Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban for 11 years until 9/11. The Taliban are mostly members of the Pashtun tribe, which has controlled the area for centuries. Their land also comprises North-West Pakistan. They do not recognize the border.
The Pakistani government, which has oscillated between military dictatorships and corrupt civilian politicians since it's formation, has never controlled the Pashtun. In 1842 the British lost an army of 16,000 to the Pashtun. The Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1978 and tried for 10 years to defeat the Taliban. They never lost a battle but had to leave in 1989, after suffering huge losses to guerrilla attacks.
The Pashtun are Muslim, but were not fanatics until the Russians entered Afghanistan. The Americans decided to fund the Pashtun, to fight the Russians. The money was bought into N.W. Pakistan with the help of Pakistan's secret service. The Americans' partners were the Saudis.
Not only money and weapons were involved. The Saudis wanted to spread their seventh-century fundamental form of Islam, practiced by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabbi mosques and schools were set up. The schools taught only this fundamental version of Islam, and any literacy skills learned were through the repetition and copying of Koranic verses.
From this the Taliban were born, an Afghani version of Wahhabism. The system continues to this day. The Taliban continue to be funded largely by Saudi Arabia, through underground channels.
The opium fields also help to fund the Taliban; opium has been grown in this area since the time of Alexander the Great. A Taliban fighter receives several times the pay rate of a similar Afghan soldier.
The Wahhabi allow them to remain in power, and in return they run most other things. Saudi Arabia desperately needs engineers and technicians, yet 50 per cent of education is in Wahhabi Islamic theology. Saudi Arabia has only a tiny proportion of the world's one-and-a-half billion Muslim's, yet it funds a disproportionate share of the world's mosques. The doctrines preached are strictly hard-line Wahhabi with much hatred and disgust toward unbelievers.
These preachings have recruited young Muslims from all levels of society to plot and commit violence worldwide.
Unless we deal with Saudi Arabia, we cannot succeed.
Tony Smith lives in Langley (BC).