1997 (B): It is later claimed that the special CIA paramilitary teams start entering Afghanistan in this year. [Washington Post, 11/18/01]
August 1997: The CIA creates a secret task force to monitor Central Asia's politics and gauge its wealth. Covert CIA officers, some well-trained petroleum engineers, travel through southern Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to sniff out potential oil reserves. [Time, 5/4/98]
1999 (F): A joint project run by the CIA and NSA slips into Afghanistan and places listening devices within range of al-Qaeda's tactical radios. [Washington Post, 12/19/01] If all of al-Qaeda's communications was being monitored, why was bin Laden never captured or killed and apparently no hints of the 9/11 plot revealed?
1999 (I): CIA Director Tenet later claims that in this year, the CIA establishes a network of agents throughout Afghanistan and other countries aimed at capturing bin Laden and his deputies. [UPI, 10/17/02] Tenet states that by 9/11, "a map would show that these collection programs and human networks were in place in such numbers to nearly cover Afghanistan. This array meant that, when the military campaign to topple the Taliban and destroy al-Qaeda began [in October 2001], we were able to support it with an enormous body of information and a large stable of assets." [Senate Intelligence Committee, 10/17/02]
Spring 2000 (B): Investigative reporter Bob Woodward later claims that special CIA paramilitary teams begin "working with tribes and warlords in southern Afghanistan" and help "create a significant new network in the region of the Taliban's greatest strength." [Washington Post, 11/18/01]