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Rep. ROHRABACHER (1999) -- How the Clinton Administration brought the Taliban to power
Senate testimony | April 14, 1999 | Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Posted on 09/28/2001 7:01:18 PM PDT by Nita Nupress

April 14, 1999, Wednesday
COMMITTEE HEARING
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS: SUBCOMMITTEE ON NEAR EASTERN AND SOUTH

U.S. SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS) HOLDS HEARING ON THE CRISIS IN AFGANISTAN
 WASHINGTON, D.C.


SPEAKERS:
U.S. SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), CHAIRMAN
U.S. SENATOR JOHN ASHCROFT (R-MO)
U.S. SENATOR GORDON H. SMITH (R-OR)
U.S. SENATOR ROD GRAMS (R-MN)
U.S. SENATOR CRAIG THOMAS (R-WY)
U.S. SENATOR PAUL DAVID WELLSTONE (D-MN), RANKING MEMBER
U.S. SENATOR ROBERT G. TORRICELLI (D-NJ)
U.S. SENATOR PAUL S. SARBANES (D-MD)
U.S. SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD (D-CT)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA)

THE HONORABLE KARL F. INDERFURTH
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
FOR SOUTH ASIA

MR. T. KUMAR
ADVOCACY DIRECTOR FOR ASIA
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ASIA

DR. BARNETT RUBIN
SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR
CENTER FOR PREVENTIVE ACTION
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS


BROWNBACK: We'll call the hearing to order, thank you all very much for joining us this morning. We welcome you to this hearing on Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan remains a complicated one. And as the title of today's hearing states, "The Continuing Crisis in Afghanistan suggests there has not been much progress since we met almost a year and a half ago to discuss the country. Today we're going to learn the perspectives of our distinguished witnesses regarding the current status of Afghanistan in particular, the current state of the rule under the Taliban including the treatment of women and girls and the prospects for resumption of peace talks. And I want to note particularly the situation, for women in Afghanistan, is particularly dire.

They have for years endured tremendous hardship through fighting and political instability in that country. However the situation has worsened since the Taliban emerged as the majority political and military force in the late 1994 -- in late 1994. Taliban stripped women of many of the most basic human rights and made them a virtually invisible segment of the society. This intolerable treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan has continued despite repeated international requests that Taliban restore their rights. We cannot in good conscience watch in silence what is happening to women and girls in Afghanistan. Afghan women will continue to suffer at the hands of the Taliban unless the rest of the world presses for change.

Myself along with Barbara Boxer, we have introduced a resolution S. RES. 68 expressing condemnation of the inhumane treatment of women and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan. We urge our colleagues to help us push that resolution through as a statement of our dismay and abhorrence of what the treatment has been of women in Afghanistan. And that will be a part of the focus of this hearing today.

Afghanistan remains a country of political instability. The civil war continues and there has been a surge in fighting since March. Rocket fire struck Kabul just four days ago. United Nations sponsored peace talks between the Taliban and the opposition recently broke down with no apparent prospects for a coalition government any time in the near future. It is estimated that the Taliban controls about -- between 80-90 percent of the country of Afghanistan, and has imposed strict adherence to Islamic customs in those areas that it controls. Those controls include unreasonable and extreme limitations on the activities of women and girls, limitation that threaten their health and well being.

Afghanistan also suffers from other problems. I'm referring to problems such as the production of illegal narcotics, and the training of terrorists. These matters are of such a serious nature that they undermine the public welfare and social fabric, not only for Afghanistan, but for other countries as well, including the United States. It is more than unfortunate that the actions of the Taliban have fallen far short of their promises to curb drug production and trafficking and to limit the presence and activities of terrorists. They have fallen far short in limiting those areas of what they originally had promised.

It's against this backdrop that we are hear to discuss Afghanistan. I'm interested in the comments of the witnesses and their thoughts on prospects for the future of the country. I hope we can get some understanding of the current complexities and what the United States can do, needs to do, or is not doing in dealing with the situation in Afghanistan. We've had a long-term commitment to this region that I think, frankly, has fallen off a great deal in recent times. It's not as if we don't have a number of international problems out there to deal with. But this is one that I think we have just not put sufficient focus on. And we need to put more focus in this region and this country particularly given the plight of women in Afghanistan. Delighted to be joined by the ranking member of the committee, Senator Wellstone. We'll probably have other members joining us as well during the hearing. Senator Wellstone, if you have an opening statement, we'd love to have that now.


