“The dirty little secret of the Afghan war was that Zia had extracted a concession early on from Reagan: Pakistan would work with the CIA against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and in return the United States would not only provide massive aid, but would agree to look the other way on the question of the bomb.”

–George Crile III,

Charlie Wilson’s War, 2003.

If the above quote is indeed true, one wonders if the Congress at the time, had they known of an “Islamic Bomb”, would have been okay with the going up against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80s. Crile goes on to write that “Zia understood that if he were ever caught red-handed, the White House could not protect him from the wrath of Congress... Indeed, had the Congress known, the Solarz Amendment would have required all aid to be cut off.”

What the Congress did not do then, due to the US Administration’s own power plays, it is doing now to Pakistan, with cutting aid and supporting rhetoric that simplifies the US-Pak relationship. It is forgotten that Pakistan was the only power standing in the way of Soviet dominance in Central and South Asia, and we stood up for American’s values, beyond strategic self-interest.

While the “Islamic bomb” is feared today, the fear is overblown. It is a “Pakistani bomb” and we are all the better for having it under the pressure of Indian aggression even in the 80s and potential aggression we may see from the west under a new right-wing president-elect.