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When they are asked the question by a journalist, a country, a friend, an enemy or anybody, "What is the real purpose of the taliban movement?" the answer to them all is that the taliban's mission and purpose is to implement the sharia on this land of Allah. That is their answer, true purpose and their mission from the beginning. ~ Mohammed Omar
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

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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  • Today, in Afghanistan, a girl will be born. Her mother will hold her and feed her, comfort her and care for her — just as any mother would anywhere in the world. In these most basic acts of human nature, humanity knows no divisions. But to be born a girl in today's Afghanistan is to begin life centuries away from the prosperity that one small part of humanity has achieved. It is to live under conditions that many of us in this hall would consider inhuman. I speak of a girl in Afghanistan, but I might equally well have mentioned a baby boy or girl in Sierra Leone. No one today is unaware of this divide between the world’s rich and poor. No one today can claim ignorance of the cost that this divide imposes on the poor and dispossessed who are no less deserving of human dignity, fundamental freedoms, security, food and education than any of us. The cost, however, is not borne by them alone. Ultimately, it is borne by all of us — North and South, rich and poor, men and women of all races and religions. Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another.
  • 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.


  • The tragedy is that the U.S. leaving Afghanistan, for the Biden administration, is a chance to focus on what they call our main adversary, which is China. It justifies this continual, gargantuan Pentagon budget that eats up so much of our resources. And it is a delusional idea that we should be focusing on China as an enemy — it’s a country of over a billion people, it’s a nuclear country — especially at a time when we need to work with China to deal with issues like the climate, like the pandemic, like global poverty.
    China is going into Afghanistan and will work with the new Afghan government to build up the infrastructure. Well, where is all that infrastructure that the U.S. didn’t do for the last 20 years? Why have they left Afghanistan, having been occupied by one of the richest countries in the world — us, the United States — to be one of the most impoverished countries in the world? The U.S. should actually learn from China that instead of going into countries with bombs and bullets, it should go into countries to figure out how to help build the infrastructure and build the economy, that would be a win-win situation.
  • We feel that the U.S. owes a tremendous responsibility, not only for getting the Afghans out, as we’re trying to do now, but for the millions of Afghans who are left behind in terrible, dire situations from this 20 years of war. You had a great program on yesterday, Amy, about the humanitarian crisis. Well, we feel like the U.S. is now going to use its economic warfare against Afghanistan to increase that humanitarian crisis by withholding $9 billion that belongs to Afghanistan in U.S. banks, by working with other countries in Europe and the IMF to withhold funding. We don’t have to be friends with the Taliban, but we can’t be the enemies, either, because the victims will be the Afghan people. We need to let go of their funds. We need to provide generous humanitarian support. In fact, the U.S. should fund the entire $350 million urgent request made by the UNHCR, the refugee agency, because that’s equivalent to just one-and-a-half days of war in Afghanistan. So, we owe a lot to the people whose lives that we have helped destroy over these last 20 years.
  • In Afghanistan, we see al-Qaeda’s vision for the world. Afghanistan’s people have been brutalized—many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough. The United States respects the people of Afghanistan—after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid—but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.
    • George W. Bush, “Our Mission and Our Moment” speech (September 20, 2001)


  • 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.


  • Humanitarian and economic conditions are rapidly deteriorating in Afghanistan, where the U.N. estimates that more than half of the population suffers from acute hunger. The country has fallen into an economic crisis after the U.S. and other Western countries cut off direct financial assistance to the government following the Taliban takeover in August. Taliban leaders are also unable to access billions of dollars in Afghan national reserves that are held in banks overseas. “Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August,” says Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who recently visited Afghanistan and with refugees in Iran, where as many as 5,000 Afghans are fleeing every day. “They told me very clearly, 'We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through.'”
    • Democracy Now!, Hell on Earth”: Millions of Afghans Face Starvation as U.S. & West Freeze Billions in Gov’t Funds, (16 November 2021)


