DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI: The question is whether the Soviets now planned to invade Pakistan?

INTERVIEWER: no, the Americans were slightly worried that the Soviets might invade Iran.

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : yeah well there were some discussions I think of those, there were certainly I would say Soviet plans in possibly in that direction. How far those were it is a little bit like when the United States draws up contingency plans that doesn't mean that those are actively pursued. That the United States had some concerns and fears in that direction, yes. whether those were very strongly at the center of policy concerns, I don't think so.


INTERVIEWER: Before the invasion of Afghanistan the US had consistently criticized Pakistan over its development of nuclear deterrent and its human rights record, yet it was willing to give them an easy ride when it came to acting as a conduit for aid. Why?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : That's a very good question, I would say that here too you have a one could give a more intellectual answer and one could give a more bureaucratic and I think both would have something to them. The United States has as we all know consistent where at least certainly with Carter paid already a lot of attention to human rights violations, the United States has been concerned with proliferation and the people that are charged with these issues are clearly to them those issues are the more important. Therefore the people in the state department and the other agencies that are charged with the issue of human rights will want to make that part of policy an important element of policy. When there are no other significant elements in the American policy in that region, those are the issues that tend to dominate, so that the idea of Pakistan developing a nuclear option, was highly disturbing. Similarly problems in the human rights fields were highly disturbing. Now in comes the issue of Afghanistan and a need to respond to a degree in level, the minimal even level that was being done and then on an increasing scale. Those are clearly conflicting demands of foreign policy. In those conflicting demands you also have public opinion. So one cannot suddenly drop altogether these issues and as became clear as the war wore on, there was a need to then begin, defer possible penalties on Pakistan for continuing with the nuclear program and so forth. There were negotiations going on with the Pakistanis to try to get them to stay put and not go further, but then clearly the Pakistanis had their own concerns with India the traditional rivalry. And so those types of issues were conflicting bureaucratic demands with the different bureaucracies within for instance even the state department putting different pressures on the upper level, upper levels of government. To the extent that the Afghan problem took precedence, then the top leadership pushed those other issues aside and pressed them less because they knew that pressing them more, would not encourage Pakistan to be more forthcoming. So that I tis the simplest explanation of, of how those things varied over time.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think in a way that the US stance really helped Pakistan ultimately achieve their goal?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI: In the nuclear proliferation? Not really, I think, I think that ,and here I have to say myown view is a bit different in the sense that I am a little bit less concerned with nuclear weapons being used, than nuclear, I think nuclear weapons for such states are more a status symbol and in fact right now you have a certain equivalence in terms of Pakistan and India in terms of deterrent posture, which tends to I think create a greater balance between Pakistan and India and lessen the possibilities and probabilities of war. Which is why, right now I think we are seeing, not the only reason, but one of those, that we are seeing some movement on the part of the Pakistanis and the Indians to resolve some of these issues. Things that relates also to the current Afghan situation. But at that time, at that time this was I think, the United States did not I think over long term really succeed in preventing Pakistan. It did succeed I think in slowing down the process. I think it did succeed in maintaining it at a much lower level of intensity and rhetorical flourish and I think those aspects did play a constructive role.

INTERVIEWER: I mean how much military assistance did Pakistan obtain, I mean and what effect did it have do you think on Pakistan with regard to the whole military aid package?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI: are you speaking in terms of the ability of Pakistan to have a better military or

INTERVIEWER: I'm trying to look at what Pakistan got out of this relationship, I'm talking about the major military packages if you can chuck some figures in .......

