sovereign state situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and South Asia

Afghanistan (Pashto/Dari: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a country in Central and Southern Eurasia. Once a buffer state between the Russian Empire and British India, it has remained in state of civil war since 1978, when conservative Afghans rebelled against a Communist government. The rebellion prompted an invasion and occupation by the Soviet Union, which Muslim fighters defeated with international support. The Muslim fighters overthrew the Communist government in 1992 and were overthrown in 1996 by the more conservative Taliban movement. The United States led an invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, accompanied by a coalition of NATO members in 2003.

Afghanistan is composed of 18 different communities marked by ethnic, linguistic and religious differences. But ask any Afghan who he is, and he won’t hesitate to reply: an Afghan! ~ Amir Taheri
We will never be a pawn in someone else's game. We will always be Afghanistan. ~ Ahmad Shah Massoud
Afghanistan's location and the variety and abundance of its bountiful mines of gold, copper and precious stones make it an archaeological holy grail. The Afghan lapis-lazuli, a brilliant blue semi-precious gemstone, was used as decoration by the Egyptian pharaohs and the great kings of Assyria and Babylon, Bendezu-Sarmiento notes. ~ Anne Chaon
In Afghan society, parents play a central role in the lives of their children; the parent-child relationship is fundamental to who you are and what you become and how you perceive yourself, and it is laden with contradictions, with tension, with anger, with love, with loathing, with angst. ~ Khaled Hossein

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  • Could the American prowess defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan or in other places? No, you cannot… it’s not enough to have this Apache or F-16 or F-35, whatever you want to label it, to defeat terrorists. There has to be a more comprehensive way of dealing with that complicated issue.


  • “Almost all pre-Islamic archaeological sites have been looted and destroyed by clandastine digs over the last twelve years. The Minar-e-Chakari, the Buddhist pillar, also called the Alexander pillar, dating back to the first century of our era was hit by a rocket and it tumbled to the ground in March 1998. None will see again its eternal beauty.”
    • About archaeological sites in Afghanistan. “Recent Archaeological Discoveries from Afgha-nistan Destructon of Cultural Heritage” written by Osmund Bopearachchi which is published in the book Bamiyan: Challenge to World Heritage edited by K. Warikoo.


  • Our government has known for years that the war in Afghanistan is a jaw-dropping disaster... How do we know they knew? The Washington Post actually just published some impressive reporting, taking a step back from its lust for pro-war propaganda... The Post unearthed a trove of thousands of internal government documents that expose the catastrophic war. “[The document trove] reveals that senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable,” the paper reported. Let me translate The Washington Post’s fancy-pants language: U.S. officials didn’t “fail to tell the truth”; they f---ing lied. The phrase “failed to tell the truth” oozes around the brain’s neural pathways, strategically dodging the anger receptors... keep in mind that the U.S. military likes to categorize anyone it kills “an insurgent.” The Pentagon goes by the theory that if it kills you, then you’re an insurgent—because if you weren’t an insurgent, then why did it kill you? A great many of the 42,000 were truly innocent civilians.
  • In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2017) to be in excess of 700 billion dollars a year... The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan. The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade. The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.
  • The period between the Soviet withdrawal and the outbreak of civil war in 1993 represented a lost opportunity, though the political seeds of failure had probably been sown much earlier because of the greed and opportunism of the competing mujahedeen groups and the manipulations of their foreign backers.
    Between 1992 and 1996, resistance factions, joined later by the Taliban, locked themselves into a kaleidoscopic power struggle that resulted in the obliteration of huge swathes of southern and eastern Kabul and considerable damage to much of the rest of the city on a scale that even Beirut and Sarajevo veterans can scarcely believe. Afghanistan’s own uncompromising leaders were primarily responsible for Kabul’s destruction, but the Soviets also laid waste to huge areas and were responsible for the millions of mines that still litter the Afghan countryside.


  • He would be surprised at the fluctuation and instability of the civil institutions. He would find it difficult to comprehend how a nation could subsist in such disorder... Opportunism prevails in Afghanistan. The changing combination of forces is not based on any principle; they simply represent the unfolding of old rivalries and new clashes of interests.
  • Afghanistan was a full part of the Hindu cradle up till the year 1000, and in political unity with India until Nadir Shah separated it in the 18th century.
    • Koenraad Elst, Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society (1991)


