The first time I ever encountered the word mujahideen (or one of its variant spellings) was back in the late 1980s, in the foreign news section of The Washington Post. The articles were about the efforts by the CIA to recruit, fund, and train Muslim radicals to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Since the president at the time was a Republican, the Post was critical of the attempts to mobilize the jihad fighters, and thus provided a lot of background detail about what was happening in Afghanistan.
As I recall, there were seven different mujahideen factions, all vying against each other as well as the Soviets. None of them were the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, which arose later, but many of the jihad fighters who later formed those two groups were veterans of the Afghan war and had had CIA or MI6 training.
The WaPo analysts were concerned that the United States had no coherent plan about what to do with the mujahideen once the Soviets were gone from Afghanistan. Considering that it was the 1980s, the correspondents had a remarkably good grasp of what motivated the jihad fighters, and why they would destabilize the region and endanger the security of the United States after the Russians left.
I hate to say it, but The Washington Post was right. Our foreign policy experts and national security professionals were feckless about Islam back then, and they are feckless about Islam today.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic was interviewed earlier today by RT about the assassination of Osama bin Laden and its significance in relation to what went on back in the 1980s. The video is below the jump; many thanks to Vlad Tepes for YouTubing this clip: