It seems in the murky and unsubstantial American history they have a tendency to create heroes and legends out of ordinary people. One such character was Congressman Charles Wilson who the Americans dubbed as having single-handedly overcome the Russian attack on Afghanistan in 1980. He seems to be the man who could do anything; a super hero, but in reality he was aided by General Ziaul Haq, the then dictator of Pakistan. Zia with his knowledge of the terrain, culture and tribal rules of the Afghan people helped in setting up a large and organized Mujahedeen force to overcome the Russian attack. In fact it broke the back of the soviet empire; Afghanistan, in the words of Gorbachev became a bleeding wound for the Soviets.

It is true that Charlie increased the CIA’s anti-communism budget from $5 million to over $500 million which did help in this endeavor, and also successfully convinced the White House that the deadly Stinger missile must be supplied to the Mujahedeen, but without Pakistan’s help he would have been unable to counter the deadly attack. Charlie did not do it alone! He had help from Pakistan, the head of state, who did not want a communist country as a neighbor and so helped the US in launching one of the lethal covert operations in history. Let history remain clear that it was not only Charlie, his partner at the CIA the swashbuckling Gust Avrakotos and the charismatic Joanne Herring who did it but Pakistan, its ruler and the agencies that stood behind them to accomplish such a historic feat.

Lala Rukh Paracha,

Lahore, December 2.