During the Cold War, the United States did almost everything they possibly could to keep Russia from gaining power.
One of these things was to turn as many people against Russia as possible and convince them to take military action against the Soviets.
In 1978, it was rumored the Soviet Union was going to try to do something to Pakistan.
Some said that they were going to try to make them Communist, and others said that they were going to try to incorporate Pakistan into the USSR.
Whatever the case, the following year, in 1979, a United States official paid a visit to an Islamic group that was located in Pakistan.
The official gave a rallying speech, telling the Pakistanis to resist the Soviet pressures and remain their own, independent, non-Communist nation.
Along with the speech, the United States gave the Pakistani group 3 billion dollars’ worth in weapons, funding, and training.
In the short term, all of this aid helped the Pakistanis keep Russia out.
But in the long term, giving these Pakistanis all of this power started and stokes the fire that grew into Islamic extremism.
This new extremist group came to be known as—you guessed it—Al Qaeda.