  • The war in Afghanistan was prompted more than anything by displeasure with the country’s then-PDPA general secretary, Hafizullah Amin. Although he led Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed Communist party, he had angered the Kremlin by assassinating his predecessor, Mohammed Taraki, a rival Communist. Moscow blamed Amin’s ruthlessness for a wave of rebellion in the countryside that threatened the government. By eliminating him, the Kremlin reasoned, a coup d’état would save the Communist regime that kept the Soviet Union’s southern neighbor within Moscow’s sphere of influence.
  • Despite grievous mistakes in planning and execution, however, the Soviet war in Afghanistan was no unmitigated failure. Until Washington provided the rebel mujahideen with Stinger surface-to-air missiles in 1986, Moscow had the upper hand. The rub for the U.S.S.R. was that soon after the reforming Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985—but before the introduction of the Stinger missiles turned the conflict’s tide—he had already promised to withdraw Soviet troops.
  • The Government of Afghanistan has asked industrialists to present plans and recommendations to revive the textile industry in the country. Around 59,000 tons of cotton is grown in Afghanistan but there are no factories to process the fibre further. In the past, there were at least seven textile manufacturing plants in the country that employed 30,000 people.
  • We are very much welcoming a new national policy on the rights of internally displaced people. This would help find solutions for the many, many displaced who were affected by conflict, natural disasters and basically gives them far more rights than they had before. And puts the onus on the different governments, ministries etc where they are located.


  • Afghan officials say Iran’s support of the Taliban is aimed in part at disrupting development projects that might threaten its dominance. The Iranian goal, they contend, is to keep Afghanistan supplicant.
    The biggest competition is for water, and Afghans have every suspicion that Iran is working to subvert plans in Afghanistan for upstream dams that could threaten its water supply.
  • Let’s look at the nature of what the imperialists and their lackeys call democracy in Afghanistan. In the Afghan government, as reflected in the constitution, political parties, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, in short all civil and individual rights are restricted by Islam and Islamic Sharia, nothing is permitted beyond that and everything is illegal. In this aspect, the main difference between the current Islamic Republic regime and the Islamic Emirate regime of the Taliban is that the current regime is a multi-party Islamic regime, while the Taleban regime was a single-party Islamic regime....As a method, democracy is utilised to dress up the anti-democratic religious Islamic nature of the regime as being modern.


  • For nearly twenty years, the American occupation of Afghanistan, alongside other economic and strategic goals, attempted to undermine the social conservatism of the country. American soldiers built schools for women’s education, cultivated feminism and critical gender studies among the Afghani elite, curtailed the power of religious law, and attempted to cosmpolitanize Kabul. A new consumerist culture tried to undermine the bonds of the traditional Afghan family. Practices banned by the Taliban, such as degenerate “bacha bazi” grooming, were quietly brought back under the American occupation. Where the Taliban were once the harbingers of law and order, the American military elite allowed a culture of sexual assault, rapes, and homosexual activity to flourish among the Afghan people. Indeed, the Afghan fertility rate collapsed under the strain of war, feminization, consumerism, and liberalism. Despite this, the Taliban retained enough mass popular support to retake the country in August 2021.
  • The absence of resistance to the Taliban’s conquest is of great consequence: after being unimpressed bydecades of liberalization, most Afghans still preferred to be ruled under a traditionalist order. Liberalism’s foundational source of power comes from its capacity for violence and bribery, both of which are now absent in Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan has a history of military support for different factions within Afghanistan, extending at least as far back as the early 1970s. During the 1980s, Pakistan, which was host to more than two million Afghan refugees, was the most significant front-line state serving as a secure base for the mujahidin fighting against the Soviet intervention. Pakistan also served, in the 1980s, as a U.S. stalking horse: the U.S., through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), granted Pakistan wide discretion in channeling some U.S.$2-3 billion worth of covert assistance to the mujahidin, training over 80,000 of them. Even after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, serving and former Pakistani military officers continued to provide training and advisory services in training camps within Afghanistan and eventually to Taliban forces in combat.


  • Kabul has a castle celebrated for its strength, accessible only by one road. In it there are Musulmans, and it has a town in which are infidels from Hind.


  • The contracts, the subcontracts, the blind contracts given to people, money thrown around to buy loyalties, money thrown around to buy submissiveness of Afghan government officials, to policies and designs that the Afghans would not agree to. That was the major part of corruption.


  • For archaeologists, Afghanistan is virtually off-limits for fieldwork, as Taliban forces battle the Kabul government in far-flung provinces and security remains tenuous even in the capital. Yet U.S. and Afghan researchers are now finding thousands of never-before-cataloged ancient sites in the country, which for more than a millennium served as a crucial crossroads linking East and West. The discoveries promise to expand scholars’ view of long-vanished empires while giving the battered nation a desperately needed chance to protect its trove of cultural heritage.


  • We will never be a pawn in someone else's game. We will always be Afghanistan.
    • Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (2005) by Gary Berntsen and Ralph Pezzullo.


