The excerpt quoted below is from the intro to the latest (2004) reprint:
"The USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was deliberately provoked. In his 1996 memoirs, former CIA director Robert Gates writes that the American intelligence services actually began to aid the mujahideen guerillas in Afghanistan not after the Soviet invasion of that country, but six months before it. And in a 1998 interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, former president Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, unambiguously confirmed Gates's assertion.
"According to the official version of history," Brzezinski told the Nouvel Observateur, "CIA aid to the mujuhideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979.
I don't remember seeing any of this in the feel-good movie Charlie Wilson's War. You know, the Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts movie where a renegade Texas Congressman finally goes through unlikely back channels to get them Afghan Boys some fundin'.
But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. and that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."
When asked whether he regretted these actions, Brzezinski replied:
"Regret what? 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."Brzezinski, Carter, and their successors in the Regan administration, including George H.W. Bush, Gates, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Armitage, and Powell - none of whom has come forward to draw attention to this history - all vear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well as the "collateral damage" that befell New York City in September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance.
Nouvel Oservateur: "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"