  • Well, I was myself recently also in Afghanistan, and I sat down with the mothers in these displacement camps around Kabul. And I asked them, “What about the future? What do you think of the future?” And they told me very clearly, “We believe we will starve and freeze to death this harsh winter, unless there is an enormous aid operation coming through and unless there is a public sector again that is able to provide services.” It is as acute as that. Forty million civilians were left behind when the NATO countries went for the door in August.
  • Money should not go to the military political group called the Taliban that took power by force. The money should go to the people, and it is possible. So, number one, there has to be trust funds, as we call it, that is held by U.N. agencies, that funnel money directly to the hospitals, that you just showed, where people are dying at the moment. It can go straight to the teachers that were on the payroll of the World Bank previously, can go straight to them. So, the money can go through us, international organizations, straight to the people.
    Secondly, unfreeze those funds that will enable banks to function again. At the moment, we cannot even buy relief items in Afghanistan. We have to ship them over, take them over from Pakistan and Iran, which means that employment is dying in Afghanistan.
    And thirdly, donors, come down from the fence. See that we are there. We are reliable channels for funding. The money will go to the people. Transmit funding, not just come with pledges. This will not become Switzerland in a long time. You have to share the risk with us to save lives this winter.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • The inability of the United States to comprehend what it was becoming involved in when... it declared a Global War on Terror, has to be reckoned one of the singular failures of national security policy over the past twenty years. Not only did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq make bad situations worse, but the fact that no one is Washington was able to define “victory” and think in terms of an exit strategy has meant that the wars and instability are still with us.... At the same time, American troops illegally present in neighboring Syria, continue to occupy that country’s oil fields to deprive the government in Damascus of much needed resources. Neither Iraq nor Syria threatens the United States in any way... US forces pulled out of their principal base in the country, Bagram Air Base, in the middle of the night without informing the incoming Afghan base commander. A frenzy of looting of the left-behind equipment followed... The U.S. clearly wants to have some ability to intervene using air resources if the Taliban take over and misbehave, but that just might be a fantasy as the door is closing on options while China is waiting for its own door to open to bring the Afghans into their New Silk Road. And there is no escaping the fact that the entire Afghan adventure was one hell of a waste of lives and resources.


  • In the past, women were removed from society and they wanted women to stay only at home and wanted to forget about women. Now, I want to use my paintings to remind people about women.“I have changed my images to show the strength of women, the joy of women. In my artwork, there is lots of movement. I want to show that women have returned to Afghan society with a new, stronger shape. It’s not the woman who stays at home. It’s a new woman. A woman who is full of energy, who wants to start again. You can see that in my artwork, I want to change the shape of women. I am painting them larger than life. I want to say that people look at them differently now.
  • I want to colour over the bad memories of war on the walls, and if I colour over these bad memories, then I erase [war] from people’s minds. I want to make Afghanistan famous because of its art, not its war.
  • Their [antiwar movement] mantra was: "Afghanistan, where the world's richest country rains bombs on the world's poorest country." Poor fools. They should never have tried to beat me at this game. What about, "Afghanistan, where the world's most open society confronts the world's most closed one"? "Where American women pilots kill the men who enslave women." "Where the world's most indiscriminate bombers are bombed by the world's most accurate ones." "Where the largest number of poor people applaud the bombing of their own regime." I could go on. (I think No. 4 may need a little work.) But there are some suggested contrasts for the "doves" to paste into their scrapbook. Incidentally, when they look at their scrapbooks they will be able to reread themselves saying things like, "The bombing of Kosovo is driving the Serbs into the arms of Milosevic."
  • Two months ago (... 12/21/21), I noted the striking contrast between vocal media outrage—ostensibly grounded in concern for Afghan people—over President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and the relative silence over the growing humanitarian crisis in that country, which threatens millions with life-threatening levels of famine. While influenced by drought and Taliban policies, the current crisis is primarily driven by the US decisions to freeze the assets of the country’s central bank and maintain economic sanctions, which have destabilized the banking system and sent the economy into a tailspin. Last Friday, Biden announced his intention to take the $7 billion in frozen funds currently held in US banks and use them as he sees fit, giving half to a humanitarian aid trust fund for Afghans and half to families of 9/11 victims. Lest anyone imagine this to be generous in any way, note that the $7 billion—most of which originated as international aid, and representing the vast majority of the central bank’s assets—belongs to the Afghan people, not to Biden. And the Afghan people bear zero responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. On the contrary, they are also its victims, because of the subsequent US decision to invade and occupy their country. Beyond that, giving them back half of the money that is rightfully theirs in the form of “aid”—instead of returning it to the banking system—is not only a band-aid that doesn’t solve the country’s liquidity problem, it’s nearly impossible to do anyway, given the sanctions still in place (...2/12/21).
  • 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.
  • Some of the wars America fought were "simply for profit" and the sanctions it has imposed on certain countries have been as destructive as wars... The American people have virtually no say over when we go to war. These decisions are made in back rooms somewhere...The American people continue to be lied to about why we go to war, because again, one of the big reasons is simply for profit, and that's always been true to some extent, but now it is in a very naked way.
  • [On the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan] From a strategic point of view, it has to be seen as a complete failure, and yet it went on for 20 years, why did it go on for 20 years? Because the defense industry companies that make the bombs, that make the planes, that make the vehicles, and also the private military contractors that now are fighting the wars in lieu of public military personnel, they made trillions of dollars as long as the war continued. So they didn't care if the war was ever won, the goal was for the war to simply continue forever... the point is not to win the war, but to make sure it never ends because you're going to keep making profits.


