For the record

It’s popular in certain circles to assert that US funding for the mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan war went to Osama Bin Laden.  This is convenient for that crowd, because it places the ultimate blame for all of his atrocities back where they want it, on the United States.  The problem is, it’s not true in the slightest.

There were two factions of Afghans who fought against the Soviets.  One was a domestic faction that eventually evolved into the Northern Alliance.  The other was the so-called “Afghan Arabs”, foreign Muslims (mostly Arabs) who came into Afghanistan to fight the jihad.  Osama Bin Laden, obviously, was a member of the latter faction.  The United States funded the former faction, but never gave a cent to the latter.  The latter was funded primarily by Saudi Arabia.  (The Taliban, incidentally, didn’t exist then at all.)

This is made clear by this article from the US Department of State.  Richard Miniter has a good column on the subject as well.  I found both articles with just a few minutes of Googling; it’s hardly a secret.

UPDATE (9/12/11): Freshened the stale links with links to the Internet Archive.

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