U.S. energy giants Chevron and Unocal negotiated gas and oil pipeline deals with Afghanistan’s Taliban. In 2001, Washington gave $40 million in aid to Taliban --until four months before 9/11. The U.S. only turned against Taliban when it gave a major pipeline deal to an Argentine consortium rather than an American one.
The Taliban leadership had nothing to do with 9/11, a plot that, according to European prosecutors, was hatched in Germany and Spain, not Afghanistan. Nor did it have anything to do with subsequent attacks ascribed to al-Qaeda.
Osama bin Laden was a national hero of the anti-Soviet struggle, wounded six times in battle. Taliban's collective leadership, in keeping with the Pashtun code of hospitality and honor, refused U.S. demands to hand over bin Laden until Washington issued a proper extradition request with evidence of bin Laden's guilt and promised him a fair trial. Washington refused to go through legal channels and, instead, invaded Afghanistan.
Fast forward to 2008. Today, U.S. and NATO forces are not fighting "terrorists" in Afghanistan but a loose alliance of Pashtun warrior tribes whose resistance to foreign occupation is legendary. They are descendants of the same Pashtun mountain warriors who battled Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the British Empire and the Soviet Union. All these invaders were eventually defeated.
The real objective of the ongoing U.S. occupation of Afghanistan became recently evident. The U.S.-installed Karzai regime in Kabul finally signed a long-discussed pipeline deal that will bring energy south from the new gas and oil Klondike of the Caspian Basin through Afghanistan to Pakistan's coast and India. As the perceptive writer Kevin Phillips notes, U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan -- and Iraq -- have become "pipeline protection troops."
[Excerpt of an article by Eric Margolis, veteran journalist and war correspondent]