Afghanistan’s Untold Story
When the Soviet Union crossed their southern border and invaded Afghanistan at Christmas of 1979, few outside the national security establishment of the major western capitals understood the game of deception at play. Dramatized as the greatest threat to peace since World War II by President Jimmy Carter, Afghanistan rolled the clock back thirty years on U.S./Soviet relations, justified the largest buildup of American force since World War II and paved the way for Ronald Reagan’s “conservative revolution” that changed the face of the American economy and its politics.
Absent from the news media coverage of Afghanistan throughout the 1980’s and after was any hint that Afghanistan had for years been at the center of a multinational intrigue that saw the United States and its allies (known by insiders as the Chinese-Iranian-Pakistani-Arabian peninsula Axis) plotting to undermine Afghanistan’s sovereignty while using it as a stepping stone for control of Central Asia.
Following the events of September 11, 2001 Afghanistan would again drastically shift the foundation of American politics, while advancing a foreign policy devoted to endless war and military budgets even larger and more ruinous than those of the 1980’s.
As told by the first Americans to pierce the media blackout surrounding the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1981, our book reveals the shocking story of how American policy transformed Afghanistan from a Cold War buffer state into a secure multi-billion dollar technological training base for Islamic terrorism while setting the stage for a privatized heroin industry of historic proportions. The true story of how America’s policy makers undermined American security from within, Invisible History, Afghanistan’s Untold Story provides the sobering facts and details that every American should have known about America’s secret war, but were never told
The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire
In its long history, the region today delineated as both Afghanistan and Pakistan has known many borders, yet none have been more important to American security than the one today separating Pakistan from Afghanistan known as the Durand line but referred to by the military and intelligence community as Zero line.
The United States has fought on both sides of the Durand line: In the 1980s on the side of extremist-political Islam from Pakistan and since September 11, 2001, against it from the Afghan side. A funny thing happened to the United States when the Obama administration decided to cross Zero line again and bring the Afghan war into Pakistan. Instead of resolution, after years into the administration’s AfPak strategy, it would seem the gap between reality and the Washington beltway has only widened. If the Obama administration had set out to correct the mistakes of the past, it would now appear that Washington’s effort to defeat the Taliban has instead turned full circle into a plan to openly embrace them.
As advertised since 9/11, Al Qaeda is the number one justification for America’s “war on terror.” But the ongoing efforts by both the United States and Pakistan to bring Al Qaeda- aligned Taliban militants into the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai reveal that the justification for the AfPak war is not what it appears. Negotiating with Al Qaeda controlled militants on the AfPak border completely undercuts the raison d’etre for America’s ten year “war on terror.” How can the U.S. be making war on a sworn enemy and its terror allies and at the same time embrace them as a resolution?
Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire lays out the bizarre and often paralyzing contradictions of America’s AfPak strategy by clarifying the complex web of interests and individuals surrounding the AfPak war and focusing on the little understood importance of the Durand Line to any resolution to the Afghan conflict.
Afghanistan Between Three Worlds - a documentary
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, the entire corps of 1136 Western journalists was expelled, leaving what President Jimmy Carter called the "the greatest threat to peace since the second World War," shielded in secrecy from Western eyes. In 1981, the Afghan government granted us exclusive permission to spend 10 days inside the country. What our camera saw and reported in an exclusive news story for CBS News was a country desperate to survive the vice-like grip of superpower confrontation while building a modern identity from the mire, violence and confusion of its feudal past. Aired on the PBS network from 1982 to 1983, Afghanistan Between Three Worlds stands today as the only documentary of its kind to challenge the monolithic Cold War images of the era by casting its focus on a different facet of the Afghan war. It is a witness to what might have been had diplomacy prevailed and to one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. Click here to watch the one hour documentary.
A Woman in Exile Returns - a documentary
As the first Afghan refugee to come to the US in 1978, Sima Wali transformed herself from victim to advocate. As President of Refugee Women in Development (RefWID, Inc.) she worked for decades to empower uprooted women around the world to assert their rights. In 2002 we filmed Sima's first return to Kabul since her exile. As a human rights expert for the empowerment of refugee women, Sima went to run a capacity building workshop for indigenous Afghan women-led organizations. As a woman in exile herself, Sima also went to reconnect to the ground of her own empowerment as a young women growing up in Afghanistan. The Woman in Exile Returns gave audiences the chance to discover the message of one of Afghanistan's most articulate voices and her hopes for her people. Click here to watch the 1 hour documentary
The Voice - a novel
After years of facing a wall of both Soviet and American disinformation surrounding the war in Afghanistan, we began to explore the motivations behind the war and the reasons for America's backing of a holy Jihad against the Soviet Union. The very idea had seemed unfathomable in 1979, but as we approached the millennium it began to take on Apocalyptic overtones. It seemed America's holy war was more than it had appeared to be at its origins and had evolved throughout the Reagan years into a full blown expression of Christian millennialism. After years of struggling with Afghanistan's tragic story, our novel the Voice stood as our explanation of the tragedy, how it linked to the distant past and how that past would soon be reawakened, presaging, if not predicting the events of 9/11. You can buy the book and read about our motivations for writing The Voice at grailwerk.com.
Other Works We Contributed To
Samira Goetschel’s film Our own Private Bin Laden highlights the historical background that led to the fatal link between post-Cold War politics and the emergence of new forms of terrorism that succeeded in establishing their own economy. It traces the connection between privatization, deregulation and free market and the globalization of terrorism. The film examines the complicity between economic structures of "terror" and "the war on terror," their inter-dependencies, and the creation of the Bin Laden industry as a consequence. The film explains why the world after September 11, 2001 is less the result of a stray act of terror but the consequence of a series of fatal decisions made from 1945 onwards.
Kathleen Foster’s film Afghan Woman: A History of Struggle is a feature-length documentary that captures the resilience and courage of a group of remarkable women who risk their lives daily to stand up for their rights. Rare archival footage illustrates the disturbing and amazing stories of their struggle for equality, reflected in the history of this Central Asian country during the past quarter-century of political turmoil. The women shed light on the little-known story of the last battle of the Cold War that was played out on Afghan soil, and the role of the CIA in the creation of the terrorist groups that plague the world today. The film goes inside a women's prison and records the drafting of an Afghan Women's Bill of Rights by women from across Afghanistan at a conference in Kandahar in 2003. In scenes like these, women debunk the commonly-held myth that the U.S. intervention and the fall of the Taliban brought Afghan women freedom, and expose "Operation Freedom" as a euphemism for U.S. domination of the region with its oil and gas reserves.
Beyond Borders Thinking Critically About Global Issues by Paula Rothenberg
Beyond Borders provides a series of articles drawn from a variety of disciplines, written by scholars, activists, and policymakers from around the world—all carefully presented in historical perspective. While other texts focus on specific events, issues, or regions, Beyond Borders provides a wide array of selections that explore the dynamic complexities of life in our global villages
Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future
Edited by Sunita Mehta, this groundbreaking collection traces the history of women's rights and roles in Afghanistan over the past 30 years; it examines the current human rights crisis, and suggests realistic solutions for post-war Afghanistan.