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tv   Students of War - The Rise of...  BBC News  September 14, 2021 2:30am-3:01am BST

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new bbc analysis has shown the world is seeing more extreme heat in more places, with a significant increase in the number of days temperatures around the world are hitting 50 degrees. the research also highlights nations where the oil industry is accused of adding to the problem. more than $1 billion of global aid has been pledged for afghanistan after a un call for urgent action to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. secretary general antonio guterres said its people are facing perhaps their most perilous hour, following the taliban takeover of the country. the us secretary of state anthony blinken has faced intense questioning in congress over the withdrawal of troops from afghanistan. during a fractious session of the house foreign affairs committee, mr blinken defended america's withdrawal from the country. now on bbc news, yalda
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hakim examines the rise of the taliban after the soviet occupation of afghanistan. back in control. after nearly 20 years of conflict, thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars spent, the taliban has seen off the us, nato and their afghan allies. a stunning success for them and another superpower humbled in the streets and fields of afghanistan. but to understand these events and the origins of the taliban, we need to go back to the cold war.
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the bloody aftermath of the soviet occupation set the ground for a new force to emerge. they were really seen as angels, these young angels who had arrived to save the country. on december 27th, 1979, soviet special forces
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stormed the presidential palace in kabul. the president, hafizullah amin was killed. this was the start of the soviet invasion of afghanistan. the soviets had invaded to shore up the communist government. afghanistan's communists had taken power in a coup in 1978, but opposition to the radical modernisation programme, together with internal communist party squabbling, had resulted in crisis. moscow ran out of patience.
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after assassinating president amin, soviet forces poured into afghanistan and occupied the major cities. this was the first time in the cold war that a regular armed force, tanks, jet fighters, was crossing into another country and occupying it. now, if they had their own jet
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fighters, at the air force base in bagram and herat, they could have control of the persian gulf and the world's oil supply. afghanistan's soviet installed leader, babrak karmal, continued the previous policy. mass education and more freedom for women remains a priority. many saw it as a positive. for many in afghanistan's traditional conservative
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society, these changes were not welcome, nor the brutal way the government imposed them. hundreds of thousands abandoned afghanistan. refugee camps mushroomed
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alongside the borders inside pakistan and iran. the camps became a recruiting ground for the mujahideen — the holy warriors. in february 1980, president carter's security adviser zbigniew brzezinski visited
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the refugee camps along the afghan—pakistan border. the refugee camps along that land over there is yours. the refugee camps along you'll go back to it one day, because yourfight will prevail, and you'll have your homes, your mosques back again, because your cause is right and god is on your side. as more and more afghans were brought over the border into pakistan, a lot of them did not want to stay in pakistan as refugees, they wanted to go back and fight, but they wanted weapons to go and do it with, and other kinds of assistance. that was an opportunity that president carter took advantage of. the americans knew the local arms industry could never supply the demand for weapons, and with the saudis matching the american contribution dollar for dollar, the mujahideen started
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to get better equipment. we begin to procure weapons, import them and get them to pakistan, where the pakistani army built the beginning of what grew into an enormous support structure to receive weapons that would come in by sea, move them to the borders, get them to camps, in some instances train mujahideen, who would then take the weapons inside afghanistan and attack the soviets. all the weapons that we gave them were made, most of them were made in communist countries, we just bought them from the communists and then sent them into afghanistan. they used polish aks, czechoslovakian aks, hungarian aks, chinese aks, everybody�*s aks, and within a year of beginning the programme, we had armed about 400,000 mujahideen.
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peshawar in pakistan became a centre for the numerous competing mujahideen groups and their international supporters. weapons were pouring in, and the distribution was controlled by the pakistan
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intelligence service, the isi. the isi gave out bullet per bullet to their favourites. and who were their favourites? but the most ruthless and hardline islamists. this was a way for the pakistani army to really exert its influence inside afghanistan, because what they hoped eventually was that the islamists would win and the soviets would leave, and pakistan would have its proxies inside kabul. the mujahideen, with better weapons and knowledge of the terrain, were not an easy force to defeat. the afghan government and the soviets controlled the main cities and communication routes. but vast tracts of the country were beyond their control.
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for four years after the soviet invasion, the war raged on. during this time, much of the afghan army deserted or defected to the mujahideen, but neither side was winning. ismail khan was a mujahideen commander in the north—west of afghanistan.
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in 1985, president ronald reagan decided to expand us aid to the afghan guerrillas. the mujahideen were to be given a sophisticated new weapon — the stinger, a portable land to air missile. meanwhile in moscow, the soviet union had a new leader, mikhail gorbachev prepared
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to embark on a programme of reforms he hoped would revitalise the soviet union. one of his main aims was to get soviet troops out of afghanistan. gorbachev first replaced karmal with a new leader, mohammad najibullah, the hated former head of the secret police. he also agreed to peace talks. the united nations peace talks in geneva began in 1986, aiming to end the war. americans wanted mujahideen involvement. the soviets insisted the communist afghan government remain. the soviets insisted on supporting the afghan communists, which was then president najibullah, and they said they would continue supporting with food and weapons. so the americans had turned around and said, if you're going to do that, we're going to continue supporting the afghan mujahideen.
