On February 4, 1997, former CIA operative Robert Baer met with an unnamed source to discuss Unocal’s plans to build pipelines in Afghanistan. “In spite of the ongoing civil war and the Taliban’s tightening grip on Afghanistan, Unocal intended to proceed with both pipelines. It calculated that running a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan was going to cost $2 billion. A parallel oil pipeline would add another $2.5 billion. Putting this kind of money in a country in the throes of a civil war seemed to me like a risky investment. I asked [redacted] if Unocal was nervous. [Redacted] looked at me for a couple of seconds as if I were a dim bulb. ‘With U.S. government guarantees and the World Bank putting up the money, no,’ he said. ‘We’re not stupid enough to do this on our own.’ …A week later, on February 13, 1997, [redacted] was in Afghanistan talking to the Taliban. They demanded that Unocal build a road from Torghundi to Spin Boldak and invest money in the Kandahar schools–no doubt mosque schools.” [‘Redacted’ indicates sections of the author’s text censored by the CIA.]

 – Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil, Page 34