U.S. aid to Afghanistan a 20-year disaster
By Joe Baker
By Joe Baker
In light of the War on Terrorism, Congressman Ron Paul (R-14-TX) is calling for an end to foreign aid. Rep. Paul claims the outpouring of our tax dollars is not achieving the aims of the program.
We should recognize that American tax dollars helped to create the very Taliban government that now wants to destroy us, Paul said. He said that in the late 70s and early 80s, the CIA was heavily involved in training and financing various fundamentalist Islamic groups in Afghanistan. Some of them later became the Taliban.
Rep. Paul said the U.S. government gave those groups at least $6 billion in military aid and weapons. He said bin Laden personally received training and weapons from the CIA. That agencys military and financial aid helped the rebels to build a series of camps around the city of Khost. (rense.com)
Those same camps became terrorist training facilities for bin Laden, who uses some of the same fighters our military once trained as lieutenants. Today our pilots are bombing the same camps we paid to build and are threatened by the same Stinger missiles the CIA originally supplied to the rebels.
Once again, said Rep. Paul, the stark result of our foreign aid, however well-intentioned, was the arming and training of forces that later became our enemy.
He said our misguided financing of Afghan terrorists did not end in the 80s. Millions of your tax dollars continue to pour into Afghanistan even today, Paul said. Our government publicly supported the Taliban right up until Sept. 11. Already in 2001, the U.S. has provided $125 million in so-called humanitarian aid to the country, making us the worlds single largest donor to Afghanistan. Rest assured the money went straight to the Taliban, and not to the impoverished, starving residents that make up most of the population, the congressman said.
Dr. Thomas Fleming, president of the Rockford Institute, added a real blockbuster to the equation of withdrawing aid, saying, According to a 1998 interview in a very prominent French newspaper, Nouvel Observateur, Jimmy Carters National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski, admitted that the U.S. had begun inserting advisors, arming and training Afghan mujahedeen before the Russians had actually invaded Afghanistan.
Brezinski defended the action by saying the Russians had been drawn into a Vietnam, and that nothing that ever happened in Afghanistan was as important as the freedom of Eastern Europe, meaning his own native country of Poland.
The horrifying conclusion is that it is not simply the Russians who are to blame for the disasters in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 80s, but that the Afghan nightmare is the direct result of a U.S. foreign policy blunder. A blunder that we continue to repeat.
To my knowledge, this imported interview has never been reported on in a major U.S. press source. said Fleming, adding, Because of the Cold War, the U.S. had good reason to oppose Russia, just as we have good reason to overthrow the Taliban today. But short-sighted decisions, made in emergency situations, have a way of coming back to haunt us.
Last May, the U.S. announced it would give the Taliban another $43 million in aid for halting the cultivation of poppies used to make opium and heroin. Taliban rulers declared opium growing was against the will of God.
But, said Rep. Paul, they werent serious about it because poppies are Afghanistans principal source of revenue. They are the mainstay of what economy there is. He said Afghanistans production of opium poppies actually is increasing. Its believed the country supplies fully 75 percent of the worlds heroin.
U.S. taxpayers have a right to know exactly what were getting for our foreign aid dollars, Rep. Paul said. Have we helped bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan? Have we eased suffering there? Have we added to stability in the region? Have we earned the love or respect of the Afghanistani people? Have we made an ally of the Taliban government? The answer to all these entirely reasonable questions is a resounding NO.
Afghanistan is in chaos, its people starving, and its government is an outright enemy of the United States. As we yet again find ourselves at war with forces we once funded and supported, the wisdom of foreign aid must be challenged. Peaceful relations and trade with every nation should be our goals, and the first step in accomplishing both should be to stop sending taxpayer dollars overseas, he said.
Editor & Publisher Frank Schier also contributed to this editorial.