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New Doc's Detail America's Strategic Response to 9/11

By jimstaro - Posted on 12 September 2011

Secret U.S. Message to Mullah Omar: "Every Pillar of the Taliban Regime Will Be Destroyed"


New Documents Detail America's Strategic Response to 9/11

Bush White House Resistant to Rebuilding Afghanistan

Rumsfeld's War Aim: "Significantly Change the World's Political Map"

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 358

Posted - September 11, 2011


Washington, DC, September 11, 2011 - In October 2001 the U.S. sent a private message to Taliban leader Mullah Omar warning that "every pillar of the Taliban regime will be destroyed," [Document 16] according to previously secret U.S. documents posted today by the National Security Archive at The document collection includes high-level strategic planning memos that shed light on the U.S. response to the attacks and the Bush administration's reluctance to become involved in post-Taliban reconstruction in Afghanistan. As an October 2001 National Security Council strategy paper noted, "The U.S. should not commit to any post-Taliban military involvement since the U.S. will be heavily engaged in the anti-terrorism effort worldwide." [Document 18]

Materials posted today also include memos from officials lamenting the American strategy of destroying al-Qaeda and the Taliban without substantially investing in Afghan infrastructure and economic well-being. In 2006, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald R. Neumann asserted that recommendations to "minimize economic assistance and leave out infrastructure plays into the Taliban strategy, not to ours." [Document 25] The Ambassador was concerned that U.S. inattention to Afghan reconstruction was causing the U.S. and its Afghan allies to lose support. The Taliban believed they were winning, he said, a perception that "scares the hell out of Afghans." [Document 26] Taliban leaders were capitalizing on America's commitment, he said, and had sent a concise, but ominous, message to U.S. forces: "You have all the clocks but we have all the time." [Document 25]

The documents published here describe multiple important post-9/11 strategic decisions. One relates to the dominant operational role played by the CIA in U.S. activities in Afghanistan. [Document 19] Another is the Bush administration's expansive post-9/11 strategic focus, as expressed in Donald Rumsfeld's remark to the president: "If the war does not significantly change the world's political map, the U.S. will not achieve its aim/ There is value in being clear on the order of magnitude of the necessary change." [Document 13] Yet another takes the form of U.S. communications with Pakistani intelligence officials insisting that Islamabad choose between the United States or the Taliban: "this was a black-and-white choice, with no grey." [Document 3 (Version 1)]

Highlights include: read more with document backlinks

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