History UsefulNotes / Afghanistan

10th Jul '17 12:22:38 PM ddyingle
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* ''Film/WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot''

8th Jul '17 3:54:11 PM nombretomado
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-->—The Young British Soldier, '''RudyardKipling'''

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-->—The Young British Soldier, '''RudyardKipling'''
'''Creator/RudyardKipling'''
4th May '17 6:26:28 PM SantosLHalper
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-> ''[[LeftForDead When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,]]''
-> ''[[ColdBloodedTorture and the women come out to cut up what remains,]]''
-> ''[[BetterToDieThanBeKilled jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,]]''
-> ''[[DownerEnding and go to your Gawd like a soldier.]]''

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-> ''[[LeftForDead When ''When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,]]''
plains,''
-> ''[[ColdBloodedTorture and ''and the women come out to cut up what remains,]]''
remains,''
-> ''[[BetterToDieThanBeKilled jest ''jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,]]''
brains,''
-> ''[[DownerEnding and ''and go to your Gawd like a soldier.]]''''



!!Afghanistan is an example of the following:

* AluminumChristmasTrees: Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion was not a wealthy first-world place, [[http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2013/01/28/podlich-afghanistan-1960s-photos/5846/ but still]] [[http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/27/once_upon_a_time_in_afghanistan far above]] the war-torn country of Taliban and barbarous AK-47 armed gangs modern people are familiar with. Which gave birth to [[http://1389blog.com/pix/Afghanistan-1967-2011.jpg the "Afghanistan 1967 and 2011" meme]].
* AFatherToHisMen: Massoud, to non-Pashtuns. Mullah Omar for the Taliban.
* AssassinOutclassin: Hafizullah Amin, the second of the four Communist leaders – and the last not directly chosen by Moscow – was like this before his enemies were finally successful. Soviet special forces, who weren't too keen on his independence, tried to eliminate him through poison (Amin switched out his food [[ProperlyParanoid out of sheer paranoia]], accidentally poisoning his son, who ate it), then they tried to poison him again via a sleeper agent, again failing, finally deciding [[MundaneSolution it would be easier to just shoot him instead]].
** Yet Amin himself had a blind spot regarding the Soviets, not wanting to believe they were the ones trying to kill him until shortly before they actually pointed the guns in his face.
* ChurchMilitant: The Taliban.
* CulturePolice: The Taliban may well be history's most infamous example. They banned all non-religious music, all dancing, all movies, all television, the Afghan New Year, Buzkashi (that Afghan sport Franchise/{{Rambo}} played), kites, and the Internet. They're like a version of the Amish who only make exceptions for modern inventions if they kill people.
* CulturedWarrior: Ahmed Shah Massoud, in the eyes of non-Pashtuns.
* DeadAllAlong: Possibly Mullah Omar. Though many recordings have been released since his overthrow that are purported to be him, his voice is only known by hearsay.
** Strike that "possibly". The Taliban confirmed in July 2015 that Mullah Omar had died in April 2013.
* TheFaceless: Mullah Muhammad Omar, who's known only for the fact that he has [[RedRightHand just one eye]]. All the pictures of him are just presumed to be him.
* FisherKing: King Zahir Shah. Before his cousin deposed him, Afghanistan was one of the most modernized states of the Islamic world, with a niche market in certain fruits and textiles unavailable elsewhere, making people pay top dollar for Afghan products. After his overthrow, it first became a DirtyCommunist PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny before devolving into chaos before finally coming under the control of [[CorruptChurch the Taliban]] and housing terrorists.
* FluffyTheTerrible: The name 'Taliban' actually means "students".
** That makes their attitude about female education especially ironic.
* ForeverWar: The current civil war started in 1979 in retaliation against poorly thought-out land reforms by communists.
* LostTribe: The Nuristanis speak an Indo-Iranian language that is nevertheless not quite in either the Iranian or Indian group, and up until 1895 they were relatively isolated and practiced an animistic religion before being conquered and forcibly converted to Islam by Abdur Rahman Khan. The related Kalasha tribe across the border in Pakistan maintain their ancient customs and religion.
** The Hazaras are a downplayed example. While they are Muslims (albeit of the Shia denomination, which makes their life among the mainly-Sunni Pashtuns and Tajiks a wee bit difficult) and speak Persian as a mother language, they are suspected to be the descendants of UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan's Mongol armies, who settled in the Bamyan Valley after the subjugation of Afghanistan. They might originally be Tengrists (as with ancient Mongol peoples) and speak Mongolian, but converted to Islam over time. However their culture more or less stays as it was before, and this includes a take of the Persian language with clearly Mongolian vocabulary, or even their adoption of Shia Islam itself[[note]]Shia Islam has been historically adopted by those Muslims who protested against the mainstream authority and wanted a distinguishing feature among themselves[[/note]].
* MonumentalDamage: The Taliban engaged in a diligent campaign of blowing up anything considered non-Islamic, most notorious of which were a couple of giant statues of the Buddha in the Bamyan Valley. To add insult to injury, they ignored pleas of Buddhist states and Japan even offered to remove them and take them to Japan. The only possible explanation is that the Taliban did it ForTheEvulz (although some did speculate that they were really doing it to kick up enough of a fuss that it would draw attention to how rough things were in the country).