WELLSTONE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief. Is this mike on, can you hear me OK? I appreciate you holding the hearing and I want to welcome our witnesses, Ric Inderfurth, Mr. T. Kumar, who has done great human rights work and really appreciate his support in our office. And Barnett Rubin, or Barney Rubin. Mr. Chairman, we've got a lot of tough foreign policy challenges that fall within this subcommittee's purview, whether it is: nuclear proliferation in South Asia, a timely topic today; political challenges in Iran; the struggling Middle East process to name just a few. But I think one of the toughest challenges -- and I really appreciate your leadership on this question -- is the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

I don't need to repeat what the Chairman has just said about the just flagrant, blatant human rights abuses of women, of girls in Afghanistan, just to say that I think our government has an obligation to take the lead in whatever way we can to end these abuses and to insure that Afghanistan women and girls are no longer the subject of these violations of their basic rights. I think you're doing very good work on this issue, Senator Boxer as well. I'm proud to join you in this effort. I think this is a very important hearing and I look forward to hearing from our panelists. I guess we start with Representative Rohrabacher and I appreciate your being here, Congressman.

BROWNBACK: Thank you Senator Wellstone. I appreciate your comments and I appreciate your leadership as well. Our first panel presenter will be Congressman Dana Rohrabacher from California. He's from the US House of Representatives. Congressman Rohrabacher, welcome to the hearing, and I'm delighted to have you here. Congressman Rohrabacher, for those of you not familiar, has focused a great deal of his efforts on Afghanistan, has traveled to the region, has worked a great deal on this, and so I think has a good perspective, a very interesting perspective. And we welcome your attendance, participation, and your statement.

ROHRABACHER: Thank you very much Mr. Chairman, Senator Wellstone. And I thank you for letting me participate today. This hearing is especially significant, because beyond the important matters of human rights violations, especially against women and the matters of terrorism and drug proliferation, what transpires in Afghanistan today will have a profound impact on the entire region of Central Asia in the years to come. And I've been involved with Afghanistan since the early 1980s when I worked in the White House as a speechwriter for the President, and a special assistant to the President -- that was Ronald Reagan. And in 1988, immediately after I was elected to Congress -- I'm no longer part of the White House staff -- I traveled into Afghanistan with the Mujahadin (ph) and participated in the battle of Jullah Abat (ph) against the Soviets. At that time I learned first hand of the courage and generosity of the Afghan people. I also learned from the Afghans who I traveled with, and the villagers, who housed me, that the average Afghan is not a fanatic or a religious extremist. To the contrary, it's very hospitable -- Afghans are very hospitable and very generous people -- by the essence of their traditional culture.

What has happened during the past few years under Taliban rule is a tragic perversion of the Afghan culture and their religious heritage. Having been closely involved in US policy towards Afghanistan for some 20 years, I have called into question whether or not this administration has a covert policy that has empowered the Taliban, and enabled this brutal movement to hold on to power in Afghanistan. This, even though the president and the secretary of state have voiced their disgust for the brutal policies of the Taliban, especially their repression of women, the actual implementation of US policy has repeatedly had the opposite effect. I base this claim on the following reasons.

In 1996 the Taliban first emerged as a mysterious force that swept out of so-called religious schools in Pakistan to blitzkrieg -- it was a blitzkrieg type conquest of Afghanistan -- against some of the most seasoned Mujahadin (ph) fighters in the field. As a so- called "student militia", the Taliban could not have succeeded without the support, organization, and logistics of military professionals who would not necessarily have been on the faculty of these religious schools. Number two, the US has a very close relationship with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on matters concerning Afghanistan. But, unfortunately instead of providing leadership, we are letting them lead our policy.

This began during the Afghan war against the Soviets, and I witnessed this first hand in the White House. When US officials, in charge of the military aid program for the Mujahadin (ph), permitted a large percentage of our assistance to be channeled to the most anti- western, non-democratic elements of the Mujahadin (ph), such as Hekmaktiar Golbadeen (ph). This was done in order to placate Pakistan's ISI military intelligence. In 1997, responding to the pleas from the Afghan-American community and the recognized Afghan Ambassador, I led an effort to stop the state department from permitting the Afghan Embassy here in Washington from being taken under control by a diplomat loyal to the Taliban. Instead of permitting a new ambassador, who was assigned by the non-Taliban Afghan government that is recognized by the United Nations, the State Department claimed we don't take sides. And forced the embassy to close against the will of the Afghanistan United Nations Office.