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Let me see I can address the issue in foreign terms, I would say that the benefit to Pakistan of the relationship with the United States that developed during the Afghan war, were I think very clear. First and perhaps even foremost was that Pakistan in the world arena obtained much greater visibility. There was I think a sustained American effort with regard to the Afghan war. Sustained in over, relatively prolonged period of time. And therefore Pakistan in the region, Pakistan's status and prestige, especially when the Soviet's finally withdrew, I think rose considerably. The fact that Pakistan was able to receive fairly significant military aid in large and significant in numbers I don't have exact figures, but hundreds and millions and billions even. I think all that played a role played a role also in the whole issue of India and US Indian and US Pakistani and although there were certain tensions at different times, whether with Pakistan or with India to the extent that the United States were seen as tilting towards Pakistan and there by the way you had different people within the United States government that had different position. Someone like Congressman Solars was fairly pro India. Someone like Brzezinski was seen as very pro-Pakistani, so you have these types of differences that continue to exist in the United States government without a very clear cut thing of actually 100% pro Pakistan, anti-India or vice versa. But Pakistan itself I think benefited greatly during that period. The stature of Zia, his ability to do things within Pakistan all of that I think was of a significant benefit to Pakistan and as I said with the withdrawal of Soviet forces then the prestige was even greater.

INTERVIEWER: Well as early as 82 83 Andropov hinted about a possible withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the UN attempted to follow that up, but it doesn't appear that the US was keen to respond, why was that?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well the short answer to US response to early Soviet diplomatic initiatives was that the United States believed that the Soviets once in Afghanistan, would just not get out. Therefore when they were saying they might be willing to get out, it just was not, real. The Pakistanis on the other hand were attempting as I mentioned were attempting through 1984 to see if some sort of a negotiated solution could be arrived at. So there were I think some differences there as well. I don't think the Pakistanis thought the Soviets were serious. I think the Pakistanis thought that they wanted to explore that just in case there would be an opportunity to negotiate an end. Now I think the other crucial element in this equation is to see what the Soviets had in mind. Why they were doing what they were doing, and how they were doing it. And there the answer is as follows the Soviet leadership had indicated immediately after it's invasion of Afghanistan, and again this was not believed, but they had indicated that they would ultimately withdraw from Afghanistan. But the important element here was once they had accomplished what they set out to do. And that again on the part of people who wished to see a possibility of a negotiated settlement was ignored. And the part that was picked up was the Soviet statement that they would at some point withdraw. And so people went after that and so the UN sponsored negotiations occurred as early as 1982 as you mentioned but in my opinion were not serious at all on the part of the Soviets. The negotiation track and I've written on that. The negotiation track were used by the Soviets as a diplomatic and propaganda tool to prevent the United States and the West in General from 1. Getting interested in Afghanistan and 2. actually helping the resistance. So that the basic line was "we will withdraw, and we are willing to negotiate the withdrawal, but you can't, you shouldn't help the resistance." Which was also part of the Soviet strategy to discourage media coverage of the war and going after journalists, killing them arresting them, making a great deal of the whole issue of keeping the war uncovered. Not covered in the media. So that the negotiations track was in that, along the line of saying okay no need to get upset, no need to really get involved in a war mode and helping the resistance because we can talk this through. And to the extent that people believed that then the idea was well we don't want to give more help to the resistance, because if we give more help the Russians are gonna get upset and if the Russians are gonna get upset they are gonna be less willing to withdraw. That became true later on. In the early period really, the position was well they can't mean it anyway because once Soviet troops move into a country as we know from Eastern Europe, was that they don't leave because the regime cannot maintain itself so ran the theory without the presence of Soviet troops. Therefore any Soviet statements to the contrary are just not true. What I'm saying now is the Soviets were not serious about withdrawing but were using the negotiations as a way to deceive the west and prevent it from getting worked up about the Soviet invasion. Because as long as people believe there was a possibly to negotiate a withdrawal, there was less probability they would be willing that is the western publics to back military support for a resistance. I think that was Soviet thinking. The Soviets didn't become serious about negotiations until even after 1985, but in 1985 there is an episode which came out with a statement by Whitehead about the negotiations and where they were, you know people had said I think earlier even in 83 or 84 that a solution, a negotiated solution was 95 % complete, and that there was only 5% remaining to be negotiated in those Geneva instruments. That in a way is true but the 5% was the critical element, the 95 was the flood. And what was happening

INTERVIEWER: I was thinking you know you've got the UN suggesting a fairly sensible coalition and an end to continuing aid and yet you know the US just does not want to be a part of that and I mean I find it, could you talk a little bit about what the differences of opinion were about guaranteeing the accords and why that offer of ultimate peace for Afghanistan was never taken up.

