Report from Pakistan
The U.S. has long supported military dictators in Pakistan from Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf. In the 1980s Washington struck a Faustian bargain with Gen Zia ul-Haq, a tyrant who overthrew and then executed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir. In return for Zia’s support for the Afghan mujahiddin fighting the Soviets, the U.S. and its Saudi allies pumped in billions of dollars and tons of weapons into Pakistan. All of that aid was funneled through the Pakistani military and its Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI. The latter favored such jihadi extremists as the notorious Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. It was during this period that there was an enormous growth of madrasas, Islamic schools in Pakistan, and the development of fundamentalist formations inside the country. The legacy of that jihad directly connects with much of the instability in Pakistan today.
Interview by David Barsamian.
Rahimullah Yusufzai was an award-winning Pakistani journalist, best known for his interviews with Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Based in Peshawar, he was considered an expert on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. He was an editor of The News International and he also reported for BBC, ABC and GEO TV. He died in 2021