The US Central Intelligence Agency worked in tandem with Pakistan in the 1980s to create the "monster" that is today Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, Selig Harrison from the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars said at a conference in London in March, according to a report in the Times of India.
The US provided $3 billion to build up the Islamic group, bolstered by thousands of fundamentalists who flocked to Afghanistan in the 1980s, and it accepted the Pakistan dictatorship's demand that it should decide how this money be spent, Harrison said.
Harrison, who is now senior fellow with the Century Foundation, recalled a conversation with the late Gen Zia-ul Haq of Pakistan. "Zia spoke to me about expanding Pakistan's sphere of influence to control Afghanistan, then Uzbekistan and Tajikstan and then Iran and Turkey", Harrison said. That design continues, he said.
General Mohammed Aziz, who was involved in Zia's plan, has been elevated to a key position by Pakistan's present military ruler, General Pervaiz Musharraf, reported the March 7 Times of India.
"The CIA still has close links with the ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] ... The Taliban are not just recruits from madrassas (Muslim theological schools) but are on the payroll of the ISI." Pakistan "holds the key to the future of Afghanistan", Harrison said.