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View Full Version : Clinton administration tried to cut a deal with Taliban if they'd have expelled OBL


mlyonsd
08-20-2005, 02:46 PM
Story (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166210,00.html)
U.S. 'Not Out to Destroy' Taliban in 2000

Friday, August 19, 2005
Associated Press


WASHINGTON — United States was "not out to destroy the Taliban," a U.S. diplomat told the regime just a year before a U.S.-led invasion toppled Afghanistan's Taliban government that had harbored Al Qaeda chief Usama bin Laden (search).

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan William B. Milam held a secret meeting with an unidentified senior Taliban (search) official in September 2000 and assured him that international sanctions on the Taliban would end if bin Laden were expelled from Afghanistan, newly declassified documents show.

"The ambassador added that the U.S. was not against the Taliban, per se," and "was not out to destroy the Taliban," Milam wrote in a secret cable to Washington, recounting his meeting.

A declassified version of the cable was released Thursday, obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act.

Milam told the Taliban official — whose name is excised from the declassified document — that bin Laden was the main impediment to better relations between the Taliban and the United States.

"If the U.S. and the Taliban could get past bin Laden, we would have a different kind of relationship," Milam said he told the official.

At the time, a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, Washington had no formal diplomatic relations with Afghanistan because of human rights and other abuses by the militant Islamic Taliban regime.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Bush administration had no comment on the meeting, which occurred before President Bush took office.

In his 2000 diplomatic cable, Milam told his bosses the Taliban official had adopted a "far less obstreperous" tone than usually heard from the Taliban, and suggested the United States do some small favor for Afghanistan to show good will.

The meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, produced no promise from the Taliban to turn over bin Laden, and it is not clear from the material released Thursday what the Clinton administration did next.

By June 2001 under the Bush administration, Milam was warning Afghanistan that the Taliban leadership would bear responsibility for any attack on American targets by bin Laden, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan reported at the time.

Milam's cable was among Afghanistan-related documents acquired by the National Security Archive, which posted them on its Web site.

Other documents released Thursday chart several years of unsuccessful U.S. attempts to drive bin Laden out of Afghanistan.

At the time of Milam's cable, the United States knew bin Laden was living under Taliban protection along the Afghan-Pakistani border and running his Al Qaeda terror network from Afghanistan. U.S. diplomats had periodic contact with the Taliban to urge his ouster.

The United States had accused bin Laden of orchestrating two 1998 U.S. embassy bombings that killed Americans in East Africa, but neither he nor his terror network were the household names they became after the jetliner attacks on New York City and Washington in September 2001.

Shortly after the attacks, U.S. forces helped the Afghan opposition Northern Alliance overthrow the Taliban government and hunt down its leaders. The Bush administration's goal was twofold: rout bin Laden's protectors and capture bin Laden himself.

Nearly four years after the invasion, a 21,000-member U.S.-led coalition force remains to fight Taliban remnants and keep order despite the emergence of a new U.S.-allied government. Neither bin Laden nor Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar (search) have been captured.

A reinvigorated insurgency killed two U.S. soldiers Thursday when a roadside bomb hit a military convoy protecting road workers, and the new American ambassador warned that violence by Afghan rebels would not end soon.

A surge of violence since winter has killed about 1,000 people — including 59 American soldiers. Militants have stepped up assaults in the south and east trying to sabotage the country's U.S.-backed recovery.

jAZ
08-20-2005, 03:10 PM
http://www.robertscheer.com/1_natcolumn/01_columns/052201.htm

Bush's Faustian Deal With the Taliban
By Robert Scheer
Published May 22, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times


Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that "rogue regime" for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban's estimation, are most human activities, but it's the ban on drugs that catches this administration's attention.

Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.

Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden.

The war on drugs has become our own fanatics' obsession and easily trumps all other concerns. How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who has subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?

At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha , and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter.

The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior, from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.

The Taliban fanatics, economically and diplomatically isolated, are at the breaking point, and so, in return for a pittance of legitimacy and cash from the Bush administration, they have been willing to appear to reverse themselves on the growing of opium. That a totalitarian country can effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising. But it is grotesque for a U.S. official, James P. Callahan, director of the State Department's Asian anti-drug program, to describe the Taliban's special methods in the language of representative democracy: "The Taliban used a system of consensus-building," Callahan said after a visit with the Taliban, adding that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs "in very religious terms."

