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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 12:14 GMT
The Power of Nightmares: The Phantom Victory
The Power of Nightmares continues its assessment of whether the threat from a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. Part two, the Phantom Victory looks at how two groups, radical Islamists and neo-conservatives with seemingly opposing ideologies came together to defeat a common enemy.

Mujahideen fighters

On 25 December 1979, Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan.

Moscow was able to install a friendly government in a neighbouring country but at a price.

The invasion gave a common cause to an extraordinary alliance of radical Islamists in Afghanistan and around the world and to the neo-conservatives in the US.

It was a key battleground of the Cold War.

Washington provided money and arms including even Stinger missiles capable of shooting down Soviet helicopters.

But it was Islamic Mujahideen fighters who would fire them.

Among the many foreigners drawn to Afghanistan was a young, wealthy Saudi called Osama Bin Laden.

Part II: The Phantom Victory
Wednesday, 19 January, 2005
2320 GMT on BBC Two

Long before 9/11, he would have been seen by neo-conservatives in Washington as one of their foot soldiers, helping fight America's cause.

After nearly 10 years of fighting, Soviet troops pulled out of Afghanistan.

Both the neo-conservatives and the Islamists believed that it is they who defeated the "evil empire" and now had the power to transform the world.

But both failed in their revolutions.

In response, the neo-conservatives invented a new fantasy enemy, Bill Clinton, focusing on the scandal surrounding him and Monica Lewinsky.

Meanwhile, the Islamists descend into a desperate cycle of violence and terror to try to persuade the people to follow them.

Out of all this comes the seeds of the strange world of fantasy, deception, violence and fear in which we now live.

The Power of Nightmares will be broadcast over three nights from Tuesday 18 to Thursday, 20 January, 2005 at 2320 GMT on BBC Two. The final part has been updated in the wake of the Law Lords ruling in December that detaining foreign terrorist suspects without trial was illegal.

Timeline: Afghanistan
09 Oct 04 |  Country profiles
The Forgotten Country
07 Oct 01 |  Panorama


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