Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman was DG ISI for the first 7 years during the Afghan War and most of the aid to Afghan Mujahideen was funnelled thru him. As a student of Pakistan history I have many questions regarding the Pakistani perception that it was Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman or the bigot Zia who were responsible for the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan.
I would acknowledge the fact Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman was a superb organizer of the spies and transformed ISI into a formidable organization. But my admiration stops there. In my view:
1. Afghan war could never have been won without the military assistance provided by the US under the ‘Operation Cyclone’. The funding including cost of the weapons is estimated to be as much as $20-billion over the 9 year period. Pray tell me did Pakistan posess that kind of resources?
2. Without the Stinger missiles thru which Soviet gun ships became ineffective, Mujahideen could never have forced the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Pakistan didn’t have the technology to produce stingers.
Gen Akhtar Adbur Rahman was a 2- star General was for nearly 10 years. Doesn’t it signify that he was not considered a great fighting general by the PA promotions board? Besides, there are many question marks about his honesty. Doesn’t every one know that his sons; one being the famous Humayun Akhtar; are owners of a very large industrial empire which includes Sugar and Textile mills? How many general’s sons can boast such legacy?
Also don’t forget the Ojhry Camp disaster. Junejo, then Prime Minister of Pakistan, blamed it on Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman and said that this was done by agencies to hide the misappropriation of US Aid to the Mujhideen. To date we don’t really know who or what caused this explosion?
Finally, the massacre of Soviet Afghan prisoners at the Budaber in 1985 also occurred during his tenure as Head of the ISI. This incident and its causes have to date never been fully investigated. Additionally, we owe Afghan Tajik hostility towards Pakistan on the reliance on Gulbuddin Hikmatyar in preference to Ahmad Shah Masood; another legacy of Gen A. Abdur Rahman.
Without Pakistan’ help Soviets could never been pushed out of Afghanistan; simultaneously it must be acknowledged that without the massive funding by the US and other foreign powers, this would have been a “Mission Impossible”. Thus to proclaim that either Gen Akhtar Abur Rahman or the bigot Zia or both were liberators of Afghanistan in incorrect. This was achieved thru a combined effort by the CIA & the ISI.
To conclude, most people would agree that Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman was a very good officer and an exceptional spy master. But there it should end.