** The latter speculation likely has a grain of truth. Afghanistan was under various UN sanctions before the Bamyan Buddha incident. [=UNESCO=], in a badly timed move, proposed the preservation of the Bamyan statues. This allowed radicals to use the argument that the UN cared more about monuments than the poverty and hunger of the Afghan people.
* NeverLearnedToRead: Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the country's population. Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world (38.2%), equalled only by some of the poorest countries in Africa, and Yemen. As you'd expect with the history of Taliban rule, female literacy is especially bad and somewhat drags down the average. Male literacy is better on its own, but still pretty abysmal. This stands especially in contrast to its northern neighbor, UsefulNotes/{{Tajikistan}}, which is just as poor as Afghanistan but has a near-perfect literacy (99.8%) for both the male and female populaces by virtue of being a former Soviet republic; the Soviet Union, in spite of what they did, [[PetTheDog encouraged education among their people]].
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: Afghanistan is very cosmopolitan. ''Very, very, very'' cosmopolitan. There is no ethnic group that completely dominates the country. The ethnic Pashtuns that have historically been predominant make up a mere 30-40% or so. Tajiks make up an additional 27%. The third largest, Hazaras, make 9%. The remaining 30% are entirely minorities (Uzbeks, Balochis, Nuristanis, Brahui, Wakhis, Arabs, Kyrgyz...).
** Which actually makes the country's name a bit of an ArtifactTitle. "Afghan" is a mere archaic exonym for the Pashtuns, so the correct term for referring the country would be something like "Pashtunistan". However, one of the Pashtun tribes managed to prove their luck by uniting other unrelated ethnic groups as part of their domain, which made the Pashtuns no longer dominant by the time the country became internationally-recognized in the 19th century.
* NoWomansLand: Especially blatant during the Taliban government, whose attitude towards women was ''arguably'' worse than in Saudi Arabia.
* PatchworkMap: Sand to the south, dry lands to the west, green valleys to the east, mountains in the center, ''snowy'' mountains to the north. [[BlatantLies Yeah, pretty sure it's all desert]].
* PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny: Under the 1980s Soviet-backed government, the country's official name was the "Democratic Republic of Afghanistan". Yeah, no.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: There are blond-haired, blue-eyed, pale people in Afghanistan that wouldn't look out of place in, say, Germany. There are also many people with strong Asian features. Take for example the Hazara ethnic group, in which when you compare them to let's say, with the Mongols, are barely distinguishable. Ditto with the Uzbeks. Being in the path of every invading army or tribe since the dawn of history will do interesting things to your gene pool.
** In fact, one of the most memorable photos taken during the Soviet invasion is the photo of Sharbat Gula A.K.A. the "[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl Afghan Girl]]", who has striking, piercing, looking-down-to-your-soul lime green eyes. Still don't believe it?
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: To this day, Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan, remains well liked for having tried to modernize his country while he still reigned.
** Intriguingly, he never did do that much, leaving most of the actual ruling to his surprisingly competent (if autocratic) relatives.
* TheRemnant: The modern Afghan state is all that remains of the once-vast Durrani Empire that included nearly all of Pakistan, along with parts of modern India, Central Asia, and Iran. Most of it had been devoured by the Russians and British during the 19th century and as a result, the Pashtun ethnic group was split amongst the Afghan and Pakistani states, in turn leading every single government in Kabul since the British left (including the Taliban) to never recognize the Durand Line that defines Afghanistan's southern border with Pakistan (Indeed, there is a perennial desire to unify the Pashtun regions of Pakistan with the rest of Afghanistan). Needless to say, Pakistan hasn't taken it well, and it is a major factor as to why Islamabad [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment allegedly]] keeps meddling in Kabul's affairs.
** Considering the problems Pakistan has keeping those tribal areas in check, perhaps they should consider taking Afghanistan up on its request to reunite the Pashtun lands.
* SurroundedByIdiots: That panhandle you see jutting from the northeast is called the Wakhan Corridor, a rugged and untamed snowy mountainous region and a part of the Hindu Kush range. Because of the natural barrier, the region is barely, if at all, touched by all troubles the country has experienced and the people there (the Wakhis, who are, like the Hazaras, Shia Muslims in a sea of Sunnism) continue their long-running semi-nomadic life to the present day.
7th Apr '17 9:05:27 PM Bat178
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Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' افغانستان; '''Pashto:''' Afġānistān), also known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānestān; '''Pashto:''' د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat). The name is on everyone’s lips. Everyone knows one of the theaters of TheWarOnTerror, the Taliban and the hijinks of Islamic fundamentalists. However, this is but the tip of the iceberg, the latest chapter of a long history of conflict for a key crossroads region.

