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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasAfghanistan: US 'war on terror' really began in 1945

Afghanistan: US ‘war on terror’ really began in 1945

Author: Joseph Massad

Affiliation: Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University

Organization/Publisher: The Middle East Eye

Date/Place: August 30, 2021/UK

Type of Literature: Opinion  

Word Count: 1876


Keywords: USA, Afghanistan, War on Terror, and Counter-Revolution 


The author provides details on how the US ‘war on terror’ actually started in 1945. Since World War II, the US has been launching wars to affirm its imperial power costing millions of lives. Many revolutionary movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America defeated pro-Western regimes to accomplish social and economic democracy, which was suppressed by the US as well as European colonial powers. Joseph Massad argues that when the US began its military invasions, Afghanistan was a unique country because it bordered the USSR. The author shows how the US attempted to use Islam to fight against the Soviets; for instance, the US supported right-wing Indonesian Muslim religious groups against the Indonesian Communist Party. As part of the US’s strategy, President Eisenhower declared in 1957 that the US would assist any country in the Middle East endangered by communism. Thus, Eisenhower’s administration was supporting the Saudis as a counterbalance to Gamal Abdel Nasser. The author concludes that the US and CIA involvement in Afghanistan started in the 1960s and that the US’s policy led to the creation of the Taliban as a means to fight the Soviet Union. Instead of learning from the past, the Western liberal press focuses on lamenting the weakening of the US empire and criticizing Biden for his weak imperialist leadership.      


By: Fadi Zatari, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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