In January 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Directive 75, which aimed to confront the Soviet Union across the developing world.
"US policy will seek to limit and destabilise activities of Soviet Third World allies and clients," it said.
In a November 2009 speech, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates - who was deputy head of the CIA during Mr Reagan's time in office - said that the president's approach was to "impose ever stiffer costs on the Soviet Union for its Third World adventurism".
He included Ethiopia among the states in which "Soviet surrogates soon faced their own lethal insurgencies".
Mr Gates was unwilling to expand on whether the US backed the Ethiopian insurgents.
But since there were only a limited number of rebel movements, the suggestion cannot be ruled out that the CIA not only knew about, but supported, the diversion of aid funds to the TPLF.
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