to:

Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' افغانستان; '''Pashto:''' Afġānistān), also known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānestān; '''Pashto:''' د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat).Jomhoriyat), is a South Asian country located between Iran, Central Asia, Pakistan and China. The name is on everyone’s lips. Everyone knows one of the theaters of TheWarOnTerror, the Taliban and the hijinks of Islamic fundamentalists. However, this is but the tip of the iceberg, the latest chapter of a long history of conflict for a key crossroads region.
21st Mar '17 2:23:52 PM MAI742
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Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has eventually wrung its hands and given up]]. The country is just too poor, and asserting effective control too difficult, for anyone with half a brain to continue seriously believing that it's worth it once the costs start stacking up - every effort to establish even a foothold has become a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp were utterly broken.]] Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.

to:

Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has eventually wrung its hands and given up]]. The country is just too poor, and asserting effective control too difficult, for anyone with half a brain to continue seriously believing that it's worth it once the costs start stacking up - every effort to establish even a foothold has become a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians Soviets themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp who were utterly broken.]] Rather impressive track record never exactly renowned for one of their sensitivity to public opinion – quit once their inability to use chopper support made the poorest countries on earth.
going too tough.
21st Mar '17 9:58:20 AM TechPriest90
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Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has eventually wrung its hands and given up]]. The country is just too poor, and asserting effective control too difficult, for anyone with half a brain to continue seriously believing that it's worth it once the costs start stacking up.

to:

Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has eventually wrung its hands and given up]]. The country is just too poor, and asserting effective control too difficult, for anyone with half a brain to continue seriously believing that it's worth it once the costs start stacking up.
up - every effort to establish even a foothold has become a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp were utterly broken.]] Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.
19th Mar '17 2:52:25 PM MAI742
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Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has failed miserably]], every effort to do so becoming a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – were utterly broken. Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.

to:

Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has failed miserably]], every effort eventually wrung its hands and given up]]. The country is just too poor, and asserting effective control too difficult, for anyone with half a brain to do so becoming a massive resource-sink. Even continue seriously believing that it's worth it once the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – were utterly broken. Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.
costs start stacking up.
19th Mar '17 2:47:19 PM MAI742
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Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' افغانستان; '''Pashto:''' Afġānistān), also known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānestān; '''Pashto:''' د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat). The name is on everyone’s lips. Everyone knows one of the theaters of TheWarOnTerror, the Taliban and the hijinks of Islamic fundamentalists. However, this is but the tip of the iceberg, the latest chapter of a long history of conflict for a crossroads state that had been the prize possession of many expansionist empires… or rather, an ''attempted'' prize possession. More on that in a bit.