  • Most Afghans still live in rural areas, where poverty, conflict and conservative attitudes are more likely to keep girls and women at home.
    Of the 4.2 million Afghan children not getting any education, Unicef estimates 60% are girls - and most live in rural districts and the southern and eastern provinces where Nato-Taliban clashes have been most fierce.
    These are also the heartlands of the Pashtuns, the ethnic group from which the Taliban emerged and who have always had the most conservative views of a woman's role.
    More schools are being built outside Afghan cities - but far less in this conflict belt. Even then, the Taliban have forced many to close again.
    It's dangerous trying to be a teacher in southern Afghanistan.
Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the ‘stone age’ with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the US government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions, a whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities—pounded into dust. ~ Arundhati Roy


  • For over a decade after the fall of the Taliban regime in December 2001, China preferred to be a mere spectator of the dramatic events unfolding in Afghanistan. Unlike other countries, which sent troops to participate in counterinsurgency operations and contributed financial and other support for reconstruction of the war-ravaged country, Beijing maintained a low profile.
    China did not send troops to Afghanistan as it was not interested in being a “subordinate partner” of the U.S.-led alliance in that country. Besides, its goals in Afghanistan were “limited,” Zhao Huasheng, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai pointed out. Unlike the Western powers, China was not interested in “rebuilding Afghanistan politically” or in altering its “political structures, social patterns or ideological orientations.”
    While China avoided participating in multilateral efforts in Afghanistan in the 2002-12 period, it maintained close ties with the Afghan government. It signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborly Relations with Kabul in 2006. Two years later, Chinese companies won a $3 billion contract to extract copper from the Mes Aynak mines in Logar province.
    It was in the context of the U.S. drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and the possibility of the country descending into chaos that China began stepping up its involvement in Afghan affairs in 2012.
  • Afghanistan never has had, and never can have, the cohesion and consistency of a regular monarchical government. The nation consists of a mere collection of tribes, of unequal power and with divergent habits, which are held together, more or less closely, according to the personal character of the chief who rules them. The feeling of patriotism, as known in Europe, cannot exist among the Afghans, for there is no common country... There is no natural or ethnical reason why Herat and Candahar should be attached to Cabul. Herat is inhabited by races entirely alien to the Afghans, by Jamshidis, Eymaks, and Hazrehs; while at Candahar, though the lands were parcelled out by Nadir Shah in the middle of the last century among the Durrani aristocracy, and their descendants still exist as a privileged class, the peasantry are everywhere of Persian, or Tajik, or Turkish descent, and have no community of felling with the northern and eastern Afghans.
  • A retired army colonel commissioned by the Pentagon to examine the war in Afghanistan concluded the conflict created conditions that have given "warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life," The New Yorker reported on Sunday.
    • Hy Rothstein, The New Yorker, (Sunday, 3 April 2004); as quoted in Channel news Asia archived from the original on (2004-04-05).
  • Capitalism’s gratuitous wars and sanctioned greed have jeopardized the planet and filled it with refugees. Much of the blame for this rests squarely on the shoulders of the government of the United States. Seventeen years after invading Afghanistan, after bombing it into the ‘stone age’ with the sole aim of toppling the Taliban, the US government is back in talks with the very same Taliban. In the interim it has destroyed Iraq, Libya and Syria. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives to war and sanctions, a whole region has descended into chaos, ancient cities—pounded into dust. Amidst the desolation and the rubble, a monstrosity called Daesh (ISIS) has been spawned. It has spread across the world, indiscriminately murdering ordinary people who had absolutely nothing to do with America’s wars. Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged, and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the US Government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state.


  • We regard the Afghan jihăd as the mother of jihăd. Many jihăd movements in the ummah have sprung from it.
    • Mujăhid Syed Íală˙uddin, the Óizb Amir, or Amir of the mujăhidin, in Kăshmir, 1995 quoted from Richard Bonney (auth.) - Jihād_ From Qur’ān to bin Laden-Palgrave Macmillan UK (2004) page 320


