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The USSR suffered its ‘Vietnam’ in Afghanistan. In 1979 the USSR sent troops to support a communist coup and fought on doggedly against opposition forces, supported in part by the USA, until the Soviets were forced to withdraw in 1989. The casualties were far fewer than those in Vietnam, but Afghanistan was thoroughly destabilized, and even at the turn of the century was still embroiled in civil war.” ~ The World’s History

The Taliban is a predominantly Pashtun, Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when a U.S.-led invasion toppled the regime for providing refuge to Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban was formed in the early 1990s by an Afghan faction of mujahideen, Islamic fighters who had resisted the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979–89) with the covert backing of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They were joined by younger Pashtun tribesmen who studied in Pakistani madrassas, or seminaries; taliban is Pashto for ‘students.’ Pashtuns comprise a plurality in Afghanistan and are the predominant ethnic group in much of the country's south and east.
The movement attracted popular support in the initial post-Soviet era by promising to impose stability and rule of law after four years of conflict (1992–1996) among rival mujahideen groups. Talibs entered Kandahar in November 1994 to pacify the crime-ridden southern city, and by September 1996 seized the capital, Kabul, from President Burhanuddin Rabbani, an ethnic Tajik whom they viewed as anti-Pashtun and corrupt. The Taliban regime controlled some 90 percent of the country before its 2001 overthrow, analysts say.
The Taliban imposed its brand of justice as it consolidated territorial control. Taliban jurisprudence was drawn from the Pashtuns’ pre-Islamic tribal code and interpretations of sharia colored by the austere Wahhabi doctrines of the madrassas’ Saudi benefactors. The regime neglected social services and other basic state functions even as its Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice enforced prohibitions on behavior the Taliban deemed un-Islamic, requiring women to wear the head-to-toe burqa, or chadri; banning music and television; and jailing men whose beards it deemed too short.
The regime was internationally isolated from its inception. Two UN Security Council resolutions passed in 1998 urged the Taliban to end its abusive treatment of women. The following year the council imposed sanctions on the regime for harboring al-Qaeda. Only Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan recognized the government.”

~ Council on Foreign Relations 

  1. Why did the Soviets intervene in Afghanistan and why did the Soviets withdraw? ________________________________________________________________________

  2. What is the Taliban and how did it gain control of Afghanistan and how did it rule? ________________________________________________________________________

  3. Why was the Taliban government overthrown? ________________________________________________________________________

  1. Essential Facts: Introduction to Afghanistan

  1. Ethnically mixed population reflects location astride historic trade and invasion routes leading through Central Asia

  2. Pashtuns make up the largest ethnic group at 42%

  3. Islamic country80% Sunni; the remainder is predominantly Shi’a

  1. A Turbulent History

  1. In 328 BCE, Alexander the Great entered territory, then part of Persian Empire, and established a Hellenistic state in Bactria

  2. Then invasions by Scythians, White Huns, and Turks

  3. In 642 CE, Arabs invaded region and introduced Islam

  4. Destructive Mongol invasion in 1219 led by Genghis Khan

  5. In late 14th century, Tamerlane incorporated Afghanistan into his empire

  6. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durrani established his rule

  7. 1800s: collision between British Empire and czarist Russia influenced Afghanistan in what was termed “The Great Game”

  8. Two Anglo-Afghan warsbut in a third war, war-weary British relinquished control by signing Treaty of Rawalpindi in August 1919

  1. King Amanullah (1919-1929) moved to modernize the nation

J. King alienated tribal leaders and was forced to abdicate

K. Mohammad Zahir Shah succeeded to throne and reigned from 1933 to 1973

L. Amid charges of corruption, former Prime Minister Daoud seized power in a

military coup on July 17, 1973

M. Daoud abolished the monarchy

N. But On April 27, 1978, communist PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of

Afghanistan) initiated a bloody coup

P. But even with Soviet support, the Communist program alienated traditional Afghans

III. A Long and Bloody Conflict

  1. Afghan fighters (mujahideen) immediately fought and challenged the communists

  2. By 1984, mujahideen began receiving assistance from the U.S. (Cold War)

  3. The Soviet withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989

D. Civil war continued after Soviet withdrawal which was completed in 1989

IV. The Taliban

  1. Many Taliban had been educated in madrassas in Pakistan

  2. By end of 1998, the Taliban occupied about 90% of the country

  3. Imposed an extreme interpretation of Islam

  4. Human rights violations, particularly directed against women and girls

  5. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed two huge Buddha statues carved into a cliff face outside of the city of Bamiyan

