In 1994 the Taliban sprang forth from religious schools known as madrassas in NW Pakistan. The schools were run by Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islami, an Islamic fundamentalist group with close ties to Pakistani ISI and funded by the Saudi government.
The Taliban launched raids from Pakistani soil, just as the mujahadeen had, gaining notoriety when they freed a Pakistani military convoy captured inside Afghanistan. Within a year they controlled one-third of Afghanistan, establishing a provisional government in Kandahar.
The Rabbani government was ousted in Kabul by Hekmatyar’s Hezbi-i Isbmi. As Taliban forces advanced on Kabul, Hekmatyar’s troops suddenly laid down their arms, ceding control of Kabul to the Taliban. A Western diplomat said of the Taliban in 1995, “Clearly the Pakistanis are playing some kind of role”.  He never mentioned the CIA’s role.
When the Taliban came to power in 1996, saying they would establish an “Islamic emirate”, planes landed in Kabul carrying Taliban leaders and seven top-ranking Pakistani military officers.  Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE immediately recognized the Taliban, who launched a brutal campaign of puritanical purges. Women were relegated to the same status they endured under the king. Men weren’t allowed to shave. TV and music were banned.
The Four Horsemen took a shine to the Taliban, viewing them as a “stabilizing force in the region”. They were eager to convince the feudalists of the importance of building a gas pipeline across Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean from the vast natural gas fields of Turkmenistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north. The Rabbani government had been negotiating with an Argentinean consortium called Bridas to build the pipeline. This angered the Four Horsemen, who backed a Unocal-led consortium known as Centgas. Many citizens of Kabul were convinced that the CIA had brought the Taliban to power on behalf of Big Oil. 
The Four Horsemen were busy exploiting their new Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves in the newly formed Central Asian Republics, just north of Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan contain vast crude oil reserves estimated at over 200 billion barrels. Neighboring Turkmenistan is a virtual gas republic, containing some of the largest deposits of natural gas on earth. The biggest gas field is at Dauletabad in the southeast of the country near the Afghan border. All told there are an estimated 6.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Caspian Sea region.
There is oil in Turkmenistan too. The Unocal-led Centgas consortium was also planning to build a pipeline which would connect oil fields around Chardzhan, Turkenistan to the Siberian oilfields further north.  Turkmenistan also has vast reserves of copper, coal, tungsten, zinc, uranium and gold. With Rabbani out of the picture, Centgas now began negotiating in earnest with the Taliban for rights to build their pipeline from Dauletbad across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the port of Karachi, where a US Naval base was in the works on the 100 acre site given to Omani Sultan Qaboos.
The Four Horsemen brought with them to Central Asia some loyal Saudi business partners. Saudi billionaire Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz, owner of BCCI and National Commercial Bank and an enthusiastic supporter of the mujahadeen, embraced the Taliban. Bin Mahfouz, whose net worth is over $2 billion, controls Nimir Petroleum, now a partner with Chevron Texaco in developing a 1.5 billion barrel Kazakhstan oil field. A Saudi Arabian government audit found that bin Mahfouz’ National Commercial Bank had transferred over $3 million to Osama bin Laden charities in 1999. 
According to French writer Olivier Roy, “When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, it was largely orchestrated by the Pakistani secret service (ISI) and the oil company Unocal, with its Saudi ally Delta”. 
In January 1998 Centgas agreed to pay the Taliban government $100 million a year to run their gas pipeline across Afghanistan. Centgas arranged high-level meetings in Washington between Taliban officials and the State Department. Representing Unocal was Zalmay Khalilzad, who was Assistant Undersecretary of Defense in the Bush Sr. Administration and worked at Cambridge Energy Research Associates before working at Unocal. Khalilzad was born in Mazar-i-Sharif to wealthy Afghan aristocrats. His father was an aide to King Zaher Shah. Khalilzad had also worked at Rand Corporation, long a CIA asset.  Khalilzad left his post at Unocal to join the National Security Council in the Bush Jr. Administration.  In 2002 Bush appointed Khalilzad as the first US envoy to Afghanistan in over 20 years. The first item on his agenda was to revive talks on building the Centgas pipeline.
