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AFGHANISTAN

\ ITS PAST AND PRESENT GENERAL SITUATION \

1. BACKGROUND AND MAP

l      Afghanistan is a small nation of an Islamic State; the southern part of Central Asia.

l      The last few decades, the country is in continuously turmoil conditions. The historical occupation chronology of Afghanistanè

a.      Conquest by Alexander the Great in the 4th century.

b.      Became part of Persian Empire in the 6th century. Hindu influence entered with the Hephthalites and Sasanians

c.       Islam became entrenched in Afghanistan during the rule of the Saffarids in c.AD870. Soon after that, it was divided between the Mughal Empire of India and the Safavid Empire of Persia until the 18th century. Other Persians under Nadir Shah took control. 

d.      British and Soviet fought several wars in the 19th century; gained independence from Britain in 19 August 1919. Had stable monarchy from 1930s, but was overthrown in 1970. The rebelfs attentionà to institute Marxist reforms, but failed; the reforms sparked rebellion. To establish order, Soviet invaded and occupied the area in 1979. 

e.      The anti-communist, Mujahidin forced the USSR (the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) to retreat in 1989. At that time these Afghanistanfs Mujahidin fighters were armed-supplied and trained by its own present enemies, United State of America, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others. 

f.        After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, fighting and strife subsequently continued among the various Mujahidin factions, but in 1996 the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban movement seized most of the country.

l       Additional to the civil strife, the country suffers from the enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread live mines

 

2. GOVERNMENT

l       Afghanistan has its names accordinglyè

a.      Conventional long form: Islamic State of Afghanistan [? Taliban refers to the country as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan]

b.      Conventional Short form: Afghanistan

c.       Local long form: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan

d.      Former: Republic of Afghanistan

l       Has no functioning central government; only administered by various factions. A new legal system has not been adopted but all factions tacitly agree they will follow Sharif a (Islamic Law). 

l       Administrative divisionsà 30 provinces (Velayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baglan, Balkh, Bamian, farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Konar, Kondoz, Laghman, Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Parvan, Samangan, Sar-e-Pol, Takhar, Vardak and Zabol. [? 2 new provinces: Nurestan (Nuristan) and Khowst]

l       Its Constitution, Legislative branch, Judicial branch are not functioning, although local Sharif a (Islamic Law) courts exist throughout the country.

l       Afghanistanfs flag description:

è Three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white and black with gold emblem centered on the three bands, the emblem features a temple-like structure with Islamic inscription above, all of which are encircled by two crossed scimitars. [? Taliban uses a plain white flag] 

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3. AFGHANISTAN POPULATION

l       Population: 25,838,797 (July 2001 est.)

l       Ethnic groups: Pashtun 38%, Tajik 25%, Uzbek 6%, Hazara 19%, minor ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch etc)

l       Religions: Sunni Muslim 84%, Shif a Muslim 15%, other1%

l       Languages: Afghan Persian 50%, Pashtu 35%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pasha) 4%.

 

4. AFGHANISTAN ECONOMY

l       Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country, highly dependent on farming and livestock rising (sheep and goats).

l       Majority of the population suffer from insufficient food, clothing, housing and medical care. Inflation remains a serious problem throughout the country. The economic situation did not improve in 1998-1999, as internal civil strife continued, hampering both domestic economic policies and international aid efforts.

l       Agriculture products: Opium poppies, wheat, fruits, nuts, karakul pelts; wool and mutton

l       Industries: Small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement, hand-woven carpets, natural gas, oil, coal and copper. 

l       Unemployment rate: 8% as in 1995

l       Currency and Exchange rate: 1 Afghanis (Af). 1US$= 4700 Af (as in January 2000)

 

5. THE PRESENT SITUATION

l       Afghanistan has been labeled and criticized, as a country lack of humanitarian prospects due to the implementation of itfs the so-called extreme, barbaric and harsh regulations of Sharifa (Islamic Law) àdiscrimination towards women in both dressing code and their social involvement.

l       World organizations try to help Afghanis with various aids, but most didnft show remarkable results in providing a better life for the Afghan people à lack of support from the government

l       In the most recent event, Afghanistan has been under attack of America, and this has produced a complicated situation for the world peace. In the attack against terrorism by America and its alliances, with its slow approach and seemingly many more civilians were actually killed than Taliban or terrorist. America has become what they were against à attacking of innocent people. Attacks by America itself are the terrorist acts!!

l       Where the America government once felt that the Taliban would fall quickly, world now see that they are for real and will not roll over, instead they would rather die for the cause. By doing a lot more killing as a way of taking revenge on the WTC attack wonft solve anything, their root causes will still viciously lurking around even if America managed to beheaded the so-called master mind behind these terrorist acts; OSAMA bin LADEN. The death of one Osama bin laden will only produce more and more eOsama bin Ladenf. One cannot help but wonder how America can solve this crisis if they donft return to the root of the cause first? 

l       What Osama bin Laden said should also be taken under consideration: The Middle-East crisis and the presence of Americafs army in Saudi Arab. World should pay more attention to the fact that whatever he did was not without a cause, which lies mostly on America. He was left with no other choice to have worldfs active participation toward the peaceful accord in the Middle East. Of course his act of terrorism is no excuse and totally inhumane, and without a doubt, totally un-Islamic. But, just as the world severely denounced the killing of civilians in the United State, the world must also equally denounce the continuous killing of innocent Muslim civilians in Palestine, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, India and other countries.

References:

http://education.yahoo.com/search/be?lb=t&p=url%3Aa/afghan_wars

http://www.britannica.com/eb/alpha?search=Afghanistan&x=28y=4

http://www.britannica.com/eb/alpha?search=Afghan&x=9&y=8