CIA’s Rogue Afghanistan OperationsCIA needs authorization from US Congress before launching covert operations in other countries. Congress approves releasing funds for the operations.
Because of this requirement CIA has to give people in government details about the covert operations it is asking money for.
To avoid this disclosure, CIA has been looking for funding from other sources to launch ‘rogue’ operations, ones that are not fully endorsed by the government.
In Afghanistan, CIA has launched several covert operations since 2002 meant to target not al-Qaeda or Taliban but some of the neighboring countries whose policies may not sync with US interests.
For example, Pakistan allowed Chinese personnel to build a huge strategic seaport called Gawadar. This Chinese presence was not in US interest. So CIA used Karzai’s intelligence people and India’s offer of help to target Chinese engineers in Pakistan. CIA did this quite successfully by slipping terrorists inside Pakistan pretending to be Taliban or al Qaeda.
It was easy for CIA agents to carry out this operation because Pakistan under former president Pervez Musharraf had granted US personnel, civilian and military, unprecedented freedom of movement within the country.
When these CIA agents killed a couple of Chinese engineers back in 2004, CIA psy-ops used the incident to put the blame on Afghan Taliban, thereby creating doubts in the minds of Chinese officials that Pakistani intelligence might have had something to do with this since Pakistan maintained ties with the Afghan Taliban government in Afghanistan before 2002.
Similarly, CIA launched covert operations against Iran, western China and Pakistan. It used Afghan soil in all of them, which made logistical issues pertaining to these operations much easier.
Where did the money come from for all of these operations?
Some of the money came from the US government, which has an anti-Iran covert program running until now from the Bush days. Nothing secret here. But not all CIA operations in Afghanistan are funded by the US government.
It is believed that many CIA operations inside Pakistan and China received partial or no funding from the US government. These operations were meant to create ethnic, sectarian and political turmoil in Pakistan, and ethnic turmoil in China, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang.
CIA developed a new source of funding to finance these rogue operations.
The Afghan Taliban almost destroyed the Afghan opium trade, a feat unparalleled in the history of Afghanistan. It was near impossible for anyone to impose such discipline on a chaotic nation like Afghanistan.
After 2002, drug production and trade grew by leaps. CIA introduced latest drug production and transportation tehniques to Afghanistan, learned from CIA operations in South America.
CIA also recruited all the main Afghan drug barons. Almost all of them are on CIA’s payroll, or were so until early 2010.
Some of these AFghan drug barons were actually rewarded. CIA recommended some of them to US government and military as legitimate powerbrokers who deserved a share in the Kabul government.
This is one facet of the multidimensional role that CIA played in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2010 to distrub regional balance of power and pursue US strategtic interests beyond the immediate goals of America’s war on terror.