with Umar, the Taliban chief, bin Laden moved to
Umar's base in Kandhar in early 1997. Bin Ladin reunited and rearmed the
Arab militants still remaining in Afghanistan after the war against the
Soviets, creating the "055" brigade. The Taliban had no contacts with Arab
Afghans or pan-Islamic ideology until then. But Umar was quickly influenced
by his new friend and became increasingly vociferous in his attacks on
Americans, the United Nations, and the Saudis and other pro-Western Muslim
regimes. Recent Taliban statements reflect bin Ladin-style outrage defiance,
and pan-islamism that the Taliban had never used before his arrival.
After the august 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the
United States accused bin Ladin of financing terrorist camps in Somalia,
Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, and Afghanistan. A few days later, America fired
cruise missiles at bin Ladin's camps in eastern Afghanistan, killing nearly
20 militants but leaving his network unharmed. Washington demanded bin
Ladin's extradition; the Taliban refused to comply.
Bin Ladin's notoriety has created major problems for Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia-two key American allies in the region who have recognized the Taliban
government. Pakistan is reluctant to help the United States capture bin
Ladin; the Saudi terrorist gives valuable help to the Kashmiris and the JUI
would protest if Islamabad was seen to do Washington's bidding. Already in
July the JUI issued death threats to all Americans in Pakistan, to be
carried out if bin Ladin is extradited to the United States.
The Saudi dilemma is even worse. Saudi Arabia has helped finance the Taliban
and has provided crucial military support for their offensives. But this all
ended after the US embassy bombings in Africa. The Saudis suspended
diplomatic relations with the Taliban and ostensibly ceased all aid,
although they did not withdraw diplomatic recognition and private donations
continue to flow. Like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia would like to leave bin Ladin
in Afghanistan. His arrest and trial in the United States could be highly
embarrassing, exposing his continuing relationship with sympathetic members
of the ruling elite's and intelligence services of both countries.
FLOWER POWER
AROUND KANDAHAR , poppy fields stretch as far as the horizon. In Heart, the
Taliban have set up model farms where the farmers learn the best methods of
heroin cultivation. The UN Drug Control Program reports that Afghanistan
produced 4,600 metric tons of opium in 1999-twice as much as in the previous
year. Afghanistan now produces three times more opium than the rest of the
world put together.
The Taliban collect a 20 percent tax from opium dealers and
transporters-money that goes straight to the Taliban war chest. The Northern
Alliance imposes a similar tax on opium shipments crossing into Uzbekistan
and Tajikistan. Drug dealers operate the only banking system in the
country-offering farmers' credit in advance of their poppy crop. This
criminalized economy has weakened states throughout the region.
Whereas Afghan opium was exported to the West through Pakistan in the 1980s,
there are now multiple export routes through Iran, the Persian Gulf States,
and Central Asia. As these routes expand, so do the beneficiaries. U.S.
officials claim that, with most of his bank accounts frozen, bin Ladin now
finances his operations through opium. Chinese officials report that drug
smuggling from Afghanistan is similarly funding the Uighur opposition.
Uzbekistan's government has drawn a direct drug-smuggling link between
Afghanistan and the Ferghana Valley, where the IMU is based. The civil war
in Tajikistan was partly fueled by Afghan drugs, and Pakistanis economy has
been crippled by them. Furthermore, according to governments in the region,
heroin addiction is growing : there are now five million addicts in
Pakistan, three million in Iran, and one million in China, largely in
Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, the smuggling of consumer goods, fuel, and foodstuffs through
Afghanistan is wreaking further havoc. The contraband trade developed in the
1950's, when Pakistan granted landlocked Afghanistan the right to import
duty-free goods through the port of Karachi under the Afghan Transit Trade
Agreement (ATTA). Many of these imported goods were resold in Pakistani
bazaars, but with opening of central Asia and Iran and the arrival of the
Talibanin 1994, this trade has expanded enormously.
Today Afghan and Pakistani truckers smuggle goods across a huge swath of
territory that includes Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Iran, and
Pakistan. ATTA was worth only $50 million in the 1980's, but it increased to
$128 million in 1992-93 and then jumped to $266 million in 1994-95-the first
year of Taliban conquests. A 1999 World Bank study estimates that the
smuggling trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan alone amounted to $2.5
billion in 1997, equivalent to more than half of Afghanistan's estimated
GDP. Add to that the smuggling to and from the rest of the regi0on, and the
total rises to $5 billion.
This smuggling has crippled local industry in all the affected states; local
factories cannot compete with smuggled, foreign-made, duty free consumer
goods. The smuggling also creates huge losses in customs revenue and sales
taxes. According to Pakistan's Central Board of Revenue, Pakistan's losses
in 1998 amounted to 30 percent of the government's total revenue of $6
billion. The Taliban tax on the smuggling trade was its second -largest
source of income after drugs.
New transport and smuggling mafias have developed in Turkmenistan,
Uzvekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. They are ignored by their governments, due
to a web of corruption that benefits everyone from border guards to cabinet
ministers. Not surprisingly, all these transport mafias are keen supporters
and major founders of the Taliban. And this illegal economy is only
expanding, since Afghanistan's formal one remains nonexistent. The Afghan
infrastructure is devastated, health care and education are virtually
absent, and abject poverty is rampant. Afghanistan today has 6 working
factories, compared to 220 in 1979. Fighting and smuggling offer the only
employment.
AND THE WEST SLEEPS ON
After PROVIDING billions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition to the
mujahideen, the United States abandoned Afghanistan once Soviet troops
withdrew. America gave its allies in the region, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,
a free hand to direct ensuing Afghan civil war.
After the end of the Cold war, Washington never developed a new strategic
framework for the area. The United States dealt with issues as they came up
in a haphazard, piecemeal fashion, pursuing constantly changing single-issue
agendas that were driven more by domestic American politics than the goal of
ending the civil war. Afghanistan's neighbors took note of U.S. reluctance
to get involved and stepped up arms supplies to their Afghan proxies.
What the United states needed and still needs to do is to put serious
pressure on neighboring states to halt the supply of arms into afghanistan,
beginning with local U.S. allies such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and
Uzbekistan. That may convince the Iran and Russia to do the same. If the
flow of weapons ceases and drug exports are curtailed by united regional
resolve, the afghan warlords will see their main sources of support dry up
and may then be forced to negotiate and end to the war.
This is the track that the UN mediator for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, has
pursued for the past two years. His lack of success has been directly
related to the lack of Western pressure on neighboring states to end their
interference. Most Afghan civilians still believe that Americans hold the
key to ending foreign interference. Despite Washington's record, there is
still enormous goodwill for America among ordinary Afghans. But until the
United Sates demonstrates it has the determination to mobilize an
international effort for ending outside interference, Afghanistan's chaos
will only spread. Terrorism will develop new adherents there. The drug trade
will expand. There are costs that no country-not Afghanistan, the United
States, its allies, China, or Iran-can hope to bear.
Nov-Dec 1999 issue of Foreign affairs. Mr. Ahmed Rashid has covered the war
in Afghanistan for 20 years. He is Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia
Correspondent for the "Far Eastern Economic Review" and author of "The
Resurgence of Central Asia:



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