INTERVIEWER: Elie what sort of views were floating around the Carter administration of 78 /79 with regard to the Soviet's intention re Afghanistan?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well you know I think that the President Carter after the Soviet invasion said publicly that he had learned more in the previous week than he had learned for many years prior to that about the Soviets. Which I think is rather a pity for a president to have to say. So that you had the same type of views that essentially continued afterwards. On the one hand you had the view that no matter what the Soviets were doing, if we only did another agreement with them they would become more bound in the large network of agreements and would become then more willing to listen and comply to them. And the Soviet invasion I mean intruded in that nastily from the point of view of those people who were most interested in reaching agreements whether or not those were good ,or not good and therefore that any Soviet behavior contrary to their view of essentially a state like others was simply an aberration. And that this aberration could be controlled by further negotiations and agreements. Then they are aware, those who were rather suspicious of the Soviets, and within those as within the former view you had gradations from those that had a sort of a really black and white view of things, totally evil and without any mitigating, and those who had a somewhat more nuanced vision. But within that broad group of people the idea was you cannot trust the Soviets, you have to be very careful and you have to be very cautious and therefore be tough, when the occasion presented itself to react to aggressive acts. I would say these were the general views prior to the invasion. I don't think very many people thought that the Soviets would actually invade, because while Afghanistan was seen as within a Soviet sphere of influence, it was clearly not seen as being within the Soviet bloc and the view was that the Soviet Union was ready to act forcefully and militarily but within the Soviet bloc. Within the accepted Soviet bloc, not outside of it, and so I think most people were very surprised. And one of the interesting things of course with Afghanistan and I think it is partly because of the fact that it was a major superpower invading a poor little helpless country the reaction was fairly unanimous and bipartisan. Afghanistan was one of those areas where there were no problems having both the liberals and those sort of people on the left side of the spectrum in the United States worked together with people on the more politically conservative end of the spectrum.

INTERVIEWER: Did the US do you think give enough warning to the Soviets that the way they would react if the Soviets did invade?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : When we look at the issue of Soviet invasion and whether there were any warnings by the United States that they could expect a strong reaction if there were an invasion. Then I would say that the answer has to be no. First there were the differences within the American government between Brzezinski and Vance. Vance being much softer and less willing to confront, and Brzezinski being more aware and more keen on reacting and warning and Brzezinski did issue some warnings, but I don't think that that was enough and that has nothing to do with Dr Brzezinski's views or his actions, it has to do with the track record of the United States government. In this it is interesting and one can in fact compare the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan each a year apart from the other with the Vietnamese occurring a year later. In neither case I think were either the Soviets or the Vietnamese prepared for the reaction that then ensued. And the reason for that in both cases, but we're talking about Afghanistan was clearly that the track record had been well established. That the United States for one and the rest of the world didn't really care much about Afghanistan, therefore if there was no strong serious opposition to a seizure of power to a communist regime. Why should there be a strong world reaction to an invasion which was merely designed to consolidate communist control?

INTERVIEWER: We've had it suggested that in a way that if someone at Carter's level had actually warned the Soviets rather than a very low diplomatic hint that it would have had a different outcome.

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI: Again if we talk about the American position at the time of the invasion and taking the idea that if Carter himself had warned rather than the warnings being issued at lower level, it may have made more of an impression on the Soviets. But my own view on the matter is that precisely because of the lack of interest and the lack of attention the Soviet perception of such a presidential warning would have been "Hmm this is interesting, we didn't realize that the United States thought about Afghanistan as much as to warrant a presidential statement. Therefore the Americans might react rhetorically to our invasion and I would say this would have simply caused them to think a little bit more on how they would handle the invasion and prepare for such a warning. It would not have affected the fact of the invasion again, I say because there was no record of American action as opposed to some rhetorical positions, and in a generating modification of behavior, Soviet modification of its own behavior, my impression is that my feeling is that you would need to have more than some statements number 1. Number 2, you would have had to have some attention to the issue for the period prior to the invasion, in other words you would have had to have not just American statements much earlier on, going back to the communist coup, but you would have had to have some American actions of real meaning, and by that I mean joint discussions with American allies on the issue of Afghanistan, changes in the attitude of the United States towards the Soviet Union and the communist Afghan regime and perhaps even beginning some moves on the covert side and on certainly on the open diplomatic side to indicate that the United States was, had now become very concerned by these developments. I don't think the Soviets saw any of that and therefore considered that the United States despite some reaction would not do much. And this is true, even if there had been a presidential statement I think.

