While many questions remain unanswered surrounding the reported kidnapping of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, one crucial fact overlooked by the establishment media is not debatable: The Taliban-aligned Haqqani network that held him is closely linked with the Pakistani government’s intelligence agency, which in turn has been a close ally of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the Islamist terror group has at various points been openly supported by the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) since it was founded with U.S. government backing in the mid-1970s — and top American officials know it.
Based on news reports, it appears that Bergdahl was first seized by the Afghan Taliban in the summer of 2009. Those jihadists then reportedly passed him off to the Haqqani network, which operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas. Bergdahl was held for about five years before negotiations between the Obama administration and the terror group ended with a prisoner swap that has stirred a firestorm of controversy. Five Taliban officials held in Guantanamo were exchanged for Bergdahl. Some reports, based on comments by officials, suggest money may have been involved as well.
Numerous unresolved questions remain: Did Bergdahl abandon his post? Did he convert to Islam and declare jihad? Was he on drugs when he allegedly walked off his base in Afghanistan? According to an e-mail he allegedly sent to his parents before disappearing, reported by the late journalist Michael Hastings, Bergdahl had become extremely disillusioned with the U.S. military and the mission in Afghanistan in particular. “The horror that is america is disgusting,” he reportedly wrote in the message to his parents.
Lost amid all the outrage over whether the Obama administration negotiating with terrorists was unlawful or even treasonous, however, have been the known facts about the Haqqani network and the bigger picture. The Islamist outfit was founded by the Haqqani family in the mid-1970s in Afghanistan. Under the guise of countering the Soviet occupation of that nation, the Haqqani network received strong support from the CIA via Pakistan’s ISI. Among other assistance, the U.S. government delivered funding, weapons, and training to the Islamists — supposedly to help them defeat the Soviet Union’s invasion and attempted enslavement of Afghanistan.
Of course, Haqqani was not the only group of radical Islamists in the region developed in conjunction with the CIA and the Pakistani government at the expense of other, more reasonable anti-communist forces. Other beneficiaries of U.S. largesse included the Taliban and al Qaeda, both allied with the Haqqani network. It is now common knowledge — admitted openly even by establishment figures such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — that the U.S. government and its allies largely built the Mujahedin in the region. From providing advanced military training and radical Islamic “education” to stinger missiles and heavy weaponry, the globalist establishment in Washington, D.C., with help from Islamabad, was literally responsible for creating the alleged Islamist threat facing the world today.
In recent years, senior U.S. officials have been openly lambasting the ISI’s ongoing support for Haqqani, which has thousands of fighters and was formally declared to be a terrorist group by the U.S. government in 2012. During 2011 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, for example, then-U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen dropped several bombshells shortly before retiring. “The Haqqani network ... acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” he told lawmakers, adding that the operatives who had recently conducted several high-profile attacks on U.S. troops and the American embassy in Kabul did so “with ISI support.”
Ironically, though, while refusing to mention it directly, Mullen then hinted at something that, if explained, would undoubtedly leave Americans outraged. “In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes … the prospect of our strategic partnership,” Mullen continued. Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta echoed those comments, calling for the U.S. government to apply “pressure” on Islamabad over the issue of financing and supporting Haqqani and other radical Islamists.
In other words, because the ISI and the Pakistani military are backing a group that is attacking and killing U.S. troops and personnel, America “might” have to reconsider its extensive support for the Pakistani government. Already one of the U.S. government’s top recipients of foreign aid — including billions in military aid — critics, officials, lawmakers, and analysts said Islamabad has essentially been using American taxpayer funds to attack U.S. interests. The year before Mullen’s testimony, for example, the Pakistani government received almost $5 billion in U.S. aid. Even after the ongoing support for Haqqani was openly exposed, Obama was lobbying to increase the aid budget for Islamabad. By 2013, after a brief hiatus, billions were again flowing.
Aside from funding Haqqani indirectly via the ISI and Islamabad, the U.S. government has also been funneling taxpayer funds to its supposed Islamist enemies in Afghanistan more directly. Last summer, for instance, a report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) exposed the fact that dozens of “supporters of the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and al Qaeda” were on the U.S. military’s payroll for various “government contracts.” The report recommended immediately severing all ties with the forces battling U.S. troops, but the military refused, citing, ironically, “due process rights.”
“I am deeply troubled that the U.S. military can pursue, attack, and even kill terrorists and their supporters, but that some in the U.S. government believe we cannot prevent these same people from receiving a government contract,” observed SIGAR lead inspector John Sopko. “I feel such a position is not only legally wrong, it is contrary to good public policy and contrary to our national security goals in Afghanistan.... I continue to urge you to change this faulty policy and enforce the rule of common sense in the Army’s suspension and debarment program.”
Indeed, brazen U.S. government funding for its supposed enemies in Afghanistan has been an ongoing problem. A 2011 U.S. military report into American taxpayer funding for the Taliban, led by then-U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, revealed at least $360 million in U.S. funds flowing to insurgents in the war. In all, hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars supposedly allocated for “reconstruction” and other government contracts — maybe more — have ended up funding the insurgency in Afghanistan; the same insurgency that the U.S. government has ordered American troops to fight and die against.
After almost a decade of fighting the Taliban and other forces in Afghanistan, though, the Obama administration shocked the world in late 2010 by announcing that the Taliban were no longer enemies. Instead, Obama said, they would be welcome in the Afghan government provided they rejected al-Qaeda — another U.S. government creation, along with its purported mastermind, Osama bin Laden, who was funded, armed, and trained by Western governments throughout the 1980s.
More recently, the Obama administration has, according to analysts, “switched sides” in the terror war. In Libya, for example, under the purported authority of the United Nations, NATO and the U.S. government became allies with multiple known al-Qaeda organizations such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. The supposed goal was to oust former U.S. terror-war ally Muammar Gadhafi from power. After succeeding, Islamic radicals armed and trained by the Obama administration — including many of the same individuals and organizations that had been fighting U.S. forces for a decade — seized power in Tripoli. Now, what remains of the nation is again engulfed in civil war.
In Syria, meanwhile, Obama has also been backing an al-Qaeda-linked insurgency to depose another former U.S. terror-war ally, the Assad regime. Over the last week, many of those same jihadists benefiting from Western and Arab aid have been flooding into Iraq, seizing control of multiple cities and towns and still pushing toward Baghdad. In the Iraqi capital, the new regime installed after the U.S. invasion and occupation is now closely allied with the Islamic regime in Tehran — another supposed U.S. government enemy that the establishment apparently wants to obliterate.
If all of that sounds insane and even criminal, it should. Rather than admitting “error” and begging for forgiveness, however, the Obama administration and the establishment have continued to shower weapons and taxpayer funding on radical Islamists across the Middle East — all while purporting to fight them at the same time. The solution, however, is not picking a different faction, terror group, or dictator to support or overthrow. Instead, Congress should cut off all foreign aid, restrain the Obama administration, obey the Constitution, and pursue a foreign policy of non-intervention as recommended by the Founding Fathers.
Video image at top, obtained via AP from Voice Of Jihad Website, shows Taliban guarding Bergdahl in vehicle: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at