When Afghanistan was beginning its formation as a nation in the 1700s, two of that era’s major world powers were advancing toward Afghanistan: Britain westward from India and Russia moving eastward. “England was busy conquering India between 1757 and 1857, Visalli writes, “and Russia was spreading its control east, and was on Afghanistan’s border by 1828.” One of the most lucrative products that England exported from its new colony, India, was opium and by 1770 Britain had a monopoly on opium production in India and saw to it that cultivation spread into Afghanistan as well (the boundary between the two was ill-defined until 1893). In 1859, England took control of all Afghan territory ...view middle of the document...
Neither Britain nor Pakistan ever gained full control of the Northwest Provinces but the Provinces became the source of the Islamic radicalism that spawned both Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Today (2009- 2012/2013 -) the United States fires most of its drone missiles into the Northwest Provinces, and continues to fuel antipathy that originated with Britain’s “drawing of the Durand Line”, breaking up a country
“One of the root causes of the enduring animosity between Afghanistan and Pakistan was the seemingly permanent loss of Afghan lands taken by the British, including Baluchistan (with its access to the sea), and the Northwest Territories to Pakistan when that country was created by Britain in 1947. … In addition to institutionalizing the artificial boundary created in 1893, Britain’s parting act hobbled the Afghan economy, permanently denying Afghanistan its former territory over the Hindu Kush with access to the sea.”
The brutal disabling of Afghanistan does not end with Britain; another of its former colonies, the United States of America, enters the theater on a pretext stage right. U.S. involvement in earnest in Afghanistan begins as World War II ending. In 1945, “Aid”-to-Afghanistan projects begin; in 1950 comes a “top-secret U.S. policy document ‘National Security Directive 68’ warning of an alleged Soviet Union ‘design for world domination.’” In his memoirs, “Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev writes
‘It was clear to us that the Americans were penetrating Afghanistan with the obvious purpose of setting up a military base.’
The situation on the ground, Visalli says, was that the United States in 1956 had built “a fairly useless International Airport in Kandahar that was widely seen as a refueling base for U.S. bombers.” However, by the early 1970s the United States “had decided that the best way counter the Soviet’s ‘design for world domination’ was to support the strict Islamists in Afghanistan, who were opposed to the progressive reforms of the Afghan government.” Looking back from the twenty-first century, regime change using any means and sources was always the violent tactic on the table. “In August 1979,” Visalli writes, “a classified State Department Report stated: ‘the United States’ larger interests …would be served by the demise of the current Afghan regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.’” The United States and “fundamentalist Islamists opposed to the Afghan government” joined forces. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 “based largely on...