  • Yes, Afghanistan is composed of 18 different communities marked by ethnic, linguistic and religious differences. But ask any Afghan who he is, and he won’t hesitate to reply: an Afghan! The national identity has taken shape over 300 years — after all, as a state, Afghanistan is older than America, Germany and Italy. It is also one of the oldest Muslim nation-states... From 1860 to 1977, a string of Afghan monarchs imposed effective rule throughout their realm. But the monarchy was never absolute, if only because the loya jigrah, a high assembly of tribal and religious leaders, would restrain a despotic king or help a weak one... Until the “time of troubles” starting in the late ’70s, Afghans were proverbial in their hospitality and readiness to welcome foreigners. Over two decades, an estimated 1.2 million young Westerners traveled there in search of the mythical east — without facing any hostility. As for misogyny, Afghanistan was among the first Muslim countries to declare education compulsory for both boys and girls. From the ’60s, it had women doctors, professors, parliamentarians and even Cabinet ministers... The Pakistani military created the Taliban in 1995 — six years after the Red Army left Afghanistan. Al Qaeda funneled money to some mujahedeen, but never played a role in the fighting. Even the mujahedeen couldn’t claim to have driven out the Red Army — which left as part of Mikhail Gorbachev’s strategic retreat. And the Communist regime remained for three years after the Soviets left, collapsing only when its Uzbek militia switched sides and, forging an alliance with Tajik fighters under Ahmad Shah Massoud, captured Kabul. The massive aid for the mujahedeen from America and allies proved a crucial factor in forcing the Soviet withdrawal. The claim that a handful of Pushtun, on their own, defeated the Red Army is laughable... Modern ideas have had a home in Afghanistan since the 19th century. Several Islamist reformist movements started in Afghanistan before spreading to Central Asia and beyond. Afghanistan’s social- democratic, liberal, nationalist, Marxist, Maoist and Islamist parties provided a rich tapestry of ideologies until the ’70s... Eight years ago, no Afghan girls could go to school. Now, a third attend school. Although corruption is rife in the new ruling elite, hundreds of construction projects have finished, with hundreds more under way. More important, perhaps, the vast majority of Afghans think that they’re better off under President Hamid Karzai’s administration — inefficient, arrogant and possibly corrupt as it may be — than under the murderous rule of Mullah Muhammad Omar.
  • Nearly twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union pulled its last troops out of Afghanistan, ending more than nine years of direct involvement and occupation. The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States. In the brutal nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed, as well as 90,000 Mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. Civil war raged after the withdrawal, setting the stage for the Taliban's takeover of the country in 1996.


  • The most explicit mentioning of the Afghans appears in Al- Baruni’s Tarikh Al-Hind (eleventh century AD). Here it is said that various tribes of Afghans lived in the mountains in the west of India. Al Baruni adds that they were savage people and he describes them as Hindus.


  • Afghanistan's rugged terrain is honeycombed with natural caverns and man-made tunnels. The Hindu Kush mountains are pocked with caves scooped out of limestone by melting snow. In the sandstone foothills of the southeastern part of the country, everyone from warriors to farmers has carved tunnels that provide ideal hiding places for fighters and ammunition. The hideouts also include caves dug deep into the granite bedrock during the war with the Soviets in the 1980s. This underground warren is connected by crisscrossing passageways, and is equipped with escape tunnels. Some of these massive caves are large enough to drive a truck into, or to house a few tanks and a fighter jet.
  • The Week, “The Caves of Afghanistan”, (January 1, 2007).
  • Afghanistan's populated plains have a very arid climate, and rivers dry up for months at a time. Farmers built the first tunnels, called karez, to transport water from the mountains to their crops. The tunnels typically begin at the foot of mountainous areas, where the initial well is dug down to the water table. The channels then follow a gentle slope to the population centers they support. Some historians believe the underground irrigation system was already in place when Alexander the Great conquered present-day Afghanistan on his way to India in 328 B.C.
  • The Week, “The Caves of Afghanistan”, (January 1, 2007).

“How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan” (9 Jan 2018)Edit

Alfred W McCoy, “How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan”, The Guardian, (9 Jan 2018).

  • The CIA looked the other way while Afghanistan’s opium production grew from about 100 tonnes annually in the 1970s to 2,000 tonnes by 1991. In 1979 and 1980, just as the CIA effort was beginning to ramp up, a network of heroin laboratories opened along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier. That region soon became the world’s largest heroin producer. By 1984, it supplied a staggering 60% of the US market and 80% of the European. Inside Pakistan, the number of heroin addicts surged from near zero (yes, zero) in 1979 to 5,000 in 1980, and 1.3 million by 1985 – a rate of addiction so high the UN termed it “particularly shocking”.
  • By 2007, the UN’s Afghanistan Opium Survey found that the country’s then-record opium harvest of approximately 8,200 tonnes provided 93% of the world’s illicit heroin supply. Significantly, the UN stated that Taliban guerrillas have “started to extract from the drug economy resources for arms, logistics, and militia pay”. In 2008, the rebels reportedly collected $425m in “taxes” levied on the opium traffic, and with every harvest they made enough funds to recruit a new crop of young fighters from the villages. Each of those prospective guerrillas could count on monthly payments of $300 – far above the wages they would have made as agricultural laborers.
  • For most people worldwide, economic activity, the production and exchange of goods, is the prime point of contact with their government. When, however, a country’s most significant commodity is illegal, then political loyalties naturally shift to the economic networks that move that product safely and secretly from fields to foreign markets, providing protection, finance and employment at every stage. “The narcotics trade poisons the Afghan financial sector and fuels a growing illicit economy,” John Sopko explained in 2014. “This, in turn, undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, nourishing criminal networks and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups.”

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