  6. Provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden

  7. After September 11, 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan

  8. The Taliban disintegrated rapidly and Kabul fell on November 13, 2001

  9. Afghan factions opposed to Taliban met at a United Nations conference and agreed to restore stability and governance to Afghanistan

  10. The “Loya Jirga” (Grand Council) decided on the structure of the government

  11. However, the Taliban continues to fight to regain power

  12. Continued conflict still exists in the region

  1. Where is Afghanistan located? ________________________________________________________________________

  2. Describe Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious composition. ________________________________________________________________________

  3. Why was Afghanistan often a land of invasions? ________________________________________________________________________

  4. How was Afghanistan affected by Alexander the Great? ________________________________________________________________________

  5. When was Islam introduced to Afghanistan? ________________________________________________________________________

  6. How was Afghanistan affected by the Mongols? ________________________________________________________________________

  7. What was the “Great Game” during the Age of Imperialism? ________________________________________________________________________

  8. Why did the British relinquish control of Afghanistan in 1919? ________________________________________________________________________

  9. What happened politically after Afghanistan gained independence? ________________________________________________________________________

  10. What happened in 1973 in Afghanistan? ________________________________________________________________________

  11. Why was the communist coup in Afghanistan in 1978 surprising? ________________________________________________________________________

  12. Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan in 1979? ________________________________________________________________________

  13. Why did most Afghanis not support the communist government? ________________________________________________________________________

  14. Who were the mujahideen? ________________________________________________________________________

  15. Who did the mujahideen receive help from? ________________________________________________________________________

  16. Why did this nation help the mujahideen? ________________________________________________________________________

  17. What was the Cold War? ________________________________________________________________________

  18. Why is the Soviet experience in Afghanistan compared to the U.S. in Vietnam? ________________________________________________________________________

  19. What happened in 1989? ________________________________________________________________________

  20. How did the Taliban come to power in Afghanistan? ________________________________________________________________________

  21. How did the Taliban rule Afghanistan? ________________________________________________________________________

  22. Why did the United States invade Afghanistan in 2001? ________________________________________________________________________

  23. How has Afghanistan changed since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan? ________________________________________________________________________

  1. Which of the following statements is not true of modern terrorism?

  1. Modern terrorists routinely employ violence against civilian targets.

  2. Modern terrorists use sophisticated modern weapons and technologies.

  3. Modern terrorists are not confined to any one state and operate effectively across borders.

  4. Modern terrorists have been largely successful in achieving their political objectives.

  5. All of the above statements about terrorism are true.

  1. The perceived grievances of al-Qaeda against the United States and its allies include all of the following except

  1. U.S. support of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

  2. The presence of American troops in the holy land of Saudi Arabia.

  3. U.S. failure to support the mujahideen in their war against the Soviet Union.

  4. U.S. sanctions against Iraq.

  5. All of the above are grievances of al-Qaeda.

3. What factor gave Britain justification for interfering in Egyptian politics in the late 1800s?

(A) Lawrence of Arabia's military campaigns there

(B) Its control over Palestine

(C) Its archaeological expeditions

(D) Its majority of shares in the ownership of the Suez Canal

(E) Queen Victoria's marriage to an Egyptian prince

4. The regime of the Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was overthrown because

A) He alienated conservative Shia Muslims with his secular reforms.

B) He used CIA money to suppress all dissent.

C) He allowed western corporations to dominate the economy.

D) All of the above.

E) A and b, not c.

5. What is the largest ethnic group of Afghanistan?

(A) Pashtun

(B) Tajik

(C) Hazara

(D) Aimak

(E) None of the above
6. Which religion do most Afghans follow?

(A) Christianity
(B) Islam

(C) Hinduism

(D) Judaism

(E) None of the above
7. Which of the following ideas was given to Muslims on the authority of the Qur'an?

(A) All earthly existence is merely an illusion.

(B) Muhammad is God.

(C) The soul may be reborn in another earthly form after the death of the individual.

(D) Moses and Jesus were both great prophets sent by God for the benefit of humanity.

(E) The cow is a sacred animal, and the eating of beef is therefore a sacrilegious and impure act.

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