country in Central and South Asia

Afghanistan (Pashto/Dari: افغانستان, Afġānistān), officially the Islamic Emirate 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. However, the United States Armed Forces withdrew from the country in 2021 and the Taliban quickly retook control.

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  • 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.
  • Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God, as can be your own.
  • 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.
  • Thrice genial clime! Oh, favoured, sweet Cabul!
    Well art thou named the bless'd—the beautiful!
    With snow-peaked hills around thee,—guarding arms!
    Ah! would thy sons were worthy of thy charms!
    Wild are those tribes, a free but barbarous race,
    Crime still the shadow darkening Nature's face.
    What to the Affghan's eye is smiling earth?
    What scenes of glory?—things of little worth;
    Not his the finer joys, the charms of lore,
    The taste that brightens, and the thoughts that soar,
    His highest aim to lead his mountain horde,
    And bathe in blood his Koran-graven sword.
  • And many an Afghan chief, who lies
      Beneath his cool pomegranate-trees,
    Clutches his sword in fierce surmise
      When on the mountain-side he sees
    The fleet-foot Marri scout, who comes
      To tell how he hath heard afar
    The measured roll of English drums
      Beat at the gates of Kandahar.

See also

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