FILE PHOTO: Taliban militants use US-made Stinger missiles to hijack an Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar, Afghanistan, December 30, 1999 © Reuters
The fact that the CIA armed the same Afghan militants who now kill US troops is not a conspiracy theory, and the agency was roasted after it took to Twitter to boast about its covert 1980s arms shipments to jihadists.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, the CIA proudly displayed a shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger missile launcher. The launcher, the post read, “supplied by the United States gave Afghan guerrillas, generally known as the Mujahideen, the ability to destroy the dreaded Mi-24D helicopter gunships deployed by the Soviets to enforce their control over Afghanistan.”
Operation Cyclone was one of the CIA’s longest and most expensive covert operations, and saw the agency covertly funnel arms and money to Afghan Mujahideen fighters, who in the early 1980s were waging a guerilla campaign against invading Soviet forces. The program continued through the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as the US insisted the Mujahideen were “freedom fighters.”
These “freedom fighters,” who counted Osama Bin Laden as an ally, would eventually morph into the Taliban, a group the US has now been fighting against in Afghanistan for nearly two decades. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton admitted in 2010 that “the people we are fighting today, we funded 20 years ago,” adding that arming jihadists sounded “like a good idea” at the time.
Of course, the CIA opted not to include this information in their self-congratulatory tweet. Instead, commenters pointed it out for them, mocking the agency along the way. “This is why you should believe nearly everything the CIA is accused of around the world,” one wrote. “Because 20 years later they’ll just admit to it.”