Of course, Callahan also reported, those who didn't obey the theocratic edict would be sent to prison.

In a country where those who break minor rules are simply beaten on the spot by religious police and others are stoned to death, it's understandable that the government's "religious" argument might be compelling. Even if it means, as Callahan concedes, that most of the farmers who grew the poppies will now confront starvation. That's because the Afghan economy has been ruined by the religious extremism of the Taliban, making the attraction of opium as a previously tolerated quick cash crop overwhelming.

For that reason, the opium ban will not last unless the U.S. is willing to pour far larger amounts of money into underwriting the Afghan economy.

As the Drug Enforcement Administration's Steven Casteel admitted, "The bad side of the ban is that it's bringing their country--or certain regions of their country--to economic ruin." Nor did he hold out much hope for Afghan farmers growing other crops such as wheat, which require a vast infrastructure to supply water and fertilizer that no longer exists in that devastated country. There's little doubt that the Taliban will turn once again to the easily taxed cash crop of opium in order to stay in power.

The Taliban may suddenly be the dream regime of our own war drug war zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure. Our long sad history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.

- - -

Robert Scheer Is a Syndicated Columnist.

go bowe
08-20-2005, 03:31 PM
the war on drugs has always been f*cked up, imo...

we gave the taliban $43 million?

after we were already after bin ladin and just over a year before 9/11?

did i read that article right?

mlyonsd
08-20-2005, 03:31 PM
Link (http://www.spinsanity.org/post.html?2001_10_07_archive.html)

10/10 Ben: Scheer responds, but doesn't rebut
My column on Robert Scheer from Monday has generated significant interest and even a response from Mr. Scheer, albeit one that does not substantively address the issues I brought up.

Longtime Spinsanity readers (or fans of our archives) know that I did not start this debate. My co-editor Brendan Nyhan first posted on Scheer's lies about U.S. aid to the Taliban in June, drawing on work from Bryan Carnell of Leftwatch. Since then, Brendan posted again in August when Scheer falsely claimed that the U.S. was in a recession (which was not at all clear at the time) and that President Bush caused it, and picked up on Scheer repeating the Taliban aid trope once more in September. Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix also recently wrote on Scheer and his allegations of U.S. aid to the Taliban.

Perhaps because of a link on Jim Romensko’s MediaNews, however, Scheer decided to respond to my column in a letter published on the site. He wrote:

Since you have not offered a chance for a rejoinder to that hit piece why not at least mention that my articles are available on www.robertscheer.com and let readers judge for themselves? The critics of my columns on the subject pointedly ignore the DEA and State Department's celebration of the Taliban's drug intervention program and its methods.

They also leave out the inconvenient fact that the $43 million was given in a manner that coincided with that recognition offered in the Secretary of States report. Now we know that the Taliban never allowed the UN to operate independently and if the aid went to farmers under their control it has to be assumed that it strenghtened the Taliban's hand with those disgrunteled famers mentioned by State. The remaining international supplies were recently confiscated by the Taliban indicating their complete control over the internaitonal stockpiles. It also seems that the Taliban hoodwinked the western vistors by stockpile heroin to support heir movment with much needed cash.

Finally, the August visit of a top State Dept. official, Christina B. Rocca, to Pakistan where she offered a similar statement of approval and further aid in the Taliban's anti-drug was cited in my third article but ignored by your critic. Also why no mention of the original New York Times story that was the source of much of my first column and which makes the same link between the US aid and the drug eradication program?
I wrote a response, which has, as of yet, not been published on the MediaNews site:

