In a 1998 Le Monde [actually it was Le Nouvel Observateur -- stripey7] interview, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbignew Brzezinski had bragged about how he conceived of arming Islam-extremist militants against the Afghan government as a ploy to draw in the Soviet Union more deeply and thus help destroy their system. What Brzezinksi proudly proclaimed as his contribution to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War appears in retrospect as a highly problematic U.S. intervention in the late 1970s that intensified civil war in Afghanistan. Overthrow of the secular and modernizing regime in Afghanistan by Islamic fundamentalists helped mobilize and empower the forces that would turn on the U.S. and institute a reign of global terrorism in the current situation.U.S. intervention in the Afghan conflict, that now appears as the last great clash of the Cold War, helped create the context for the current crisis. As a response to U.S. intervention, the Soviet Union sent increased aid and personnel to prop up the moderate modernizing Taraki regime that was opposed by Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. When Taraki was killed by Afghan army officers in September 1979, the Soviets invaded in force in December 1979 and set up a government to avoid a fundamentalist Islamic and U.S.-backed takeover.
In the 1980s, the U.S. began more aggressively supporting Islamic fundamentalist Jihad groups and the Afghan project was a major covert foreign policy project of the Reagan-Bush administration. During this period, the CIA trained, armed, and financed precisely those Islamic fundamentalist groups who later became part of the Al Qaeda terror network who are now the nemesis of the West, the new “evil empire.” In the battle to defeat Soviet Communism in the Cold War, the U.S. poured billions of dollars into Afghanistan to train “freedom fighters” that would overthrow the purportedly communist regime. This was a major project with overt and covert aid from the U.S., Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. The military aid went into training and arming radical Islamic groups who would emerge with a desire to fight other wars for Islam in the countries that had earlier supported them in their Jihad against the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan administrations. These groups included Osama bin Laden and those who would later form his Al Qaeda network.
from "Theorizing September 11" by Douglas Kellner, pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/papers/theorizing911.htm