America's Devil's Game with Extremist Islam
A Timeline of US-Cold War Politics and the Rise of Militant Islamism
It is often difficult to trace the history of the United States' involvement with—and responsibility for—the evolution of radical Islamism around the world; many of the CIA's activities in support of Islamist groups were often covert, and a great deal of misinformation exists. Robert Dreyfuss' new book, Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, is an attempt at a comprehensive overview of this story, recounting how the CIA, guided by the belief that radical Islamist forces could act as a bulwark against communism, helped fuel the rise of political Islam and militant fundamentalism in the Middle East and Central Asia. Below is a timeline of major events in the U.S. government's 70-year flirtation with and support for the militant forces that would, in the late 1990s and on September 11, 2001, come back to haunt the United States.
1972 – The CIA founds the Asia Foundation to fund leaders of the Afghan Islamist movement at Kabul University. Beneficiaries include Rabbani Sayyaf and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, two Afghans who would cultivate ties with Osama bin Laden. The two run a secret group that infiltrates the Afghan armed forces and will later lead jihad forces against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Jul. 17, 1973 – Afghanistan's Soviet-friendly prime minister, Sardar Daoud, overthrows the Afghan royalty, establishes a democratic republic, and becomes President. The United States quickly begins funding Afghan dissidents and supporting the radical Islamic Party against Daoud.
Sept. 1973 - The CIA partners with Iranian and Pakistani intelligence—the latter of which is loosely associated with fundamentalist Islamic Afghan groups—to run raids in Afghanistan and stage a failed coup against President Sardar Daoud. The effort is repeated in December of 1973 and June 1974.
1975 - A State Department analysis identifies members of the Muslim Brotherhood as leaders of an insurgency against Afghan President Sardar Daoud. After the rebellion failed, Brotherhood leaders, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Sayyaf, flee to Pakistan and find support from ISI, the Pakistani Intelligence Service. - Read More
Robert Dreyfuss talked about his book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, published by Metropolitan… read more