As someone who was closely associated with the emergence of Taliban, I would wish to recount the story for your readers. It all started in early seventies when Bhutto was the PM and we were fighting an insurgency in Balochistan. Some of the rebels had escaped to Afghanistan as they have done in recent times also. They not only found a safe haven in Afghanistan but were also trained in camps established there. At that point in time, some Afghan rebels escaped into Pakistan. Gulbadin Hikmatyar and a number of other leading figures were amongst them. They planned to overthrow the government of President Sardar Muhammad Daud and contacted us for help. Since the aim was to exert pressure on Daud, Bhutto decided to support them but only to a limited extent. He wanted to exert just enough pressure on Daud to bring him to the negotiation table. A set up was established to execute the plan. General Naseerullah Babar was prematurely retired from the Army and appointed the Governor of NWFP. He was made the over-all incharge of the operation. IG FC General Rabbani and Commander SSG were also inducted in the scheme. Gulbadin and his associates were asked to recruit potential guerilla leaders from all across Afghanistan and smuggle them into Pakistan with the assistance of IG FC. These men were then handed over to commander SSG for training them as guerillas. A large number of them was trained and sent back. Before Bhutto could finalize the deal with Daud as a result of pressure created by this operation, he was over thrown by Zia. When the Russians walked into Afghanistan in 1979 to support a coup by Noor Muhammad Tarakai, the US sweet-talked Zia into launching a Jihad against the USSR. A large number of madressas were established in Pakistan where the Taliban were brain washed into becoming Jihadis. The students at these madressas came in large numbers from all over the Muslim world while money and weapons were liberally supplied by the Americans. A prolonged guerrilla war ensued for years. Russians were defeated and the USSR disintegrated. The Americans avenged their defeat in Vietnam in a big way and we were used by them to create the Taliban they are hunting down today. -BRIGADIER SALEEM ZIA (Retd), Lahore, September 28.