INTERVIEWER: Would you talk us through the reason behind Brzezinski's visit to Pakistan. What the US were hoping to get from the Pakistanis and how their offer of $400 million was received?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well again I don't have any direct knowledge on that, and so I would here be simply giving you views, I think this, this whole, the whole episode of Brzezinski's visit to Pakistan, the offer of $400 million, was a reflection of the fact that the United States was now very concerned about the threat to Pakistan and wanted to be seen as bolstering Pakistan. I'm not sure the Pakistanis were all that thrilled at the time, with that type of attention, because of their own position, because of the previous issues, but of course this was something that was going to change fairly rapidly after that.

INTERVIEWER: I mean what was Pakistan's worries about taking such an offer and being involved?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well there were many I think concerns, one was of course with the Moslem world and being seen as associated with the United States in such an open manner. The other was that in the context of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the Pakistanis were not at all enthusiastic shall we say to put it mildly about being seen as antagonizing the Soviets. Especially when you think that $400 million is nothing, it is not all that earth shaking with regard to the larger picture. And since the world had just been shocked into realizing that the Soviets were willing to invade outside of the Soviet bloc the Pakistanis being the next target in line, were not eager to provoke or be seen as provoking the Soviets, not knowing how much further backing might come from the UnStates, because the American track record with regardto potential allies, in terms of steadiness was not 100% perfect.

INTERVIEWER: I mean what sort of different views were there within the Reagan administration about US policy in Afghanistan and the possible drawbacks of backing fundamentalist groups like the Mujaheddin?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : When we come to the Reagan administration and the different views that existed within it, with regard to backing the resistance or as some people have said also fundamentalist factions. Then I think we get into what I consider the truly interesting aspects of the Soviet Afghan war. The first thing I should probably say is the word fundamentalist I think has been a bit overused and even abused. The Afghans themselves I would say certainly at that point in the large majority were not fundamentalist or as I prefer to say radical Muslims. Those Afghans who were, were really in the minority and if anything didn't have much popular support and therein lies also one of the tragedies of the whole American and even Pakistani approach to the Afghan war, and so I think this is a good opportunity perhaps to discuss briefly that. The Pakistanis has a history of wanting to control Afghanistan, as I think many people know the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan itself had never been accepted by either side, by either the Afghans or the Pakistanis, had been drawn by the British during the Colonial period, known as the Duran line and it divided ethnic groups on either side of the border. And Pakistan wanted to control Afghanistan and to do that exploited these issues. In and after the Soviet invasion, well before the Soviet invasion even, the Pakistanis had recruited somebody by the name of Gorbedin Hekmatie, one of those that became then a famous leader of the so-called fundamentalist and himself was and is a radical Muslim. The interesting thing about Gorbedin is that he never had much of a popular base and that was one of the major reasons for the Pakistanis backing him. That is what the Pakistanis thought they needed, and when I say Pakistanis I mean more specifically Pakistani military intelligence also know as ISI, Inter Services Group, decided that in order to control Afghanistan they would need people who would themselves depend on Pakistan. A leader that had a strong popular following would need the Pakistanis far less. And so the Pakistanis backed Gorbadin and they backed also another radical leader by the name of Sayaf who himself had some strong Saudi backing. So that this was the basic construct on which American policy was resting. And American policy to the extent that it existed in the early period of the war, relied very strongly on Pakistani definition of what needed to be done and what could be done. Within the Reagan administration, so now I come to the views, the differing views within the administration. In the period from, I would say, the invasion, the Soviet invasion to 1982/83, what you had essentially was 3 or 4 people at the deputy assistant secretary level who dealt with the war. And of those the major effort was concentrated in the CIA as the operational the operation agency. The agency that in essence took care of whatever the United States was doing from the standpoint of assistance to the Afghan resistance. There was somebody in the state department, somebody on the NSC staff, the Pentagon was I would say largely kept out of it, and the view that existed at that point was simply do whatever is minimally necessary to keep the thing going and to raise the cost to the Soviets. I became involved when I came into the government, a few months after I came into the government, sometime late in 82, and even more so in 83, when I identified that in fact there was very little attention being devoted to Afghanistan that the Soviets were progressing quite well in their effort to eliminate the resistance or to reduce it to very, very low level nuisance and that if the United States government did not do more, they in fact would, the Soviets would in fact be able to consolidate their position in Afghanistan before too long. And so I began to press for a different approach, and I would say that I found support in my superiors at the Pentagon, by which I mean the assistant sec

INTERVIEWER: I just wondered perhaps if you could try andget the nutshell, try and condense the concept a little bit more would help us. ........