Afghan Mujahideen and Reagan

One learns something new everyday, sometimes from weblogs. Here’s an excerpt from Juan Cole about Reagan’s role in support of the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the communist Afghan government and the Soviets in the 1980s.

In fact, of course, Ronald Reagan bears substantial responsibility for September 11. He and his administration were so gung ho to roll back Communism that they funneled billions of dollars to scruffy far rightwing radical Muslim mujahidin in Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Orrin Hatch even flew to Beijing for Reagan in 1985 to ask the Chinese to pressure Pakistan to allow the US to provide the Mujahidin with ever more sophisticated weaponry. Even the Pakistani military had initially balked at this crazy idea, knowing who the Gulbuddin Hikmatyars and Usama Bin Ladens really were (unlike clueless Reagan, who called them freedom fighters). But the US twisted the Pakistanis’ arms, and they gave in. Likewise, Reagan forced the timid Saudis to match US contributions to the Mujahidin. (And then after Sept. 11 the former Reagan officials who had twisted the arms of the Saudis, like Richard Perle, turned around and blamed Riyadh for spreading radical Muslim ideas!!) It was the CIA that first established terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to hit the leftist government in Kabul. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the camps used by al-Qaeda had been built originally by the Reagan administration.

I didn’t know that the US government was more enthusiastic about the Mujahideen than Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

The Christian Coalition and other rightwing religious groups supporting Reagan even had a “biblical checklist” by which they wanted all senators and congressmen to be judged. And one of the items in the “biblical checklist” was “support for the Afghan ‘freedom fighters.’ The rightwing Christians were saying in the 1980s that if you didn’t support al-Qaeda and its Mujahidin allies, you didn’t deserve to be in Congress!

Very interesting.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. I think a lot of the history of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan gets mixed up, and though the specifics don’t change the aftermath, they’re worth noting.

    It’s always been my understanding that there were two intentionally separate efforts to support resistance to the Soviet occupation. The US, largely via the CIA (and through Pakistan), provided material support for Afghan freedom fighters. Saudi Arabia agreed to provide support for non-Afghan resistance, the many men from many countries who came for jihad against the Soviets. Obviously, those who answered a call for jihad didn’t do it because of a fatwah from Ronald Reagan. It ought to be easy enough to track down just who did call for believers to go fight in Afghanistan in the ‘80’s.

    Of course, those two efforts intermingled due to the “common cause.” And the distinction in no way excuses the aftermath, when all support (from all sources) dried up after the Soviets pulled out, leaving a vacuum that eventually created the Taliban. And a home for Al Qaeda.

  2. PhotoDude: I excerpted more from Juan Cole to give some context, but what I was surprised about was Hatch flying to Beijing to ask the Chinese to pressure Pakistan. According to Cole, this happened in 1985 which is pretty late in the game for the Mujahideen-Soviet Afghan war. I tink I’ll go back and make that part bold.

    BTW, the US did support a number of Islamist leaders over the years in all kinds of places because they were the most reliably anti-communist.

  3. I thought it went down like this:

    Saudis: Hey Reagan administration, you know how you’re arming Islamist radicals,er mujahadin in Afghanistan, well we could probably get a lot more to come in from all over the Muslim world and they’ll fight really hard. It’ll be good PR for us, and they’ll help you beat the Russians. What do you think?

    Reagan Adm: Sounds good to me.

    Is that not what happened?

  4. Looking for a photo of Reagan in 1985 with Afghan Mugahideen, with Reagan pointing at the men & saying ‘These are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.’ Can’t yet find the photo. Any help??? Mike

  5. For GOD sake change the politics and statistics.every thing is not a war options is the better plan to give any one .not 1 2 3 or 5 6 7 but 1000 options.try it,that,s the best idea,s to help every one may be some will need me the thing is options.give every one a good up ur doors,give them a better chance to provide every thing they want,talk to them and ask for help.i think so this is the better idea,s.

  6. politics,producers,publishers,peoples,and mostly passing by,these are all includes that what the world wants from each others.thus the world is under the circumstances of of all different thinking and what else the person and the public’s links to any one in any matters.THE predictions,who wants to give and why.and why any one giving any predictions to any one.take film producers,think the way the politics create different tactics.publishers,what ever he or she got in there minds they wrote s all rubbish.and people well some are very good and some are educated back wards.last 20 years the world was different but now every one who got little amount to spend some were in living good.he and she spend in different bogus politics to creates UN pridictables point of views. try to show that we are the people and we can do this and do that,what nonsense.what is the matter to you all grown up now you are not a kid and stop misbehave and don,t interfere in some one,s privacy.

  7. @Wes
    if some one says that i am bad from outside he is good from inside its mean what.the problems,the creators,the killers,the humbles,well it depend.but not all of them.predictions are all lies values,who says what and what for,i am not saying why,but for what,ha ha ha ha ha lol,,,,,,what a joke he he he.

Comments are closed.