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so, ok, you leave and the afghan mujahideen and the afghan communists will continue fighting each other, this was essentially it. so geneva didn't bring peace, i mean, there was no illusion about that. geneva was not going to bring peace. it was only a cover basically for the soviets to leave. on february 15, 1989, the last soviet troops left afghanistan. the soviets left behind them a country devastated. they had lost 15,000 men, but one million afghans had been killed and over four million wounded. five million had fled
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the country as refugees. altogether, one quarter of the afghan population was displaced by the war. and the fighting still continued. the mujahideen and the communist regime in kabul were locked in stalemate. in 1991, a failed coup in moscow brought about the collapse of the soviet union, and the russians stopped funding their communist proxies in kabul. with the soviet union no more,
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america stopped supplying arms to the mujahideen. our goals had not been, really, to build a new afghanistan and our own internal debate over what's the future of the soviet union affected our strategy towards the afghan resistance. we decided to abandon the afghan resistance. and to focus, really, on recovering the stinger missiles and taking them out of the hands of possible future terrorist attacks. with the us and soviets gone, the field was left open for others to exert their influence. the pakistanis were backing gulbuddin hekmatyar to come into power. the iranians and the indians were backing rabbani and massoud. the un was trying to put together a coalition government
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with communist elements, as well as mujahideen elements. so everybody was doing their own thing. by 1992, two of the strongest mujahideen parties were closing in on kabul. those coming down from the north were led by ahmad shah massoud. his bitter rival gulbuddin hekmatyar was moving up from the south—east. najibullah's government collapsed and he took shelter in the united nations compound in the city. on 25th april, 1992, hekmatyar and massoud's men both entered kabul. massoud and hekmatyar now fought for control in the streets of kabul. hekmatyar�*s men were forced out of the city and took up positions in the hills,
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and started shelling the capital. burhanuddin rabbani was the leader in waiting of the new islamic government. there had long been attempts
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internally to bring about a broad mujahideen coalition, but all efforts had failed. for the next four years the country was torn apart by inter—factional fighting. in kabul, thousands were killed in indiscriminate bombing. with chaos and anarchy across afghanistan, a new force emerged on the scene.
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radical islamist students known as the taliban joined the fight for control of the country. the taliban came with a very simple message. they said, we will bring peace, we will disarm the population, which is exactly what the public wanted — in other words, disarm the warlords. and we will then refer to our elders and we will liberate the country and we will then, we will not take power ourselves, we will call a jirga, which is a tribal council, of all the elders of the country and they will decide who should rule the country. the taliban had been trained in schools or madrassas in pakistan, which had been funded by saudi arabia. they swept into southern afghanistan and took kandahar with little resistance.
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they were really seen as, you know, angels. these young angels who'd arrived to save the country. but any thoughts that the taliban were angelic young idealists soon faded. two more years of vicious fighting followed, including a ten—month bombardment of kabul before the taliban finally took the capital on 27th september, 1996. the taliban couldn't be defeated because they had enormous military support from pakistan, saudi arabia, all the gulf states, and arabs were extremely ruthless, brutal fighters and gave them a whole new dimension, new tactics — a new, you know, kind
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of weaponry and retrained them. by the time they reached kabul, the leadership of the taliban is saying, we will seize power, we will rule this country. the first act as victors was the torture and execution of former communist leader najibullah and his brother, whose bodies were hanged from a lamppost. within 2a hours, the taliban imposed a strict interpretation of islamic law. they banned all women from work, which led to the health service and schools almost completely closing down. they enforced a strict dress code, with head to toe cover for women, and men ordered to grow beards. music and art were banned. thieves had their hands
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and feet amputated. adulterers were stoned to death. anyone drinking liquor faced the lash. 20 years after the communists had taken power in kabul in an armed coup, afghanistan was being run by a group of extreme islamists. just as the soviets had wanted to make afghanistan a bastion of world communism, now the taliban's most extreme arab supporters, al-qaeda, wanted to use the country as a base to launch their internationaljihad.
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the al-qaeda attacks on us soil would soon lead to another great power becoming directly engaged in afghanistan. america, with bombers, special forces, and money, supported the mujahideen groups who had continued to fight the taliban, united as the northern alliance. it took just five weeks of fighting for the
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alliance to reach kabul. and on 12th november, 2001, they took the city. the taliban and al-qaeda fled to the mountains. today, after 20 years of western intervention in afghanistan, countless deaths, and trillions of dollars spent, history has turned full circle. the taliban are back in power. many afghans now fear a dark and uncertain future, while the us and western allies have left the field humiliated by just a few tens of thousands of modestly armed fighters. afghanistan, so long the site for proxy wars between nations, militias, and terrorist groups, faces a new chapter
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in its turbulent history. hello there. a very changeable week coming up. today looks like it'll be very wet in places, some heavy rain for parts of england and wales. and then, for wednesday and thursday, it looks drier — thanks to a ridge of high pressure — before more rain arrives for friday, particularly across western areas. so this complicated tangle of weather fronts spreading out from the south will bring this heavy rain to our shores. the rain further north will tend to be light and patchy, and fizzle out — but it's parts of east wales, central, southern, and eastern england which will see the heaviest of the downpours, some thunder and lightning mixed into that as it pushes its way northwards and eastwards.
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but brightening up further south and further west into the afternoon, perhaps 1—2 showers here. but temperatures will be disappointing when we have that cloud and rain. that rain eventually clears its away into the north sea during tuesday night, leaving a legacy of cloud, some mist and murk, a few showers for the northwest corner of the country. otherwise, for most, it'll be dry and temperatures range from 9—13 celsius. so from midweek wednesday, especially thursday, it'll be mainly dry with some sunny spells.
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welcome to bbc news — i'm david eades. our top stories. more extreme heat in more places — bbc analysis shows how the world is hitting 50 celcius time and again. we have a special report from nigeria, where the oil industry is accused of adding to the problem. more than a billion dollars of global aid pledged for afghanistan — as the un calls for urgent action to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. the people of afghanistan need a lifeline. after decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour. now is the time for the international community to stand with them, and let us be clear, this conference the us secretary of state defends america's withdrawal from the country — saying staying longer would not have improved anything. if 20 years and hundreds
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of billions of dollars of support, equipment and training did not suffice,


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