  • 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


  • Afghanistan is becoming the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The Food and Agricultural Organization said that 18.8 million Afghans are unable to feed themselves every day. This number is set to rise to nearly 23 million by the end of the year. Nearly nine million people are close to starvation. At least one million children under five with severe acute malnutrition and 2.2 million children under five with moderate acute malnutrition need malnutrition treatment services. However, starvation is not the only issue faced by children. As UNICEF warns “Afghanistan was already one of the toughest places on earth to be a child. Right now, the situation is desperate.” The situation deteriorates quickly as the country is on a brink of famine.
    Recent weeks have seen yet another trend: families selling their children, and mostly girls, so that families could buy food. In one of reported cases, a six-year-old girl and 18-month-old toddler were sold for $3,350 and $2,800 respectively. In another reporting, a 9-year-old girl was sold for about $2,200 in the form of sheep, land and cash. There are many more such stories.


  • 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.


  • I think you could say it’s a good thing that Joe Biden did this, and that is the withdrawal from Afghanistan... Certainly, there are serious questions about the tactical withdrawal and the bloodshed that was witnessed and the scene at the Kabul Airport. Congress is going to spend endless time looking at that span of a few days. In fact, I will predict they are going to spend more time looking at Biden’s withdrawal than they are going to spend looking at the catastrophic 20-year policy in Afghanistan.
  • Joe Biden made clear when he announced his withdrawal from Afghanistan that the United States was going to still have the capability to strike remotely. It is a harrowing grotesque flashback to many of the incidents we saw during the Obama era where the Biden administration authorized a drone strike on what they claimed was a vehicle carrying ISIS operatives. And you just recently had this terrorist attack at the Kabul Airport during the withdrawal. On the surveillance feed that the drone operators were looking at, we now know that they saw clearly at least one child and still went forward with the strike. Seven of the ten people killed in that strike were children. Ten of the ten people were civilians.

  • 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.
  • UN Human Rights Council has appealed to increase humanitarian support to 3.5 million people including 700,000 from 2021 alone who were displaced due to the conflict in Afghanistan, the United Nations body said in a statement. Spokesperson of UNHCR... said... that around 23 million people, or 55 per cent of the population, are facing extreme levels of hunger - nearly nine million of whom are at risk of famine. UNHCR has assisted some 700,000 displaced people across the country in 2021, the majority since mid-August. Every week, the agency is helping nearly 60,000 people, according to the statement. "But as we reach thousands of people, we find thousands more people who are in need of humanitarian assistance", Baloch said, appealing for "further resources for the most vulnerable". He noted that "single mothers with no shelter or food for their children", displaced older persons left to care for orphaned grandchildren, and people taking care of loved ones with special needs.


  • 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.”

“Americans could owe $6.5 trillion for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and that's just the interest” (August 18, 2021)[edit]

The ultimate cost of the nation's engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of the incalculable personal toll on combatants and civilians, reflects a shift in how war has typically been financed. From the American Civil War through the Korean War, the U.S. government has mostly paid for its conflicts through taxes and war bonds. But in the post-September 11 era, U.S. military spending has been financed almost entirely through debt.

Rachel Layne, “Americans could owe $6.5 trillion for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and that's just the interest”, CBS News, (August 18, 2021)

  • The ultimate cost of the nation's engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of the incalculable personal toll on combatants and civilians, reflects a shift in how war has typically been financed. From the American Civil War through the Korean War, the U.S. government has mostly paid for its conflicts through taxes and war bonds. But in the post-September 11 era, U.S. military spending has been financed almost entirely through debt.
  • Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government has spent $2.2 trillion to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to figures from Brown University's Costs of War Project. Yet that sum — which amounts to roughly 10% of the the country's total gross domestic product — only reflects upfront costs.
    Including the cost of interest on those wars will add an additional $2.1 trillion by 2030. And through 2050, the interest alone is forecast to top $6.5 trillion — even if war spending had theoretically stopped in 2019, according to research published last year from Heidi Peltier, director of the "20 Years of War" Project at Boston University's Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.
    Such borrowing leads to larger total costs because interest must be paid as long as the debt is owed. That pushes the "true cost of war out to future generations," Peltier told CBS MoneyWatch.
    "What that does is shield the American public from the costs currently," she said. "So, Americans don't realize that they're paying for the cost, because their taxes are not increased. And they're not buying more [war] bonds, they're not in any way feeling the [financial] effects currently."
  • Previous wars were largely paid for by taxes. For example, President Harry Truman temporarily raised the top tax rate on the richest Americans to 92% to help pay for the Korean War. And President Lyndon Johnson temporarily raised the top rate to 77% to fund the Vietnam War.
    At the outset of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq under President George W. Bush, however, Congress cut taxes by roughly 8% for the wealthiest Americans. Since then, war costs haven't been included in the regular defense budget, experts have noted.
    "In every previous major war, the war budget was integrated into the regular defense budget after the initial period. This meant that Congress and the Pentagon had to make trade-offs within the defense budget," Linda Bilmes, a lecturer in public policy and finance at Harvard's Kennedy School said told Congress in 2017. "By contrast, the post-9/11 wars have been funded mostly by supplemental appropriations."
  • Another hidden cost: military personnel. The U.S. has committed to pay the health care, disability, burial and other costs for about 4 million Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans, which are projected to amount to more than $2 trillion. Those costs will peak after 2048, according to the Associated Press.

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