OCT 7 -
Afghanistan’s president Hamid Karzai is a former associate of the
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and he worked for it when
the agency had its horns locked with the Soviet Union in
Afghanistan, a former ISI official disclosed in an
interview in Qatar, reported its leading daily the Peninsula
“Mr Karzai had been with us during the entire Jihad. He was
commissioned with me. Not only him — his brother, his father
— all of them were working with us — I know the whole
family,” revealed former ISI officer Col (Retd) Shuja
Khanzada in the interview.
“They (Karzai's) used to call on me every week for
instructions. Today, he is talking rubbish,” he added.
Several sources, most notably the film Fahrenheit 9/11, have
reported that Karzai once worked as a consultant for the oil
Karzai has denied any such relationship.
The claim appears to have originated in the December 9, 2001
issue of the French newspaper Le Monde. It was also stated
by the Christian Science Monitor.
In 1997, UNOCAL
led an international consortium - Centgas - that reached a
memorandum of understanding to build a $2 billion,
1,275-kilometer-long, 1.5-meter-wide natural-gas pipeline
from Daulatabad in southern Turkmenistan to Karachi, via the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar,
crossing into Pakistan near Quetta. A $600 million extension
to India was also being considered. The dealings with the
Taliban were facilitated by the Clinton administration and
the ISI. But the civil war in Afghanistan would simply not
go away. UNOCAL had to pull out.
In this geostrategic grand design, the Taliban were the
proverbial fly in the ointment.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, a
friend of Karzai's, has reportedly said that after the murder of his
father, Karzai approached Washington with plans for leading
resistance to the Taliban. "It did seem like a mission
impossible," says Inderfurth, "because he'd be putting
himself at great risk."
Karzai joined the struggle
against the Soviets in 1982 and became director of operations of the
Afghan National Liberation Front (ANLF) building supply
lines between anti-Soviet Afghan guerrillas and American
backers - the CIA et al.
When the Taliban erupted on to
Afghanistan's political scene in the early 1990s, Karzai
initially supported them.
However, by late 1994 he had become
suspicious of the movement, fearing it had been infiltrated
and was controlled by foreigners, including Pakistanis and
In 1997, Karzai joined many of his family members in the
United States, from where he worked to reinstate King Zahir
When his father - a former
parliamentary deputy - was assassinated in 1999 in Quetta,
the murder was widely attributed to the Taliban. Karzai
swore revenge by working to help overthrow them.
The assassination also saw Karzai
enshrined as the head of the influential Popalzai clan with
long links with Afghanistan's monarchy.
In the months following the September 11, 2001 attacks,
Karzai worked with the United States to overthrow the
Taliban in Afghanistan and muster support for a new
On Oct. 7, 2001 he "slipped" inside southern Afghanistan, recruiting tribal elders to
join an anti-Taliban coalition. It was not long before the
Taliban got on his trail. He escaped ambush and certain
death by calling in U.S. forces who rescued him by helicopter.
The U.S. says it whisked him out of the country; he insists
he never left-- perhaps concerned about being seen as too
close to the U.S.
his recent visit to the US, Karzai complained
to the Americans that the ISI was supporting the resurgent
Taliban movement that controls much of southern Afghanistan
today. His complaint came at the same time a report
was published by the British Ministry of Defense, stating
that the ISI has been fostering ties with “extremist”
elements in the region. The document went so far as to
propose the dismantling of the agency.
Former ISI official Khanzada brushed all these charges aside,
pointing out that the timing of the back-to-back accusations
revealed a visible pattern behind the sudden onslaught on
the ISI. “This appears to be the sequel to the campaign
launched by American media in 1992 when they wanted to clip
the wings of the ISI,” he said.
Presenting the other side of the picture, Khanzada said:
“The ISI is one of the best intelligence agencies in the
world. It has been tasked with the responsibility of
safeguarding the country’s integrity and sovereignty both
domestically and internationally.
“The Afghan Jihad could never have been possible, leave
alone successful, without the ISI. The bear-trap could never
have been laid and the Soviet superpower could never have
been brought to its knees had the ISI not planned,
coordinated and conducted the Afghan resistance for 10 long
“The ISI is the same organization that defended the world
from Soviet expansion. The agency has shielded Pakistan from
all threats to our nuclear capability and to our sovereignty
and territorial integrity.”