"The ambassador had reasons to be inclusive. A year into his job, Arnold Raphel was feeling increasingly isolated as dozens of American agencies ran their own little jihads against the Soviets along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There were those avenging Vietnam and there were those doing God’s work and then there were charities with names so obscure and missions so far-fetched that he had a hard time keeping track of them. Now that the last Soviet soldiers were about to leave Afghanistan and the mujahideen were laying siege to Kabul, some Americans were tearing at each other’s throats to claim credit, others were just lingering, reluctant to go home, hoping for another front to open. Just last week he had received a demarche about a group of teachers from the University of Minnesota who were writing the new Islamic books for Afghanistan and sending them to Central Asia. He investigated and was told to keep his hands off as it was yet another branch of yet another covert programme. Every American he met in Islamabad claimed to be from ‘the other agency’."
Mr. Khan was a household name to most Indians of my generation as kids because he led Pakistan in a war against India in 1971. Genocide in East-Pakistan also happened on his watch. This all is par for the course.
What I find always intriguing is the role of USA in all this because that country has been a darling of India's middle class for as long as I remember.
I wish to include a longish quote from Gary J. Bass's ‘The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide', 2013:
The slaughter happened at the same time that Nixon and Kissinger were planning their opening to China—a famous historic achievement that has a forgotten cost. Everyone remembers Nixon and Kissinger’s months of clandestine Chinese diplomacy, followed by the amazing spectacle of the presidential visit to Mao Zedong. But what has been lost is the human toll exacted for it in Bangladesh and India. Nixon and Kissinger needed a secret channel to China, which they found in the good offices of Yahya—an impeccably discreet tyrant on warm terms with both the United States and China. While the Pakistani government was crushing the Bengalis, it was also carrying covert messages back and forth from Washington to Beijing. Archer Blood sent off his dissent telegram just three months before Kissinger took his first secret trip to Beijing, flying direct from Pakistan, which sped him on his way with hospitality, an airplane, and a cloak-and-dagger cover story. Nixon and Kissinger, always sympathetic to the Pakistani junta, were not about to condemn it while it was making itself so useful. So the Bengalis became collateral damage for realigning the global balance of power. In the bargain, Nixon and Kissinger also turned their backs on India: the strategic opening to one Asian titan meant a closing to another. Indeed, one of the very first things that the United States did with its new relationship with Mao’s China was to secretly ask it to mobilize troops to threaten democratic India, in defense of Pakistan. It is absolutely right that the normalization of the American relationship with China stands as an epochal event, but those who justifiably want to celebrate it should not overlook what it meant for the Bengalis and Indians….”
Courtesy of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum