In 1979, the US assembled an army of Islamic fundamentalists, the Moujahedeen, to overthrow the Soviet-backed Afghan government, which was stable and protecting women's rights. After almost two million deaths, the US-backed Islamic extremists emerged victorious and formed the Taliban and al Qaeda. (The US may have been funding the Moujahedeen for years before 1979.)
Particularly in conjunction with the California energy company Unocal (which in 2005 merged with Chevron; see below), the US then spent years trying to work out a gas pipeline deal with the Taliban. Negotiations included flying Taliban members to Dallas and Washington as well as providing the Taliban with various kinds of support, including medical aid, technology, training camps, and at least part of up to 20 million dollars Unocal put into the efforts. The US also tried to convince the Taliban to expand its government to cover all of Afghanistan. (sources listed)
In October 1998, Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), traveled to Afghanistan to investigate why the US was not cutting ties with the Taliban after associates of bin Laden had attacked US embassies in August 1998, the eighth anniversary of US military presence in Saudi Arabia. The US tried, but failed, to kill bin Laden by bombing him in Afghanistan later that same month.
Sirrs reported back that:
"With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we [the USA] could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that.” She partly blames the interest of the US government and the oil company Unocal to see the Taliban achieve political stability to enable a trans-Afghanistan pipeline (see May 1996 and September 27, 1996). She claims, “Massoud [a leader of the Taliban resistance] told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul.” She also states, “The State Department didn’t want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban.”
In July and August 1999, Taliban, as well as al Qaeda linked militia members again visit the US, their expenses paid with US tax money and the University of Nebraska:
Thomas Gouttierre, an academic heading an Afghanistan program at the University of Nebraska, hosts their visit. Gouttierre is working as a consultant to Unocal at the time, and some Taliban visits to the US are paid for by Unocal, such as a visit two years earlier (see December 4, 1997). However, it is unknown if Unocal plays a role in this particular trip. Gouttierre had previously been paid by the CIA to create Afghan textbooks promoting violence and jihad (see 1984-1994). It is unknown if any of these visitors meet with US officials during their trip. (here)
He [Naik] said that he was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings this pre-existing US plan [to invade Afghanistan] had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks.
And he said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if Bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taleban.
"On 7 October 2001, the U.S. government launched military operations in Afghanistan. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) did not authorize the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom)".
On 16 October, [2001,] Muttawakil, the Taliban foreign minister, dropped the condition to see evidence [of bin Laden's guilt] and offered to send bin Laden to a third country...
US officials rejected the offer [and continued their attack].
"...both Chevron and Exxon-Mobil expressed interest in TAPI [the pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan]. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow received a letter backing Chevron's project from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." - Wall Street Journal, here
[T]he State Department applies [its] muscle and “Voila”, Chevron and Exxon clinch the deal. How’s that for a free market?
And who do you think is going to protect that 1,000 mile stretch of pipeline through hostile Taliban-controlled Afghanistan?
Why US troops, of course, which is why US military bases are conveniently located up an down the pipeline route. Coincidence?
Not on your life.However, a couple of months later:
Top US energy companies – Chevron and ExxonMobil – have dropped out of the race to become a consortium leader in financing the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline following dismissal of their demand for an equity stake ... in the [gas] field[s of] Turkmenistan...Thus, unable to get their way exactly, Chevron(/Unocal) and Exxon dropped out of leading the endeavor. Sure, several million peasants have been killed over three decades and women's rights have been shattered while the US sought to set up this project, but oil executives aren't getting their precise terms, so they turn up their noses and exit, barring some opportunity to start the whole game over again and, working with the USG, set up a "Turkmenistan trap" (the kind of operation the US has carried out around the world, possibly including in Azerbaijan). Everyone excited to join the US Army and help out?
It would of course be a mistake to treat resource control and profits therefrom as the only motivating factor behind the genocidal US interventions in Afghanistan. However, they are at the top of the list along with other factors, such as general power-system expansionism, competition with other imperial forces (ie former Soviet Union), US corporate profit from government contracts for imperial activities, the desire to terrorize and beat uppity but weaker countries and groups into submission, and revenge.
And the Daily Telegraph, in 1997, reported that “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” (here)
And here is William Blum quoting a New York Times article from 1979, the major year the USA used the Moujahedeen to set the "Afghan trap" by destabilizing the country, torturing the Afghan population, forcing them to call for Soviet help, and causing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which they did after repeated requests from Afghanistan:
...a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.- See more at: http://www.empireslayer.org/2014/01/us-imperialism-afghanistan-and-hillary.html#sthash.L1wMGuR7.dpuf
The US "made no comment when the Taliban captured Herat in 1995, and expelled thousands of girls from schools; the Taliban [also] began killing unarmed civilians, targeting ethnic groups (primarily Hazaras), and restricting the rights of women." (see here and here)
The Daily Telegraph, in 1997, reported that “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban’s policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” (here)
Here is William Blum quoting a New York Times article from 1979, the major year the USA used the Moujahedeen to set the "Afghan trap" by destabilizing the country, torturing the Afghan population, forcing them to call for Soviet help, and causing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan, which they did after repeated requests from Afghanistan:
...a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.
Yasushi Akashi, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, was critical of "outside interference in Afghanistan" in 1997, which, he said, "is now all related to the battle for oil and gas pipelines. The fear is that these companies and regional powers are just renting the Taliban for their own purposes." (Here)
"...neither the [Taliban] ‘militant’ nor his ‘ideology’ was being fought. Rather, he was courted and his ideology utilized for US strategic and economic interests, particularly as both converged in a slick of oil by 1995. Furthermore, considering that it was only when absolute control of that oil was challenged that the Taliban regime was openly discredited, it must be said that although this ‘militant’ and his ‘ideology’ were publically ‘being fought’ from 1998 to 2001, other ‘militants’ with similar ‘ideologies’ continued to find support, and even that could have been dropped in favour of the Taliban at any point if it had compromised on the issue of oil. Confirmation of this hypothesis, in fact, comes with the inauguration of President Bush (Jr.), one of whose first acts in January and February, 2001, was to open negotiations between the US and the Taliban regime, conducted in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad, in which Laila Helms (niece of former CIA Director Richard Helms) was hired by the Taliban to act as go-between; negotiations that ended around May, 2001, according to various sources including a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, with the ultimatum that the Unocal pipeline would go ahead or bombs would rain on Afghanistan. From 1998 to 2001, therefore, the Taliban ‘militant’ was fought in the name of his ‘ideology,’ but in the interests of oil. ... ‘Exactly what…is being fought’ today, Roy astutely asks. The short answer is that today, as has been the case since 1979, neither a specific ‘militant’ nor ‘ideology’ is ‘being fought.’ Rather, the target of operations, for which more troops are now being sought, is anyone who challenges the interests of an oil-drenched ‘New World Order.’" (M. REZA PIRBHAI, Assistant Professor of South Asian History at Louisiana State University, here)
Economic Times reports that "The US is backing the TAPI pipeline as an alternative to the Iran-Pakistan-India line in its efforts to choke Tehran financially over its suspected nuclear weapon programme." The US does not suspect Iran of building nuclear weapons, but US propaganda uses the line as a cover for continuing imperial policy against Iran, ongoing since 1953, killing millions of Iranians.
Also see: Our Terrorists, by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed
"Throughout the 1990s, the selective US intelligence sponsorship of Islamist extremist networks was linked not simply to destabilizing potential Russian and Chinese influence, but further to securing US-led Western control over strategic energy reserves."
Other sources here, here, here.