Khalilzad had encouraged the Clinton Administration to engage the Taliban. But the Centgas pipeline project collapsed after President Clinton ordered al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, along with a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, bombed following the synchronized 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. According to David Rose of Vanity Fair, the government of Sudan, where Osama bin Laden had been living before moving to Afghanistan, had offered the US intelligence on bin Laden in 1997-1998. The US government refused the offer. In Sudan, bin Laden owned a company that produced gum arabic, a key ingredient for US soft drink firms Pepsi and Coca-Cola. He also had interests in diamond mines in the Congo operated by Oryx Resources.
The now-deceased bin Mahfouz was under investigation for funding Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network. He is represented in the US by Washington law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. The firm represents the House of Saud and the world’s largest Islamic charity- the Saudi-based Holy Land Foundation for Development and Relief. Within three months of the 911 terror attacks, Treasury had frozen the assets of the Saudi foundation. Akin, Gump successfully defended bin Mahfouz when the BCCI scandal broke. Three partners at the firm are good friends of President George W. Bush. Partner James C. Langdon is one of Bush’s closest friends. George Salem was involved in Bush campaign fundraising. Barnett “Sandy” Cress was appointed by Bush to head a White House-sponsored education initiative. 
According to French intelligence analyst Jean-Charles Brisard, President Bush Jr. blocked US Secret Service investigations into US-based al-Qaeda “sleeper” cells while he continued to negotiate secretly with Taliban officials. The last meeting was in August 2001 just five weeks before 911. Bush wanted the Taliban to deliver bin Laden in return for US and Saudi economic aid and support for the Taliban.  Deputy FBI Director John O’Neill resigned his post in July 2001 to protest the Bush Administration’s cozying up to the Taliban. Brisard says O’Neill told him, “the main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were US corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia.” O’Neill took a job as Chief of Security at the World Trade Center in New York and was killed during the 911 attacks. 
According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, the CIA met with bin Laden several times during the months prior to 911. According to the Washington Post, the Company met with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar’s envoy Rahmattullah Hashami in July 2001. Hashami offered to hold on to bin Laden until the CIA could capture him but, according to the Village Voice, the Bush Administration turned down the offer. That same month the CIA met with Jamiaat-i-Islami leader Qazi Hussein Ahmed.
The US government gave $43 million in aid to the Taliban in 2000 and $132 million in 2001. The Taliban were told by the Bush White House to hire a Washington PR firm to scrub up their image. The firm was headed by Laila Helms, niece of former CIA Director and BCCI crony Richard Helms. Big Oil representatives were present at the Bush-Taliban negotiations, where one official told the Taliban at that last August meeting, “You either accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”
Even after the 911 terror attacks, President Bush omitted the names of two House of Saud-funded groups- International Islamic Relief Organization and Muslim World League- who financed al Qaeda from a list of groups whose assets would be frozen by the US Treasury.  As French intelligence analyst Brisard notes, “The American addiction to Saudi oil and arms money threatens to undermine national security in the West”.
In 1997 Trilateral Commission founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of the Afghan Frankenstein, wrote a book titled, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geopolitical Imperatives. In the book Brzezinski, who now sits on the board at BP Amoco which owns the huge Baku oilfields on the Caspian shoreline in Azerbaijan, argues that the key to global power lies in the control of Eurasia and that the “key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the Central Asian Republics”. The New York Times in 1996 referred to Central Asia as the new Great Game, a phrase historically used to describe failed British and Russian attempts to colonize Afghanistan.
Brzezinski’s game plan calls for ruling Central Asia via control over the nation of Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north. When the late 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan commenced, Uzbekistan became a regular stopover for every important US official visiting the region and provided the US with basing rights during the bombing. Several US military bases are now under construction in the country. Checkmate? Not so fast. In 2005 Uzbekistan asked the US to leave the country and joined the pro-Russian Shanghai Cooperation Council.
Dean Henderson is the author of five books:Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @www.hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com