Also, during the late 1997s and early '98, while the Taliban imposed a blockade on more than 2 million people of Hazara ethnic group which is located in Central Afghanistan. This blockade put tens of thousands of people at risk of starving to death after perishing from lack of medicine during the harsh winter months. The state department undercut my efforts to send two planeloads of medicine by the Ameri-cares and Knights-bridge relief agencies. The State Department representatives made false statements that a humanitarian crisis had been exaggerated and that there was already sufficient medical supplies in the blockaded area. When the relief team's risked their lives to go into that area anyway with the medicines that we raised privately, and I say without the support of the State Department, on April 14, 1999, that's when they went in. They found the hospitals and clinics did not have even aspirins or bandages and no generators to provide heat in sub-zero weather. And there was a serious lack of blankets and a scant amount of food.

The State Department in effect was assisting the Taliban's inhumane blockade intended to starve out communities, which opposed their dictates. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of this administration's tacit support was the effort made during the Spring of 1998, when a visit to Afghanistan made by Mr. Inderfurth who will be with us today and the United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson. These administration representatives convinced the anti-Taliban northern alliance not to go on the offensive against a then weakened and vulnerable Taliban. Instead they convinced the anti-Taliban leaders to accept a cease-fire that was proposed by Pakistan. This cease-fire lasted only as long as it took the Pakistanis to re-supply and reorganize the Taliban. In fact within a few months of the announcement of the U.S. backed Ulima (ph) process, the Taliban freshly supplied by the ISI from Pakistan and flush with drug money went on a major offensive and destroyed the northern alliance.

So, our administration, at a pivotal moment, interceded in a way that brought the Taliban to almost complete power in Afghanistan. This was either incompetence on the part of the State Department and US intelligence agencies, or it is indicative of a real policy, the real policy of our government to insure a Taliban victory. Can anyone believe that with a Taliban, identified by the United Nations and the DEA as one of the two largest producers of Opium in the world; that they weren't being closely monitored by our intelligence services who would have seen every move of the military buildup of the Pakistanis and when they tried to build up the forces of the Taliban.

In addition, at the same time the US was planning its strike incidentally, against the terrorist camps of Bin Laden in Afghanistan. How could our intelligence services not have known that Bin Laden's forces were in the North to lead the Taliban offensive. Where, and I might add during this Taliban offensive, after we convinced these people not to go on the offensive when they had the leverage, you know the anti-Taliban forces. When the Taleban took over it was the most brutal takeover that you can imagine, where they would go and cut the hands off young men, the right hand off young men so they couldn't ever shoot a gun at the Taliban again. And incredible atrocities against women.

In addition, there has been no major effort to end the flow of opium out of Afghanistan, which is the main source of revenue that enables the Taliban to maintain its control of the country. And this even though the United States government, with our satellites, knows exactly where the opium is being grown in Afghanistan. And having hiked through Afghanistan on several occasions, I can tell you it is clear where the opium is being grown. But we have taken no efforts as far as we can see, publicly, to try to eliminate that as a source of revenue for the Taliban. I am making the claim that there is, and has been, a covert policy by this administration to support the Taliban movement's control of Afghanistan. It is my guess that this amoral, or immoral policy is based on the assumption that the Taliban would bring stability to Afghanistan and permit the building of oil pipelines from central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

We have a choice between believing that this administration's policy toward Afghanistan has been incompetent beyond belief, or directed at achieving a covert purpose. I believe the administration has maintained this covert goal and kept Congress in the dark about its policy of supporting the Taliban, the most anti-western, anti- female, anti-human rights regime in the world. It doesn't take a genius to understand that this policy would outrage the American people, especially America's women. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of our government's covert policy to favor the Taliban is that this administration is currently engaged in a major effort to obstruct the Congress from determining the details behind this policy.

Last year in August, several unofficial requests were made of the State Department. And I then made an official request that all diplomatic documents concerning US policy towards the Taliban, especially those cables and documents from our embassies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, be made available to the Congress.

As a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and a Senior Member of the Subcommittee, with jurisdiction in Asia and Pacific, I have oversight responsibility in this area. In November, after months of stonewalling, the Secretary of State herself, in a hearing, on the record, made a commitment promised, before the international relations committee, that the documents that I had requested would be forthcoming. She reconfirmed that promise in February when she testified before our committee on the State Department budget. The chairman of the committee, Mr. Ben Gillman added his voice on the record to support my document request. At this time, and to this moment we have received nothing, zero. Not a few documents, not one document, zero documents.

