Was Z.A Bhutto behind militant breeding in 70s?
In a common discussion, it is known that Taliban’s were created by United States and Pakistan in 1980s to fight along with Afghans to defeat the Soviet Union which is an incomplete fact.
After the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, Afghanistan’s involvement in the Pashtun and Baluch nationalist movements posed the most active threats to the remainder of Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the Islamists shared a common cause in the Pashtunistan issue. Both opposed Baluch and Pashtun nationalism as well as Afghan territorial claims. Bhutto supported the Islamist’s and their goal of unseating Afghanistan’s progressive pro-socialist government only so far as it served his own efforts to undermine an independent Pashtunistan movement.
It was under the premiership of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1973, when Pakistan harbored and trained 5,000 Islamist guerrillas including Ahmed Shah Massoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in response to Afghanistan’s continues support to Baluchi nationalist insurgents, and its regular calls for independence of the Pashtun tribal belt (KPK and FATA).
At the same time, US had its interests in the region due to Cold War and that brought Pakistan and US together to achieve their interests. Following the 1978 Marxist coup of Nur Mohammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin, the United States supported the Pakistan-trained guerrilla network into a full-blown counterrevolutionary force.
In 1979, when Soviet Union invaded the much destabilized Afghanistan, United States supported the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Throughout the 1980s, US and Saudi increased the aid, whereas Pakistan trained the holy warriors (Islamist Guerrillas) to fight in Afghanistan against the Soviet forces. The narrative of “Jihad” promoted by Pakistan and that led to extreme Islamization in Afghanistan and later in Pakistan.
Following the Soviet pullout in February 1989, the rebels groups continued to battle with Marxist Afghan Government and with each other that resulted into a fall of Marxist Afghan Government. Unfortunately, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan declined any attempt to help and support to establish a broad-based Afghan government.
Instead, continuing the policy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of harboring, aiding and financing the Islamist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan supported an Islamist extreme movement – an Islamic fundamentalist movement known as Taliban. Taliban movement begun in 1994 that spreaded throughout Afghanistan in next couple of years. In 1996, Taliban managed to form a government in Kabul and ruled the Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
In 2014, every Pakistani believes that the policy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that later called Pakistan’s Strategic Depth policy in Afghanistan was a catastrophe that led to killings of thousands of innocents lives along with economic, social and political disaster both in Pakistan and Afghanistan.