U.S. policy towards Taliban influenced by oil
Julio Godoy, Inter Press Service
PARIS, Nov 15 (IPS)--Under the influence of U.S. oil companies, the government of George W. Bush initially blocked U.S. secret service investigations on terrorism, while it bargained with the Taliban the delivery of Osama bin Laden in exchange for political recognition and economic aid, two French intelligence analysts claim.
In the book Bin Laden, la verit‚ interdite (Bin Laden, the forbidden truth), that appeared in Paris on Wednesday, the authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation's deputy director John O'Neill resigned in July in protest over the obstruction.
Brisard claim O'Neill told them that "the main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it."
The two claim the U.S. government's main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia.
They affirm that until August, the U.S. government saw the Taliban regime "as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia," from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
Until now, says the book, "the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that."
But, confronted with Taliban's refusal to accept U.S. conditions, "this rationale of energy security changed into a military one," the authors claim.
"At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, 'either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs'," Brisard said in an interview in Paris.
According to the book, the government of Bush began to negotiate with the Taliban immediately after coming into power in February. U.S. and Taliban diplomatic representatives met several times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad.
To polish their image in the United States, the Taliban even employed a U.S. expert on public relations, Laila Helms. The authors claim that Helms is also an expert in the works of U.S. secret services, for her uncle, Richard Helms, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The last meeting between U.S. and Taliban representatives took place in August, five weeks before the attacks on New York and Washington, the analysts maintain.
On that occasion, Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for the U.S. government, met the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad.
Brisard and Dasquie have long experience in intelligence analysis. Brisard was until the late 1990s director of economic analysis and strategy for Vivendi, a French company. He also worked for French secret services, and wrote for them in 1997 a report on the now famous Al Qaeda network, headed by bin Laden.
Dasquie is an investigative journalist and publisher of Intelligence Online, a respected newsletter on diplomacy, economic analysis and strategy, available through the Internet.
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