From 1979-1993, the CIA’s “Project Cyclone” funneled several billion dollars to train and arm the jihadist “mujahideen” in the Soviet-Afghan and Afghan Civil Wars. This began covertly under President Carter, and was greatly expanded under the Reagan Doctrine, which mandated the aid of anti-Soviet resistance movements abroad. The intent was to first prevent Soviet aggression, then later drain Soviet resources in a proxy war.
“That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
CIA strategy was to use a broad mix of weapons, tactics, logistics, and training programs to enhance the jihadists’ ability to fight a guerilla war against the Soviets. This included the CIA-financed construction of a network of tunnels on the Eastern front of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, who was a civil engineer and heir to a Saudi construction empire, was directly involved in its construction.
Tora Bora was a fortress of snow-capped peaks, steep valleys and fortified caves. Its miles of tunnels, bunkers and base camps, dug deeply into the steep rock walls, had been part of a C.I.A.-financed complex built for the mujahedeen. Bin Laden had flown in dozens of bulldozers and other pieces of heavy equipment from his father’s construction empire, the Saudi Binladin Group, one of the most prosperous construction companies in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Persian Gulf.
Soon after the Soviet-Afghan War, the US stopped providing aid to the mujahideen. Coupled with the outbreak of the Gulf War and US military involvement in Saudi Arabia, it was widely speculated that this had created a widespread anti-American sentiment amongst the Afghan veterans. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the CIA expressed belief that many mujahideen were now using the equipment and training they had provided against the US.
It discovered that several of those charged with the World Trade Centre bombing and the New York landmarks bombings were former Afghan veterans, recruited through the Brooklyn-based organisation. Many of those the US had trained and recruited for a war were still fighting: but now it was against America. A confidential CIA internal survey concluded that it was “partly culpable” for the World Trade Centre bomb, according to reports at the time. There had been blowback.
Recently, headlines were made as the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in the underground tunnels of the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. In regards to source article’s claim, the CIA did not construct these tunnels, but they paid for and oversaw their construction.