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI: Well I'm not sure there was an offer of ultimate peace the Soviets themselves by the way said that if they didn't get the agreements in the accords they would withdraw anyway. Gorbachev said that quite explicitly. The accords were to the Soviets simply a way of trying to ratify in the western mind that the west would stop, the United States specifically would stop helping the resistance. So that as far as I'm aware there was no serious offer of peace of coalition and that was the whole idea if we are go to into the issue of what government would reign in Afghanistan it was always one in which in typical communist fashion the key elements of the government would be in the hands of communist defense, internal security, all the key elements would be in their hands and the rest would be for show. I think the United States government in particular was not, how shall I say all that keen in terms of what shape would the government would have and whether it would or would not be in communist hands. There was clear interest in congress in public opinion and so forth in not having done all of that simply to leave a communist regime in place. But then you get into the other issue that once the Soviet Union is withdrawing its forces and you don't have a resistance that has been prepared politically for real genuine co-operation for putting a stable government in place, the external enemy is removed and the internal divisions among the Afghans which has been exacerbated both by the Soviets and by the Iranians and by the Saudis who were pushing their own brand of Islam in Afghanistan that all of those things are gonna resurface with the withdrawal of Soviet troops so that until, and as long as the Soviet Union existed, the Soviet Union continued to help the Afghan communist regime it is in my opinion significant that the communist regime in Afghanistan collapsed in 92 and not before because of Soviet help, continued Soviet help.

INTERVIEWER: Could you talk a little bit about the pressures and the policy differences between the state department and the Pentagon, because obviously in 85 Whitehead was about to guarantee the Geneva accords and he was you know there was obviously a major disagreement about that, I mean if you could talk about the differing views because he, he said he had to make 95% of his speech anti soviet to please the evil empire people so there seems to be a major difference...

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Oh yes I think there was and I think the difference is what I have stated before that is an interest in resuming more quiet, more peaceful relations on the part of the state department an interest in resuming better relations with the Soviets and leaving Afghanistan behind. And in essence since the Soviets were willing to withdraw, the pressure on Pakistan had been removed and therefore there was no problem left, i.e. no interest here, what Whitehead was revealing, no interest in the human rights issue in Afghanistan, no interest in a peaceful, genuine stable solution, caring little in fact as to whether or not therewould be a communist regime that remain in Afghanistan with Soviet interests fully protected. That if you then keep in mind the United States had never objected to Afghanistan being in a Soviet sphere. The united states had only objected the presence of soviet troops. This is what I outlined in my answer to you earlier, that is to say that in 1985 the only thing that the Soviets wanted to find outwas to what in fact was that American commitment. And through the state department answer, they got the answer. They got that the United States was only interested in the presence of Soviet Troops, therefore the Soviets went on the assumption if they withdrew the Soviet troops but kept a communist regime in place with their interests safely safeguarded the United States would have no objections. That was a correct assumption from this evaluation of the State Department view. It was incorrect in assessing the Pentagon, it was incorrect in assessing the Congress, and therefore you have that tension. The state department in effect would have gone through as you said, were it not for the actions of several other individuals in derailing that. I have been attacked, I don't know if it's attacked or at least identified in one place I think by Selig Harrison, who in a chapter points to a speech I gave at the Heritage Foundation in early 86 where I basically called the bluff and identified and explained Soviet Strategy as one of deception and that an agreement at this point would be simply caving in to and accepting the Soviet position and it is for that reason, I think the actions of myself and several other people within the government and in Congress that that ploy failed and that the state department attempt in essence behind the back of the president to arrive at an agreement that was against both Afghan interests and against US defined as more than just Pakistan was foiled. Yes and there were serious and these serious divisions between the Pentagon on one hand, with the White House I would say a little bit more on the side of the Pentagon than the others but not wanting to antagonize State and CIA, those divisions persisted through the end of the war. And I think that when people talk about it now, you will see that they continue to persist and that you have people continue to insist that Afghanistan is really meaningless, unimportant and others such as myself will insist that in fact it is a very vital, strategic point and that we will ignore it only at our own peril, and that of the Afghans.

