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Operation Cyclone involved the training of Islamic militants in Pakistan, with the assistance of Osama bin Laden, for insertion into Afghanistan for the purpose of undermining its then left-leaning secular government. A primary goal, as President Carter’s chief foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski explained, was to lure the Soviet Union to intervene and give the Soviet government “its own Vietnam”.
Afghanistan was not the only target for the Islamic militants trained in Pakistan with US and Saudi money. It was also aimed at the predominantly Islamic republics of the USSR to the north of Afghanistan and also the western region of China. Gladio B is the modern incarnation of this policy, with ISIS being a particularly prominent contemporary example.
That this process might destroy whole civil societies is met with a casual indifference by its progenitors. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s view that what were a “few stirred up Muslims” compared to the collapse of the Soviet Union is one example. Madeleine Albright’s view that half a million dead old people and children as a direct consequence of US sanctions and bombings in Iraq between 1991 and 2003 was “worth it” as a price for containing Saddam Hussein was another chilling illustration.