Friday, 3 July 2020

operation cyclone or charlie wilson’s war

Though exponentially expanded under the Reagan administration, US president Jimmy Carter secretly authorised for the first time on this date in 1979 measures that would aid and underwrite the resistance efforts of the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the occupying Soviet troops and the USSR’s client state, the secular and liberalised Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
The decade-long undertaking is the largest and most expensive known operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (the UK’s MI6 ran a parallel one), budgeted at seven hundred thousand dollars during its first year and upwards of six-hundred million by 1987—to incite insurgency and eventually bankrupting the Soviet Union and precipitating a violent civil war in Afghanistan. Carter reluctantly agreed to lend initially non-lethal support to the Mujahideen in part under pressure from nuclear neighbour Pakistan—believing the US should try to make amends with regional partners especially after its involvement in the unrest in Iran—though arguably, the secondary US motivation was to draw the Soviets into a quagmire, like the one the US had only recently extricated itself from with Vietnam. Ultimately financing jihadists and undoing the social and economic reforms that the country had aspired to effect and then abandoning it as a failed narco-state once it had served its purpose, resulted in consequential, inevitable blowback.