Massoud Khalili 1988- When I came out of Afghanistan, I interviewed him, or maybe he interviewed me. He knew me to be a friend of the Jamiat. He asked," Afghanistan is a beautiful country, is it not?" I did not know what to say. His country was a war zone, a disaster, clearly spiraling into an even greater tragedy. Had I not been depressed, sick and tongue-tied, I wish I could have answered that the most beautiful thing about Afghanistan are its people and NOT its scenery.

The Jamiat party repeatedly warned the CIA about over-arming Gulbuddin and the dangers of Arab extremists since the mid-1980s. They were ignored and Station Chief Milt Bearden continued to allow Pakistan's ISI to act as quartermasters for U.S. military aid. Bearden laughed contemptuously at anyone who suggested that supplying the Jamiat with effective military aid was important. The Jamiat party was squeezed out of the arms pipeline even as the annual budget for the program ballooned from a modest 300 million dollar program to well into the billions of dollars in military aid.

Well spoken and charismatic, Massoud Khalili was a senior political officer for the Jamiat Islami faction or armed political party of the Afghan resistance. The son of the a famous Afghan poet laureate, he was a passionate romantic about Afghanistan's future. Revolutionary romantic dreamers are nothing new on the planet and Khalili was a passionate Revolutionary and the revolution was Islam. But no one in the resistance, other than Ahmad Shah Massoud, has the presence of this man. He was a squandered asset, one among many. Just before 9/11, Khalili was badly injured by a bomb blast that killed Ahmad Shah Massoud. The bomb was the opening salvo of Osama Bin Laden's 9/11 attack. Ahmad Shah Massoud was the first casualty of the 9/11 attack; Massoud Khalili is a badly wounded second.

Watching good friends, allies and fine people slowly get consumed by a grinding war in the face of dithering CIA incompetence is not easy.

copyright 2005©David Dienstag
All Rights Reserved