Tuesday, August 27, 2002

There were two events which occurred in Afghanistan which neatly bracketed September 11, 2001, and which are very important for a deep understanding of the politics of the attack on America:

  1. On September 8, Ahmed Shah Massood was attacked in Afghanistan. He had agreed to give an interview with some men posing as journalists, who apparently had a bomb in their television camera. The bomb exploded killing both the fake journalists and Massood. This attack has been attributed to bin Laden. Massood was the most respected leader in the opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and would have been the most likely to take over if the Taliban were removed. At the time, however, there was no indication that anyone was in a position to remove the Taliban, so Massood's assassination only makes sense in the context of the September 11 attack, an attack which gave the American government an excuse to remove the Taliban. Not only did Massood's assassination only make sense in the context of the September 11 attack, but it probably had to precede the September 11 attack, as Massood was far more likely to be suspicious of an attack against him once he was aware that Afghanistan was at war. The attackers thus showed foreknowledge of the September 11 attack, and foreknowledge of the U. S. response (which is a bit surprising, as an attack on Afghanistan is not an obvious U. S. response). If the point of September 11 was to give the U. S. an excuse to attack the Taliban, Massood's continued presence in Afghanistan would have meant that he, and not an American stooge, would take over from the Taliban as the ruler of Afghanistan. Massood's death effectively weakened the position of certain opposition warlords in Afghanistan, and allowed for the creation of a more diffuse government, more easily controlled by the Americans.

  2. On October 25, Abdul Haq, another natural leader, and in the absense of Massood, perhaps the man most likely to be able to assemble a government in Afghanistan, was killed. The circumstances of his death are utterly bizarre. He was financially supported by two Americans, the Ritchie brothers, who had grown up in Afghanistan and become wealthy in the Chicago commodities market. They had an interest in developing Afghanistan, and may have U. S. intelligence ties. Haq's U. S. financed efforts to undermine the Taliban pre-dated September 11 by at least a year. Haq had supposedly decided on his own to cross Afghanistan by horse to meet with opposition to the Taliban and negotiate a revolt. He did this despite the fact he was crossing enemy-held territory, was lightly armed, and was himself not very mobile as he had lost a foot fighting the Russians. His intent appears to be to use American money to bribe himself across Afghanistan. The Americans describe his trip as being made against their wishes, and that they could not talk him out of it (which seems odd). He was captured, tortured, and killed, supposedly by members of the Taliban. Before the Taliban actually captured him, he was apparently able to telephone Robert 'Bud' McFarlane (of Iran-Contra fame, but who now runs the public relations firm that was acting for Haq, a fact that in itself gives one pause), who attempted to have the CIA rescue him (it is possible that the CIA actually informed the ISI of Haq's location, and the ISI informed the Taliban). The CIA rescue effort was too late. This whole story again makes sense only in the context of September 11. Haq was another very inconvenient guy, as he was a likely candidate to replace the Taliban, but was not a stooge of the U. S. government. His quixotic trip was prompted by September 11 having occurred, as it was only then that it made sense for him to contact the opposition to the Taliban to attempt to create a new Afghan government that would be able to stop the U. S. attack. He had to die before the end of the U. S. attack, so there was no danger that he, rather than a stooge of the U. S., would replace the Taliban.

The conclusion is that the following things had to occur in the following order, and only in the following order:

  1. assassination of Massood;

  2. September 11 attack on U. S.;

  3. assassination of Haq;

  4. removal of the Taliban; and

  5. installation of a stooge controlled by the U. S. to run Afghanistan.

This means that the September 11 attack can only be understood in the context of what went on in Afghanistan in the few days preceding and following September 11. The removals of Massood and Haq were almost certainly planned as part of a package which included the September 11 attack, and were planned not only with foreknowledge of the September 11 attack, but with detailed foreknowledge of what the American response to that attack would be. It is a fundamental mistake to see the war on Afghanistan as the surprised and angry American response to the events of September 11. The events of September 11 and the war on Afghanistan are parts of the same operation.