Robert Scheer, following his normal practice, fails to substantively address the points I raised in my column criticizing his work. Specifically, I argued that Scheer has a disturbing habit of creating false tropes and using aggressive jargon in his columns, such as falsely claiming that an American emergency aid package for starving Afghans was a "gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan." The reality is that this money was for food aid and food security programs and was administered by the U.N and non-governmental organizations. His response does not refute this fact, nor does it address the other points in my piece
Scheer’s first argument is that "critics... ignore the DEA and State Department's celebration of the Taliban's drug intervention program and its methods." I didn’t ignore this fact; I simply don’t believe it proves anything. The issue here is not motivations--which in this case were surely a mix of humanitarian concern and drug war pragmatism--but whether the aid was a "gift... to the Taliban," or "a signal that its support of Bin Laden has been somehow acceptable," as Scheer has written. Since no money was given to the Taliban, it wasn’t. It’s that simple.
Scheer also makes the logically suspect claim that recent confiscation of food supplies by the Taliban proves that they had "complete control" of the aid. Unless Scheer wants to argue that the U.S. government encouraged the confiscation, it is again not relevant. That’s like saying if I give someone a gift, and a thief steals it, I have given a gift to the thief.
Clearly, the aid was partially motivated by the Taliban’s drug crackdown, and it helped the Taliban indirectly. But it also helped to feed thousands of starving people in the midst of a multi-year drought. That's a complex issue, but not for Scheer.

BigMeatballDave
08-20-2005, 03:34 PM
the war on drugs has always been f*cked up, imo...

we gave the taliban $43 million?

after we were already after bin ladin and just over a year before 9/11?

did i read that article right?You know what they say about hindsight...

mlyonsd
08-20-2005, 03:36 PM
the war on drugs has always been f*cked up, imo...

we gave the taliban $43 million?

after we were already after bin ladin and just over a year before 9/11?

did i read that article right?

I guess if you call giving $43 million of aid to help feed starving Afghans and having the UN administer the distribution giving money to the Taliban then you're right.

jAZ
08-20-2005, 03:52 PM
I guess if you call giving $43 million of aid to help feed starving Afghans and having the UN administer the distribution giving money to the Taliban then you're right.
Aren't you one of the ones that bitched about the oil for food program in order to criticize liberals and Clinton? Now you are using the same type institution and the same type of system to defend Bush?

ROFL

Shameless...

go bowe
08-20-2005, 04:10 PM
I guess if you call giving $43 million of aid to help feed starving Afghans and having the UN administer the distribution giving money to the Taliban then you're right.relief aid distributed by the un doesn't seem like a gift to the taliban, although they probably stole a lot of it...

the article that i was referring to seemed to suggest that it was a direct aid (what we charmingly call foreign aid) to the taliban regime itself...

that's why i was asking if i had read that right...

it just didn't sound right... :shake: :shake: :shake:

mlyonsd
08-20-2005, 04:40 PM
Aren't you one of the ones that bitched about the oil for food program in order to criticize liberals and Clinton? Now you are using the same type institution and the same type of system to defend Bush?

ROFL

Shameless...

Ugh, no I honestly don't remember doing that. If I did I'm sure I was provoked. :) My disdain is for the UN. Because of them we are in Iraq today. If we would have taken Saddam down in '91 like we should have we wouldn't be there today. Instead the resolution back then was only to remove him from Kuwait.

Then you compound that decision with a corrupt oil for food program and it's not a wonder the Bush administration took matter into their own hands. The UN is an incapable pile of shit. See Sudan for further proof.

And people question Bush for not bowing down to their wishes. Now that is shameless.

You know jAZ, you can look at this article in multiple ways. To those that complain Clinton didn't do enough to stop OBL this proves they were at least trying. I've never blamed Clinton for 911 and I still don't.

But one thing is clear at least to me. For those that point fingers at Bush for dealing with repressive regimes it's clear that all administrations are guilty of it one way or the other when they think it's in the country's best interest.

mlyonsd
08-20-2005, 04:46 PM
relief aid distributed by the un doesn't seem like a gift to the taliban, although they probably stole a lot of it...

the article that i was referring to seemed to suggest that it was a direct aid (what we charmingly call foreign aid) to the taliban regime itself...

that's why i was asking if i had read that right...

it just didn't sound right... :shake: :shake: :shake:

It didn't to me either, thats why I checked into it a little deeper. And yes, the Taliban did steal much of the aid and I think Scheer was implying the Bush administration was stupid for giving it knowing that would happen.

I dunno, guess there's always two sides to a story.