The Wrangler

A Brief History of Afghanistan and the War

A+shepard+and+his+sheep+in+Bagram.
A shepard and his sheep in Bagram.

A shepard and his sheep in Bagram.

REUTERS

REUTERS

A shepard and his sheep in Bagram.

Sanaz Kharazmi, Photojournalist

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Once a kingdom of its own, a vital part of the Persian Empire, and a hot spot for the Silk Road, Afghanistan was once far from the stereotype of being a doomed war zone. Nowadays, many years after Soviet occupation and a volatile, ongoing war, many forget the beauty and impact this country had on the world. So, what is it that took this country to such a vulnerable state, and how does life and culture for Afghans worldwide look in the future?

 

Afghanistan first became a part of the Persian Empire in 500 BC, when it was conquered by Darius I of Persia. From that point, much of the Afghan population spoke Farsi, or Persian, and inherited many Persian customs. Today, Pashto, an Eastern Iranian language is spoken after years of separation and evolution, as well as Dari, or another, political term for the Persian language (PBS). When the Arab Islamic Caliphate took place in 652 AD, Afghanistan and many other surrounding countries adopted the Islamic religion and its customs. Since then, it has remained much of the Persian Empire, had its own empire, and been a part of the Indian Mughal Empire. Alas, the modern country of Afghanistan is founded in 1747 when Nadir Shah of the Persian Safavid dynasty dies, and Ahmad Khan Abdali is tribally elected as king of the Afghans, later to be referred to as Ahmad Shah Durrani (History World).

 

During the British rule of India in 1838, the British invade Afghanistan in fear that the Russians and Czar Nicholas I were closing in on the British-Indian Empire, which gave rise to three British Afghan Wars (PBS). Preceding with the war in 1838, the British invade Afghanistan and install a king: Shah Shujah, who is assassinated several years later in 1842, when the British and Indian forces retreat (BBC). Several years later in 1953, the Shah’s cousin, General Mohammed Daoud Khan, becomes Prime Minister of Afghanistan and asks for assistance from the Soviet Union. During this time, women are given more rights, and communism in Afghanistan gains slight traction (in secret, at least). The last king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, is overthrown in a military coup, and thus marks the origin of Daoud Khan’s People’s Democratic Party and their power. This is also where the Republic of Afghanistan links with the Soviet Union (PBS).

 

Eventually, independence and severing of ties with the Soviet Union was established, and Afghanistan was credited with modernization by giving women increasing rights. During the late 1970’s, the Mujahideen, seeking help from the the American government, became part of the Cold War while fighting the USSR. The Mujahideen were a rebel group who were organized in Afghanistan with the help of the CIA to fight against the USSR and the Soviet allied Afghan government (Britannica). Following the generation of this group and rising tensions during the Cold War, the Taliban grew in popularity due to its promises to bring peace and stability to the war torn country. Unfortunately, they became much more strict with women’s rights and established an official Islamic Law (PBS).

 

After Al-Qaida’s bombing of American embassies and other terrorist attacks including 9/11, Osama Bin Laden became a wanted person who was believed to be hiding in Afghanistan. Although she admits to not being old enough to recall the events leading up to war, Kristen Camarena (12) states that she is “astonished” at “how long the war has been going on” and how much both countries involved have lost so much.

 

Since the sending of troops to Afghanistan, many lives from abroad and of those indigenous to the battleground have been sacrificed in what seems like a never ending, brutal battle.

 

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A Brief History of Afghanistan and the War