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Context of '1995: Taliban Allies with Organized Crime in Pakistan Border Down'

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The Taliban, while just starting to take over Afghanistan, forms an important alliance with a powerful mafia of truck transporters based in Quetta, Pakistan (near the Afghanistan border) and Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Rashid 2001, pp. 22) The transporters pay hefty fees to the Taliban, who, in return, suppress any local warlords who interfere with the mafia’s trade. Additionally, the Taliban ensures that roads are kept open so that the transporters can operate freely. Taliban expert and author Ahmed Rashid argues that the alliance between the Taliban and the Quetta mafia becomes so successful that it ultimately destabilizes not only Afghanistan, but Pakistan as well. (Rashid 2001, pp. 191-195)

With the chances of a pipeline deal with the Taliban looking increasingly unlikely, President Clinton finally issues an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. The order also freezes the Taliban’s US assets. Clinton blames the Taliban for harboring bin Laden. (CNN 7/6/1999; US President 7/12/1999)

The Northern Alliance, under the direction of General Dostum and with US support, manage to break through the Taliban line in Kunduz, eventually leading to the surrender of Taliban forces. (United States of America v. John Walker Lindh 6/13/2002 pdf file)

The Christian Science Monitor reports: “Taliban leaders strut openly around Quetta, Pakistan, where they are provided with offices and government-issued weapons authorization cards; Pakistani army officers are detailed to Taliban training camps; and Pakistani border guards constantly wave self-proclaimed Taliban through checkpoints into Afghanistan.” A Monitor reporter who lives in Kandahar, Afghanistan, notes that the result is that people there “have reached an astonishing conclusion: The United States must be in league with the Taliban… In other words, in a stunning irony, much of this city, the Taliban’s former stronghold, is disgusted with the Americans not because of their Western culture, but because of their apparent complicity with Islamist extremists.” (Regan 5/2/2006) CNN will similarly report in September 2006 that Taliban head Mullah Omar and most other top Taliban leaders are living in Quetta (see September 12, 2006).


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