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Haider's Pre-9fll Awareness of al Qaida and Contact with the Taliban:
Before 9-11, Haider said, he did not hear much about al Qaida, what information he did have about the
organization was mostly connected to its presence in Afghanistan. He knew that the organization
comprised the several thousand Arabs who flocked to Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet Jihad.
Haider has overall responsibility for internal security in the province of Sindh. This includes Karachi, the
largest city in Pakistan and the commercial heart of the country. He said the situation in his province was'
common knowledge. The position of Pakistan was a matter for policymakers in Islamabad.
lSI was responsible for what happened next. The Pakistanis brought the Taliban and AQ to Afghanistan.
He remembered.there was a UN envoy and an American deputy (Charlie Santos) trying to settle the
conflict. Pakistan helped the Taliban attack. He was at a meeting in Balochistan when the Taliban
attacked. He .and his colleagues went to the UN envoy and said: They are attacking Kandahar while we
are negotiating! They did nothing. President Karzai's father was there too. (Staff note: Pakistani/Taliban
propaganda has been circulating a disinformation story linking UNOCAL and Charlie Santos with the
CIA inl:story blaming the US for Afghanistan's misfortunes.)
rt~'~idthat now we have a good government. Don't tum away and leave us. The US has promised.
~e keep the promise.
The first speaker emphasized the importance of the meeting, H.~leftameeting with President Karzai to
come, getting the President's permission. We win never forget 9/11. It has brought our nations close in
the shared loss of life from the same-enemy, "Vv(eare now blood brothers.rOn 9/9 they lost their great
leader, Ahmed Shah Masood. Th~ri'came 9/l1/They all looked forward to what countries have promised
- the rebuilding of Afghanistan./....,' """""" ""',
After the Russians withdrew, Afghans were forgotten. We became a playground for terrorists and drug
traffickers. Don't leave usalone again! The terrorists must be eliminatedhere and in theneighboring
country (meaning Pakistan), If not, they'll come back. The Afghan people are grateful. Theyknow their
friends from their enemies.'
AI-Qaida trained the Taliban. Usama bin Ladin provided
money to Mullah Ornar and the Taliban in general. The
Taliban also made money through narcotics trafficking. He
said that al-Qaida was "allied mentally, philosophically,
religiously, and emotionally with the Taliban."
Khalili thought that the al-Qaida/Taliban brew. was a lethal
threat not only to the region but also to the west and in
particular the U.S; "These people were your enemies," he
said, "~hen you didn't even know it."
When the Soviet propped up regime ofNajibullah was falling, the Paks saw that the Nothern Alliance
was in a dominant position contrary to their plans for the HIG. The NA's successes got their attention
and they directed the Arabs to attack in the north. During this period of fighting, roughly 1994, the Paks
began to support the formation of the Taliban in Quetta. When the NA defeated the HIG they began to
rely more on the Taliban as their surrogates in Afghanistan. It was about at this time that Usama bin
Laden was in charge of the Arabs fighting in the north, just outside of Kabul.
The Minister welcomed the delegation. Mr. Zelikow asked if there was anything the US could have done
diplomatically to influence the Taliban prior to 9-11? The Minister identified three groups that formed
the Taliban prior to 9-11: core extremists groomed by Pakistan to take over the country, this group was
closest to al Qa'ida and worked through intermediaries like the lSI; moderate Taliban who were willing
at times to negotiate; and a group that joined because of the Taliban's power in the country.
Rashid is one of the outstanding journalists covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central
Asia. His book, Taliban, is the leading book on that subject. He is based in Lahore and
flew to Islamabad for this dinner. For years he has been one of the informed people that
policymakers talk with, so he also has some insights on the development of US policy.
Picking up themes from his book, but going beyond it, Rashid traced Pakistani support
for the Taliban to the earlier days of the movement, while it was still building in
Kandahar province and well before the capture of Kabul in September 1996. He felt that
the significance of UBL and his anti-American agenda was not appreciated until 1998.
Balochistan sees itself as the principal victim of Afghanistan's problems, Naser said.
Look at the drug problem, he said. 4,500 tons of poppy from Afghanistan come through
Pakistan. Look at the rate of addiction. Profits from this trade go toward buying
weapons, weapons that get into the hands of dissidents. It is Afghanistan we blame for
this state of affairs.
Zelikow said that U.S. military officers had told us that they are finding Baloch
extremists in Kandahar. "We have a 1200-mile border with Afghanistan," Naser said,
"we can't control this whole thing."
Only after the US began discussing Usama bin Laden did the Ministry become aware of
UBL and that the region, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was somehow involved. UBL was
not known in Pakistan. He is an eccentric Saudi and was not understood by most people.
There is confusion about several issues in the western media.
For example, anyone who might have fought in Afghanistan is now being called
al Qai'da in this country. But there were many people who fought against the
Soviets who settled in Peshawar or the surrounding regions. After the Soviets
left, many of them help with the rebuilding efforts of Afghanistan until they too
were thrown out by the fighting and the Taliban.