Either the State Department is totally incompetent, or there is an ongoing cover-up of the State Department's true fundamental policy towards Afghanistan. Now you probably didn't expect me to end my testimony, which has been rather scathing, obviously, with a complement of the State Department. But, I don't think the State Department is incompetent. They should be held responsible for their policies, and the American people should know, through documented proof, what they are doing. And finally Mr. Chairman, I want to complement you on the leadership you have been providing. This is an area on the other side of the world that most people know nothing about. But I believe it is a part of the world that is vital to the future of this planet.

The wealth and commerce and the stability of that region will determine whether the entire planet will be able to enjoy prosperity and peace and stability in the years ahead. And your personal leadership in Central Asia, and especially now in Afghanistan, which I believe is the key to stability in Central Asia, is much appreciated by this congressman, and by people in that part of the world who sometimes think that they are forgotten. So, thank you, Mr. Chairman.


BROWNBACK: Thank you very much congressman. And I do think this is a critical part of the world, and Afghanistan is a linchpin country, determining on what happens there, not only in Afghanistan, but in much of that region. Because what filters out or comes out of Afghanistan has a great deal of impact. Also when we had the hearing last year on Afghanistan, I would note to my colleague and to others that might be monitoring this. We heard a lot of people talk about that the U.S., as long as the Soviet Union was focused on Afghanistan, we were there. And we were there in a big way, and we were there focused. But after the Soviet Union fell, it didn't seem to be the linchpin issue on defeating communism. We waned, we walked away, and it really had not had our intensity of focus that we needed to have. And it's to the country's detriment and to our detriment that that's happened. And to the region's detriment.

Congressman Rohrabacher, I appreciate your 20 years of focus. You've made a number of serious charges towards the Administration and I will offer Assistant Secretary Inderfurth the time needed to respond to those, either this morning or in writing later on. So, that he will have the opportunity to directly respond.

ROHRABACHER: I would make one request to the chairman, and that if he could add his name to a request of all documents concerning the State Departments policy toward the Taliban from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. That you then could also make this request so that you could see what our policy is. And maybe that will stimulate them to let Congress do our job, which is overseeing this policy.

BROWNBACK: I will add my name to this request.

ROHRABACHER: Thank you.

 


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1980s; 1988; 1990s; 1994; 1996; 199604; 199608; 1997; 199712; 1998; 199810; 1998usembassiesplots; 1999; 199904; 19990414; abdulraheemyaseer; afghanistan; albright; allbright; americares; argentina; billclinton; billrichardson; binladen; blackhills; bridas; cameraincidents; centralasia; clintonadmin; clintonscandals; danarohrabacher; deltaoil; ghows; gouttierre; gullbuddin; gullbudin; hazara; hazaras; hekmaktiargolbadeen; hekmatyargulbuddin; houston; houstonmeeting; humanrights; inderfurth; india; isi; karlfinderfurth; karlinderfurth; kashmir; kenya; knightsbridge; lobbying; madeleinealbright; martyfmiller; martymiller; mountrushmore; mtrushmore; mullahghows; nasa; nebraska; opium; pakistan; raphel; robinraphel; rohrabacher; saudiarabia; scouts; southdakota; taleban; taliban; tanzania; thomasegouttierre; thomasgouttierre; turkmenistan; ulema; uloma; uofnebraska; usembassyplots; yaseer

1 posted on 09/28/2001 7:01:18 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Nita Nupress
bmmmmp
2 posted on 09/28/2001 7:07:11 PM PDT by Diogenesis
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To: Nita Nupress
The woman who ran the Clinton administration is now a member of the U.S. Senate. I do believe this makes Hillary Rodham Clinton a security threat to this nation.
3 posted on 09/28/2001 7:07:19 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: Slyfox
Yes, I do believe if she had to choose, she may just choose Arafat's wife over her New York constituents.

Come to think of it... she already did.

4 posted on 09/28/2001 7:12:28 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Nita Nupress
In the State Department, eh? You might have seen this earlier:

Terrorists had a friend in Clinton White House called Robin

Attention is sure to be focused on the role of Robin Raphel, former assistant secretary of state, in downplaying the threat from Taliban, as the gaze turns inwards.

The diplomat who had upset India by her insensitive remarks over Kashmir, aggressively pushed for staying engaged with the Taliban even when evidence available with the State Department pointed to the futility of winking at the abysmal human rights record and fundamentalist agenda of the clerics ruling from Kabul.

The examination of documents may give a new turn to the debate on whether there was an intelligence failure behind the success of the terrorists.

