Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Saturday, January 05, 2002
Unocal's Afghan friends

It seems Unocal is gaining from friends in Afghanistan: both the interim Afghan leader and the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan are reported to have worked for Unocal.

President Bush has appointed a former aide to the American oil company Unocal, Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan. The nomination was announced December 31, nine days after the US-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul.

Since then, Karzai's ties with the Americans have not been interrupted. At the same time, he established ties with the British and other European and international sides, especially after he became deputy foreign minister in 1992 in the wake of the Afghan mojahedin's assumption of power and the overthrow of the pro-Moscow Najibollah regime. Karzai found no contradiction between his ties with the Americans and his support for the Taleban movement as of 1994, when the Americans had - secretly and through the Pakistanis - supported the Taleban's assumption of power to put an end to the civil war and the actual partition of Afghanistan due to the failure of Borhanoddin Rabbani's experience in ruling the country. At the time, Karzai worked as a consultant for the huge US oil group Unocal, which had supported the Taleban movement and sought to construct a pipeline to transport oil and gas from the Islamic republics of Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan. However, Karzai's relationship with the Taleban did not last long, since he moved away from the movement immediately after it assumed power in 1996 and turned down the movement's offer to appoint him as its ambassador to the United Nations.

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