Why Did The CIA Get Involved In Afghanistan?

If you’ve seen the recent Hollywood blockbuster “Charlie Wilson’s War”, you probably think you know why the CIA decided to lend support to the mujahadeen in Afghanistan in 1980. It was to help defeat the evil invading Soviet army – right?


According to former CIA director Robert Gates and President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brezinski, the CIA were involved in Afghanistan at least six months before the Soviet’s invaded. Okay, I know this isn’t new news, but I’m just catching up.

The CIA, with Presidential approval, were illegally supporting terrorist forces within the country to help them attack and overthrow the pro-Soviet government run by Nur Muhammed Taraki. Taraki, who had taken power via a coup from Mohammed Daoud Khan, a member of the Royal Family, was upsetting Muslims by trying to modernize the country – including the establishment of full women’s rights and the implementation of land reform. These are things you’d think the USA would support, right?


The USA was doing everything they could to prevent the spread of Communism. But why?

I’ve often wondered where this American fear of communism comes from. I know we’ve all been programmed from birth to believe “communism = evil, capitalism = good”, but why? If communism is just another political idea, like being a Democrat versus being a Republican, why not just let “the people” decide what they want? Why the massive scare campaign about the ‘red terror’?

I finally figured it out. Okay, I know, I must be dumb. It’s because the powers than run the USA are wealthy white men, otherwise known as the bourgeoisie. They are, by definition, anti-Communist. They have money and power and communism would take that power away from them and disperse it amongst the people. The success of socialism or communism around the world would encourage the people inside the USA to think about the benefits of Marxism and this would run contrary to the self-interest of the American upper classes. In fact, it is probably the last thing they want the people to think about. Think about football, celebrities, game shows, Saddam Hussein, New York Governors and their expensive hookers, ANYTHING – just don’t think about a different political system which would stop protecting the position of the privileged and the wealthy.

So anyway, back to Afghanistan. When the civil war, funded and supported by the CIA, was getting out of control, President Taraki asked the Soviets to help. They told him that sending troops in would be a VERY BAD IDEA. They knew what would happen. They knew the USA would use it as a pretext for further support.

After Taraki was assassinated, allegedly by a member of his own Government, then the Soviets invaded. And the rest is history.

Why is all this important? Because it goes to show, yet again, how you can’t just believe the official version of events.

If you believe the official version of events, the CIA stopped meddling in the affairs of other countries after the Church Committee Report came out in 1975. Yeah, right.

3 thoughts on “Why Did The CIA Get Involved In Afghanistan?

  1. Ah, Cameron. Now you have found out why simple narratives of “communism vs capitalism”, “proprietory vs opensource” and “catholic vs protestant” really root from: the need for retaining power and control.

    The change and shift from one to another merely changes who has the control. Usually, this is tied to the wealth (more money, more guns, more power) or to true democratic revolution.

    The brands put on good and/or evil are simply placed by those in power to aid in simple fearmongering.

    So, my hypothesis of this weekend has been that the American Empire only lasted 60 years. Since the end of WW2, the control provided by the CIA and wealth generated by the US economy is faltering.

    Two massive recessions (dotcom bust and credit bust), Sept 11th, Iraq and Afghanistan : and the rising cost of oil, economic growth of China and Russia; falling value of USD… all point to a lessening of the hegemony of the American Empire of the 20th Century.

    The question is, what other signals are there for a positive view of US power; and what potentially replaces this over the next 10 years? How much will the worldwide emphasis to sustainability change economics?

    Thoughts for this long weekend.


  2. Good questions Nick-san and interesting idea that the US Empire lasted only 60 years. It’s be interesting to think deeply (over several bottles of merlot.. non-alcoholic for you) about how they screwed it up so badly.

    I think the three things the USA economy still has going for it are
    1. the entrepreneurial spirit of “the american dream” (as per my quote from Hugh Hefner earlier today)
    2. their vast sums of venture capital
    3. their 10,000 active nukes.

    If the NEXT BIG THING (think – a clean, sustainable source of energy) is developed and commercialized in the US (and it probably has as much chance of happening there as it does in India or China), then they might be saved. They might have the oil-equivalent for the 21st century.

    And while they continue to sit on 10,000 active nukes, anyone who gets in their way is going to have to be ready to stare them down.

  3. Re the nukes why is USA always demanding that other countries have to dismantle their nukes or power plants yet no-one has demanded that the USA dismantle theirs?

    That always struck me as weird. If India or Pakistan want to have nukes let them, it’s no business of the USA. USA just stands for hypocrisy in everything it does and says and the world allows them to do so.

    We need more Russias and China, hell even Cuba to stand up to them they aren’t the owners of earth and have no more rights than any other country to “defend” themselves or what’s more likely and has already been done, make a first strike.

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