Sources, who are familiar with the contents of the reports submitted by the counter-terrorism and South Asia desks of the State Department, feel that attacks were perhaps facilitated by the failure to act on the intelligence available with it.

Lots of other stuff on this thread too...

5 posted on 09/28/2001 7:18:08 PM PDT by Brian Mosely
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To: Brian Mosely
Hey, wait a minute. Liberal peacenics and newsies have been telling us that the Taliban is a result of U.S. support of the Afghans against Soviet invasion. They would not mislead U.S., would they?
6 posted on 09/28/2001 7:25:22 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter
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To: Nita Nupress
vellly interesting--bump
7 posted on 09/28/2001 7:29:54 PM PDT by d14truth
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To: Nita Nupress
The liberals are responsible for this mess. They have done great harm to America.
8 posted on 09/28/2001 7:30:23 PM PDT by boycott
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To: Brian Mosely
Thanks, Brian. I was looking for that link but got sidetracked when I saw something about Ozzy Osborne!

Actually, I was looking up info on Robin Raphel when I ran across Rohrabacher's Senate testimony.

I would get a lot more done if I could ever stay focused. :)

9 posted on 09/28/2001 7:36:23 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Brian Mosely
It is my guess that this amoral, or immoral policy is based on the assumption that the Taliban would bring stability to Afghanistan and permit the building of oil pipelines from central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Does Occidental Petrol factor into the desire for pipeline development?

10 posted on 09/28/2001 7:36:39 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter
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To: Nita Nupress
Attention Daffy Duck. Happens to all of us at some time.
11 posted on 09/28/2001 7:38:46 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter
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To: gov_bean_ counter
I'm not sure...check this link...it's a source from the thread I posted above.

During two trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan in April and August 1996, US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphael frequently lobbied for the Unocal pipeline, according to Pakistani and Afghan diplomats. In August, Raphael also visited Central Asian capitals and Moscow. "We have an American company which is interested in building a pipeline from Turkmenistan through to Pakistan," Raphael said at a press conference in Islamabad on April 21, 1996. "This pipeline project will be very good for Turkmenistan, for Pakistan and for Afghanistan."

12 posted on 09/28/2001 7:43:10 PM PDT by Brian Mosely
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To: Bryan John Haung2
This should be widely read.
13 posted on 09/28/2001 7:46:43 PM PDT by Free the USA
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To: gov_bean_ counter
"Does Occidental Petrol factor into the desire for pipeline development?"

Wondered about that as well. But given that this was Clinton's (mis)handling and probably with help from Hillary; it is probably an Occidental Petrol competitor. . .

They never liked the Gore's. . .

14 posted on 09/28/2001 7:49:31 PM PDT by cricket
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To: Slyfox
The woman who ran the Clinton administration is now a member of the U.S. Senate. I do believe this makes Hillary Rodham Clinton a security threat to this nation.

Indeed. And let us sincerely hope that she never ends up back in the White House. The thought of Freepers rallying around her in wartime would be pretty ugly.

15 posted on 09/28/2001 7:49:50 PM PDT by Pay now bill Clinton
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To: Nita Nupress
A stronger Taliban is undoubtedly part of Clinton's legacy, but bin Laden would likely have attemtped this attack anyway. We need to destroy the Taliban, but the first target must be Al Qaeda. The cunning that allowed these attacks to succeed came from the Saudi and Egyptian members of Al Qaeda whose countries are modern enough to give them a background that would allow them to operate covertly in America.

WFTR
Something that Hasn't Changed (Stop Blaming America!).
Bill

16 posted on 09/28/2001 7:52:31 PM PDT by WFTR
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To: gov_bean_ counter, Brian Mosely
There's something in here about Unocal.

As for Clinton, this looks like "anticipatory damage control" to me -- Send someone after Inderfurth for an interview to "set the record straight" just in case Rohrabacher's words make the news cycle. I notice they didn't send anyone to interview Rohrabacker. :-)


Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

The Boston Globe
September 20, 2001, Thursday ,THIRD EDITION  NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. A32

 AMERICA PREPARES SHAPING STRATEGY / A COURTSHIP; US TRIED TO WOO TALIBAN IN '90S
 By Anthony Shadid, and John Donnelly, Globe Staff

WASHINGTON - During the Clinton administration, US diplomats held more than a dozen meetings with Taliban officials in a courtship aimed at getting the Afghan leadership to moderate its views and create the basis for a stable, broad-based government.

