Carter secretly started Afgan war in 1979

Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski Le Nouvel Observateur (France), Jan
15-21, 1998, p. 76*

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs
["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid
the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention.
In this period you were the national security adviser to President
Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. 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.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But
perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to
provoke it?

B: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but
we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they
intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in
Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of
truth. You don't regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the
effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to
regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I
wrote to President
Carter: 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.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [intégrisme],
having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: 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?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and
repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to
Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a
rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading
religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in
common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan
militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing
more than what unites the Christian countries.

* There are at least two editions of this magazine; with the perhaps
sole exception of the Library of Congress, the version sent to the
United States is shorter than the French version, andthe Brzezinski
interview was not included in the shorter version.

Return to peace with justice archives