SocraticGadfly: Musharraf WAS the Taliban

November 17, 2007

Musharraf WAS the Taliban

Or, why we’re fighting the wrong war in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq

The full version of the Ted Rall comment:
The marketing of Musharraf as a bulwark against radical Islam and the Taliban is one of the biggest jokes of the post-9/11 era. He wasn't for the Taliban before he was against them. He was the Taliban.

Rall crossed the border from from China to Pakistan at just the time Musharraf was overthrowing prime minister Nawaz Sharaf. He then invited Taliban fighters from Afghanistan to come into the Kashmir region of Pakistan to up the ante in the fighting against India in the third Kashmir War.

That said, Rall is blunt in that our war in Afghanistan is, in his opinion, even worse than the invasion of Iraq. Why?

This is why:
If U.S. officials had wanted to catch Osama bin Laden, all they had to do was call Musharraf. On 9/11, the Al Qaeda leader was laid up in a Pakistani military hospital in Islamabad. If the dictator refused, invading Pakistan —if you’re into that sort of thing — would certainly have been more justifiable than Afghanistan or Iraq. A Pakistan War could have neutralized the world's most dangerous nuclear threat, established a valuable strategic American foothold between India and China, and — if we worked with the UN — scored us popularity points for restoring democratic rule.

Such a war would have been far more justifiable than Afghanistan or Iraq. No country was more responsible than Pakistan for 9/11. Pakistan hosted Al Qaeda's headquarters in Kashmir. Most of its training camps were in Kashmir and Pakistan's Tribal Areas--not Afghanistan. On July 22, 2004, The Guardian reported that General Mahmoud Ahmed, chief of the ISI under Musharraf, had sent $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker. The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Pakistani intelligence had financed 9/11, but the 9/11 Commission decided not to investigate our “strategic ally in the war on terrorism.”

Remember in what country Daniel Pearl was killed? Rall is right.

And, though he doesn’t get specifically into it, as long as he kept the border open, we could have sent all the troops we have in Iraq to Afghanistan and still not totally snuffed out Al Qaeda.

Rall’s conclusion?
Musharraf was always a huckster. Anyone who paid attention could see that, but that's the problem: we never do.

Right on.

And, this refreshing angle on this is part of why I like Rall as a columnist.

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