The meetings, at the level of ambassador and assistant secretary of state, took place off and on throughout the 1990s and were held in Washington and New York, in Kandahar and Kabul in Afghanistan, and in Peshawar and Islamabad in Pakistan.

That courtship persisted even after Osama bin Laden was blamed for the deadly attacks on two US embassies in Africa in 1998 and after US forces bombed his Afghanistan base.

At the same time, a similar private-sector effort was underway. A US-led consortium sought to win the Taliban's backing for a Central Asian pipeline that would carry oil and gas through Afghanistan. As part of that diplomacy, Taliban members were entertained in Houston and hosted at the University of Nebraska in a bid for their support. Though ultimately unfruitful, those contacts signified what US officials and others had hoped would be flexibility in the Taliban, a cast of fervent clerics and hardened war veterans who first emerged in Afghanistan in 1994.

"In the beginning, it was a question of who they were and whether they could establish some sort of law and order," said Karl F. Inderfurth, who oversaw relations with Afghanistan at the State Department from 1997 to 2000. "The feeling was, 'Gosh, wouldn't it be great to have some commercial undertakings.' "

Inderfurth and other US diplomats insist that Washington never supported the Taliban, even though two of its main allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, were instrumental in the Taliban's rise and conquest of Kabul in 1996.

"The idea that we 'supported' the Taliban was never true," said Robin Raphel, Inderfurth's predecessor as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 1993 to 1997.

"What we did do was treat them like the other factions," Raphel said. "As time goes by, they became what they've become, which is extremely conservative, and indulged all their worst instincts."

Despite their harsh restrictions - forcing men to wear beards, enforcing head-to-toe covering for women, and banning girls from school - the Taliban were welcomed early on by many Afghans. They were seen as bringing law and order to regions menaced for years by militias and bandits. Some of that sentiment was echoed at the time by a State Department spokesman who expressed hope the Taliban could "restore law and order."

"It wasn't immediately clear how dreadfully conservative they were going to be," Raphel said in an interview. She was among the first US officials to meet the Taliban in Afghanistan, where she traveled in April 1996 with other US officials.

The diplomats landed at Kandahar airport, a sprawling facility built in the 1970s with US aid and now bearing the scars of years of war. They were welcomed by Taliban representatives in turbans and flowing beards who escorted them for talks that lasted three hours at the old Governor's House.

Their specific mission: They sought the release of a seven-man Russian air crew detained for eight months. As in most of the meetings, the agenda broadened to the question of a political solution for the country.

"They were very polite," recalled Raphel, who wore loose garments and a head scarf out of respect for the Taliban's fierce insistence that women be covered. "They were quite respectful of me and of my position, and we pushed them hard on all issues. It was kind of a standoff, and we left."

Raphel met Taliban officials a half-dozen times.

Inderfurth kept up the policy, even as bin Laden - residing in areas under Taliban control - was blamed for the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He met with Taliban officials in New York, Washington, Islamabad, and Kandahar.

"The Taliban will not go away," he said at a Senate hearing in October 1998. "This is a reality."

But by late 1997, Inderfurth said more recently, it was becoming very clear to US officials that the Taliban were not going to budge on human rights questions or on turning over bin Laden.

In November 1997, after Inderfurth and others held several unfruitful meetings with the Taliban on bin Laden and rights for women, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright visited the Pakistan border with Afghanistan and called the Taliban's treatment of women "despicable."

"By then, we knew that a lot of things would have to be addressed before we could move forward in any way with them," Inderfurth said.

But others thought the lack of clear opposition from the start gave a different message. Even after Albright's declaration, Bill Richardson, then US ambassador to the United Nations, met Taliban officials in Kabul in early 1998.

In part, the ambiguity revolved around the prospect of building a pipeline that would run roughly 1,000 miles from the Caspian Sea region through Afghanistan to the Indian subcontinent, a proposal that Raphel described as a "fabulous opportunity." Two groups vied for the project: Bridas, an Argentine oil company, and a US-Saudi consortium led by Unocal.

US officials say the project could have contributed millions of dollars to Afghanistan, whose war-wrecked economy relies largely on the thriving opium trade and international aid. More compelling for policy makers was the prospect of circumventing Iran, which offered another route for the pipeline.

For that project to work, stability was needed in Afghanistan, and the Taliban seemed to offer the best chance of reaching that goal.

At that time, US officials sent strong signals to Pakistan and the Arab world that Washington would not object to commercial ties, or perhaps diplomatic links, with the Taliban, said Abdul Raheem Yaseer, assistant director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

"The blessing of America for the development and success of the Taliban at the beginning affected everybody," Yaseer said. "It affected Unocal. They believed the Taliban might succeed, might have control of the country, and so everybody wanted to have them on their side. That's why Unocal wanted to cut a deal, because the Taliban already had the blessing of the Americans, Arab world, and Pakistanis.

