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UPDATE: UNOCAL still pushing Afghanistan pipelines

So much for the PR
Despite UNOCAL's announcements that it had quit the CentGas trans-Afghanistan natural gas pipeline project, the company has cynically continued to pursue its objectives behind the scenes. UNOCAL very publicly "pulled out" of the CentGas project under heavy pressure from RAWA and other groups outraged at human rights abuses by the Taliban regime. However, the company never abandoned either the CentGas project or its own plans for a million barrel a day trans-Afghanistan OIL pipeline (a separate project altogether).

In March 2000, only a year after reaffirming its earlier withdrawal from the CentGas consortium, UNOCAL held talks with the Taliban government concerning the pipeline projects. Apparently UNOCAL's professed "sensitivity" to human rights issues was eclipsed by the company's desire to obtain the Taliban's guarantee of worker safety during construction of the pipelines.

The links below show clearly that multi-national corporate wish lists are driving US policy in Asia, and leave little doubt as to the reasons behind Washington's desire to replace the Taliban government. This is only tangentially related (if at all) to the "war on terrorism", and it's interesting to note the degree to which the US is following the scripts written long before the 9-11 attacks.

Links relating to the CentGas project:

August 1998 UNOCAL statement:
Suspension of activities related to proposed natural gas pipeline across Afghanistan

December 1998 UNOCAL statement:
Unocal statement on withdrawal from the proposed Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline project

February 1999 UNOCAL statement:
Unocal reiterates position on withdrawal from trans-Afghanistan pipeline project

March 2000 Business Recorder article:
UNOCAL trying to re-enter Turkmen gas pipeline project

OIL pipeline plans:

Testimony by John J. Maresca, VP, International Relations, Unocal Corp. - February 12, 1998
(Mr. Maresca was George Bush Sr.'s Ambassador to Cyprus )

Afghanistan Fact Sheet (see section titled "Regional Pipeline Plans") - December, 2000

US planning came before 9-11 attacks:

US planned attack on Taleban - BBC News, September 18, 2001

Secret memo reveals US plan to overthrow Taliban regime - Guardian, September 21, 2001,4273,4261737,00.html

Threat of US strikes passed to Taliban weeks before US attack - Guardian, September 22, 2001,1300,556279,00.html

Other links of interest:

The New Great Game - Guardian, March 5, 2001,4273,4146099,00.html

See also article titled "Afghanistan and Enron"

Recommended reading:

"Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia" by Ahmed Rashid
Book Reveals oil equation, US blunders in Taliban's rise to power



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