Just ten years ago, the name of Osama bin Laden was known to the majority of the world's population. Since his alleged liquidation in 2011, his personality started to fade away into history. And since this is a history blog, this article will cover the participation of Osama bin Laden in Soviet-Afghan war, the one we specialize on.
Activities Osama bin Laden during Soviet Afghan War
After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, Bin Laden used his money and connections to help the mujahideen, who were Muslim rebels fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. His former university lecturer from Jeddah, Abdullah Azzam, had relocated to Peshawar, a significant border city in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. Azzam was able to establish opposition directly on the Afghan border from there. The Khyber Pass is only 15 miles east of Peshawar. The Safed Koh mountains connect it to the Hindu Kush range's southeast edge. This path evolved as the principal entry point for foreign combatants and supplies into eastern Afghanistan during the resistance movement against the Soviet Union.
After leaving college early in 1979, bin Laden moved to Peshawar and fought alongside Azzam against the Soviet invasion. According to Rahimullah Yousufzai, Azzam persuaded him to travel and spend his funds to instruct new members. According to Yusufzai, throughout the early 1980s, bin Laden resided in several locations along Arbab Road, a small street located in the western Peshawar district of University Town. Abdullah Azzam's go-to jihad center, according to Reuters' investigation, was the Arab mosque on Gulshan Iqbal Road.
In 1984, bin Laden founded Maktab al-Khadamat alongside Azzam. This outfit, which received funding from Saudi Arabia, sent cash, weapons, and Muslim combatants from around the Arabic world to the Afghan conflict. The money that bin Laden acquired from his family went toward supporting the jihad warriors by paying for lodging and airfare, handling paperwork with the Pakistani government, and doing other tasks through al-Khadamat. According to Rahimullah Yusufzai, during bin Laden's tenure as the head of al-Khadamat, he established a courier network that operated between Peshawar and Afghanistan. After 2001, this network was still in operation. Bin Laden met Ayman al-Zawahiri during this period of time, who would eventually become an al-Qaeda member and collaborate with them. After joining the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Dr. al-Zawahiri rose to become its commander.
Was Osama bin Laden supported by the CIA?
Some people think that Osama bin Laden and his group are "blowback" from the CIA's Operation Cyclone, which was meant to help the Afghan mujahideen.
Having served as UK Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001 and Leader of the House of Commons from 2001 to 2003, Robin Cook has written that the mujahideen who formed Al-Qaeda were "originally recruited and trained with help from the CIA" and that bin Laden was "a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies."
According to CNN reporter Peter Bergen, who made headlines in 1997 for being the first person to speak with Osama bin Laden on television, the notion that the CIA trained or sent money to bin Laden is "crazy." No evidence supports this. In addition to working alone and in secret, Bin Laden owned his own money and opposed the US. The truth is that until they established a squad in 1996 to begin actively pursuing him, the CIA had no idea who this man was."