"The US never admitted supporting the Taliban, but everyone knew the US was giving approval to whatever they were doing early on," he said.

Charles Santos, a vice president of a consortium partner, the Saudi-owned Delta oil company, said the consortium was never intent on undertaking the pipeline under a Taliban government and that the Taliban's lack of flexibility eventually doomed the project in 1998.

Along the way, Unocal, the consortium's main partner, engaged in its own private diplomacy. In early December 1997, a group of eight Taliban officials arrived in Houston as guests of the company.

Over four days, they held meetings with Unocal officals and also asked to do a little sightseeing. Unocal spokesman Mike Thatcher recalled that they wanted to see NASA headquarters south of Houston and a local shopping mall, where they reportedly bought stockings, toothpaste, combs, and soap.

They were also feted at the home of Marty F. Miller, then a Unocal vice president, where they reportedly marveled at his swimming pool and his Christmas tree, wanting to know why there was a star on top.

The group then traveled to the University of Nebraska. There, they toured the Center for Afghanistan Studies for two days. Yaseer, the assistant director, remembered one man in particular, who Yaseer said was an agent for Pakistani intelligence, which played a decisive role in the Taliban's rise.

"The group knew it," Yaseer said. "I resented his presence here. I never smiled at him, never said hello. I even approached some of the members of the group and asked, 'Why is he spying on you guys?' "

Five members of the group, including the suspected spy, left. Three stayed behind, because Mullah Ghows, at one time the Taliban's acting foreign minister, had become ill and stayed for a week in the hospital, said Thomas E. Gouttierre, head of the university's Afghanistan program.

Two other members, meanwhile, went on a tour of western Nebraska and South Dakota. "We showed them everything," Gouttierre said. "We went to the Black Hills, saw the museums. We even took them to Mount Rushmore, which they liked very much."



17 posted on 09/28/2001 7:52:42 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Free the USA
IndiaVotes
18 posted on 09/28/2001 7:55:52 PM PDT by Stentor
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To: Nita Nupress
Agree regarding Clinton. He is exposed on several fronts. On the one hand you have articles like this. In addition you have the "father of triangulation", Dick Morris, out there calling the case against Microsoft "Clinton's case" instead of "the governments case". Huge distinction here. Imagine that the "faux wealth" created with debt during the Clinton administration has all but vanished. If Schippers can get anywhere with his attempt to tie this group of terrorists to the OKC bombing, then Clinton is toast. Look forward to some serious spinning over the next few days, weeks, months...
19 posted on 09/28/2001 8:04:47 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Thanks Nita for your efforts. . .this is really incredible. .The 'other' thread has the 'incredible' as well.

Hope everyone will send this info and/or links to friends, students. . .

Maybe even print some; keep them handy to pass on to a Liberal, on the street. ..in your office; or the friend you are having lunch with.

"They should be held responsible for their policies, and the American people should know, through documented proof, what they are doing."

Who knew? . . .and who knew and did not report?

a p.s. of sorts. . .Interesting this blatent lie of a story is surfacing; Washington Post as well. . .as more information shreds the Clinton's. . .there was another posted earlier from Counterpunch. . .Guess they KNOW the truth will soon hit the fan; and they are already spinning to detract/deflect. . .

The article, Posted/Titled 'Shameless Leftist Lies'. . . 'Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban', is an attack on George W. Bush for changing U.S. foreign policy toward the extremist Islamic government of Afghanistan. Scheer writes. . .

20 posted on 09/28/2001 8:24:56 PM PDT by cricket
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To: Nita Nupress
Uhh ... thanks bill, really a good job. really.Way to keep your eye on the ball ... oh - oh yeah - you had other things on your mind. Regards to all your womenfolk.

TH54

21 posted on 09/28/2001 8:26:34 PM PDT by Tunehead54
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To: Nita Nupress
Bump
22 posted on 09/28/2001 8:37:00 PM PDT by tallhappy
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To: Nita Nupress
bump
23 posted on 09/28/2001 10:16:11 PM PDT by toenail
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To: toenail
Following this train of logic, if Clinton weakened the U.S. against Bin Laden, why didn't they stage the Towers attack during his administration instead of waiting to do it eight months into the tough Bush administration?
--Raoul
24 posted on 09/28/2001 11:18:10 PM PDT by RDangerfield
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To: gov_bean_ counter
I really don't like America haters and evil-doers
25 posted on 09/28/2001 11:19:43 PM PDT by Republicus2001
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To: Nita Nupress
Found the following statement on the Unocal web site - my first thought was - they protest too much!!!!