INTERVIEWER: But what did all of this mean for Afghanistan do you think at the end of the day with the Geneva accords...

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : For Afghanistan it meant that after all the efforts it was a very inconclusive end. That the military equation had been paid attention to, but that the political aspect, the political dimension. The well being of the Afghans themselves, the possibility of establishing a more stable Afghanistan that could live in peace had really been largely ignored. I personally had tried to do what I could, I continued to believe to this day, that it was possible to do better. I think we, whether or not, one could have obtained real peace, eliminated all conflict, is a little difficult to ascertain, because you had very real ethnic and other divisions. But I think a determined effort could have done it. I would like to hope that a determined effort now could still restore some sort of greater stability than we see at present.

INTERVIEWER: I mean how significant is Afghanistan in the whole of the cold war would you say?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well Afghanistan I think was in the tail end of the cold war a fairly significant element. And it was very significant, I think it was significant in the sense even that it contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union, to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there is no doubt. So despite the fact that the United States didn't have a great interest. The asp, the element which produced an effective American help to the resistance, very significantly contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, because instead of stabilizing a sore point the Soviet Union became involved in a no win conflict, that drained its man power that contributed significant casualties, and made a significant impact on the disaffection of the Russian people and the Soviet peoples to the government of the Soviet Union and in that sense I think it played an extremely significant role.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah I'm just thinking if you look back at the 10 years of the conflict and the fact of the suffering, more the misery the suffering, the fact the conflict is still going on. I mean shouldn't' the United States take a large part of that responsibility do you think?

DR ELIE KRAKOWSKI : Well I think it is a very difficult statement to make, assigning responsibility is a difficult subject and I think that if one assigns responsibility it must be assigned first to the Soviet Union, to all the atrocities it committed, and if there is any responsibility that is to be placed on the United states, it isn't for not developing a more forceful approach, a more coherent approach, but you can, it is also difficult to blame the United States when for instance Pakistan which was a neighboring country was assuring the United States that the way to do things was in essence support what was a short sighted Pakistani view. Given the fact that the United States had very little interest and had little knowledge and few people that knew, while I for one would be critical and would say we should have done better, I think that when you talk about the tendency to rely on these host countries, on the front line state, that itself, if you want to put responsibility then I think one has to put it first and foremost on the Soviet Union. To some extent on the Afghans themselves that could not pull themselves together, and I think as strongly on Pakistan you know the blame as I said I think that one could say the United States should have been more forceful. The United States should have told the Pakistanis that their view was short sighted. The United States could have developed and in fact because of its power had the ability I think to influence events far more than it did. And one can make the argument as of today as well the United States really should take another look. The United States should carefully examine what its interests are, not just on the short term, and from the stand point of energy and flow of energies and pipelines and so forth, but what are its interests in that region as they relate to the issue of Iran as they relate to the issue of china of Pakistani-Indian relations to a number of Russian element, because the Russians have been agitating in all the former Soviet republics, there is a Russian presence and it's often not a positive one. There are major interests in my opinion that are at stake. And those interests unfortunately I believe are not being addressed so this is in a way a perennial issue, looking at foreign policy, looking at defense, looking at threats, looking at what to do geo-strategically in a constructive, coherent manner. I think it is still not being done, it wasn't done and it is still not being done. But it is not being done by others in a manner that is even worse than that of the United States so in that situation, things are relative.