Updated Sept. 14, 2001:

Unocal reiterates prior statements The company is not supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan in any way whatsoever. Nor do we have any project or involvement in Afghanistan.

Beginning in late 1997, Unocal was a member of a multinational consortium that was evaluating construction of a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline between Turkmenistan and Pakistan. Part of this pipeline would have crossed western Afghanistan. However, Unocal suspended its participation in the CentGas consortium in August 1998 and formally withdrew from that consortium in December 1998.

Our company has had no further role in developing or funding that project or any other project that might involve the Taliban. The pipeline was never constructed.

During this time, Afghanistan was in the midst of a civil war. We met with many factions, including the Taliban, to educate them about the benefits such a pipeline could bring to this desperately poor and war-torn country, as well as to the Central Asian region. At no time did we make any deal with the Taliban, and, in fact, consistently emphasized that the project could not and would not proceed until there was an internationally recognized government in place in Afghanistan that fairly represented all its people. Our hope was that the project could help bring peace, stability and economic development to the Afghans, as well as develop important energy resources for the region.

Unocal suspended its participation in the CentGas consortium (see statement). The company officially withdrew from the project in December 1998 (see statement below). After several incorrect reports appeared, including one published in Pakistan in February 1999, Unocal reconfirmed its position regarding this matter in another statement dated Feb. 16, 1999.

26 posted on 09/29/2001 9:23:52 AM PDT by Elkiejg
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To: Nita Nupress
Sunday bump. . .
27 posted on 09/30/2001 10:04:29 AM PDT by cricket
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To: cricket
bump
28 posted on 11/29/2001 2:29:24 PM PST by M. Thatcher
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To: M. Thatcher; Nita Nupress
'Thanks' for bringing this up again. . .needs to be 'out there'. . .in emails et al; (maybe drop some occasionaly in a parking lot etc; in a Liberal mag/book in the book store. . .on a car with a 'Gore' sticker. . .)

. . .we really need to share the truth. . .:^)

29 posted on 11/29/2001 3:24:27 PM PST by cricket
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To: Nita Nupress;clintonscandals
Index-
30 posted on 12/16/2001 5:01:52 AM PST by backhoe
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To: cricket
Thanks for bumping this again. We need to remember to drag it out again if Hillary runs in '04.
31 posted on 12/16/2001 6:34:30 AM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: backhoe
Oops. I clicked on the wrong reply. I meant that for you!
32 posted on 12/16/2001 6:36:09 AM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: Nita Nupress
bump for later
33 posted on 12/16/2001 6:41:19 AM PST by independentmind
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To: Nita Nupress
That's OK- message received!
34 posted on 12/16/2001 6:53:24 AM PST by backhoe
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To: Slyfox
A former conservative U.S. Congresswoman who lost her bid for Patty Murray's senate seat, Linda Smith, has been working on behalf of Afghanistan's oppressed women and children for years. The lying liberal Democrats never gave a flying fig about them -- they were too busy listening to NOW support the rapist in the White House.
35 posted on 12/16/2001 6:55:02 AM PST by ValerieUSA
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To: Nita Nupress; Diogenesis; snopercod
Bump.
36 posted on 04/19/2004 9:15:58 AM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: First_Salute
Thanks. I completely forgot about this thread.


From 17... Inderfurth kept up the policy [of having lovely tea parties with the Taliban], even as bin Laden - residing in areas under Taliban control - was blamed for the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He met with Taliban officials in New York, Washington, Islamabad, and Kandahar.

"The Taliban will not go away," he said at a Senate hearing in October 1998. "This is a reality."

What a difference a good leader makes.

37 posted on 04/19/2004 1:33:49 PM PDT by Nita Nupress
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To: Nita Nupress
Bump.
38 posted on 04/19/2004 9:18:25 PM PDT by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: Nita Nupress; Diogenes; Cindy; kcvl

old time sakes’ bump


39 posted on 09/11/2012 3:11:27 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge)
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To: piasa

Never forget.

Thanks for the ping Piasa.


40 posted on 09/11/2012 3:43:41 AM PDT by Cindy
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To: piasa

Thanks!


41 posted on 09/11/2012 9:03:51 AM PDT by kcvl
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