Being right where Persia meets the Central Asian Steppes meets the Indian subcontinent, the land has been influenced by all kinds of societies over the millennia. It is most famous in antiquity for being the world's only source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli (that marbly blueish stuff). Ethnically and religiously heterogenous for all of recorded history its initial religions were a mix of steppe faiths, Indian Hindu faiths, Zoroastrianism (UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} may have originated here and not in Persia), Buddhism, and finally Sunni Islam. Famous empires which conquered the region included that of Alexander of Macedon 'the Great', the Seleucids/Persia, the Indian Maurya, the Timurids, the Mongols, and the Mughals.

to:

Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' افغانستان; '''Pashto:''' Afġānistān), also known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ('''Persian:''' جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Afġānestān; '''Pashto:''' د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریت Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jomhoriyat). The name is on everyone’s lips. Everyone knows one of the theaters of TheWarOnTerror, the Taliban and the hijinks of Islamic fundamentalists. However, this is but the tip of the iceberg, the latest chapter of a long history of conflict for a key crossroads state that had been the prize possession of many expansionist empires… or rather, an ''attempted'' prize possession. More on that in a bit.

region.

Being right where Persia meets the Central Asian Steppes meets the Indian subcontinent, the land has been influenced by all kinds of societies over the millennia. It is most famous in antiquity for being the world's only source of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli (that marbly crumbly blueish stuff). stuff used to make ultramarine dye). Ethnically and religiously heterogenous for all of recorded history history, its initial religions were a mix of steppe faiths, Indian Hindu faiths, Zoroastrianism (UsefulNotes/{{Zoroastrianism}} may have originated here and not in Persia), Buddhism, and finally Sunni Islam. Famous empires which conquered the region included that of Alexander of Macedon 'the Great', the Seleucids/Persia, the Indian Maurya, the Timurids, the Mongols, and the Mughals.



Infighting between various Communist factions led to the UsefulNotes/SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan in 1979, which gave the Soviets what Zbigniew Brzezinski charmfully called "[[NotSoDifferent its]] UsefulNotes/VietnamWar". The Soviet prosecution of the War in Afghanistan differed from earlier counter-insurgency efforts in that there was no forcible relocation of populations from areas thought to be supporting the insurgency, as had helped immensely in the immediate post-WWII elimination of Fascist partisans in Belarus and the OUN in western Ukraine. However, perhaps a third of the population fled to Pakistan, facilitating the exchange of personnel and material between the two. The USA provided much of said material through Pakistan, armind and funding the Mujahideen - a hodgepodge of different factions united in fighting the Soviets.

The Soviets withdrew in 1989, leaving a coherent and stable Communist state that sustained itself until 1992, but the civil war continued. This time, it was mainly between the Taliban (originally made of religious schools of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, aided by Al-Qaeda and headed by [[TheFaceless Mullah Muhammad Omar]]) and the Northern Alliance and its main man [[CulturedWarrior Ahmad Shah Massoud]], known in the region as the "Afghan who won the Cold War".

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Infighting between various Communist factions led to [[UsefulNotes/SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan the UsefulNotes/SovietInvasionOfAfghanistan Soviet Union intervening to restore order]] in 1979, which gave the 1979. The Soviets what Zbigniew Brzezinski charmfully called "[[NotSoDifferent its]] UsefulNotes/VietnamWar".were not going to let a state in their sphere of influence go capitalist, and they were expecially not going to let it go Islamic-fundamentalist as was happening in Iran. The Soviet prosecution of the War in Afghanistan differed from earlier counter-insurgency efforts in that there was no forcible relocation of populations from areas thought to be supporting the insurgency, as had helped immensely in the immediate post-WWII elimination of Fascist partisans in Belarus and the OUN in western Ukraine. However, perhaps a third of the population fled to Pakistan, facilitating the exchange of personnel and material between the two. The USA provided much of said material through Pakistan, armind arming and funding the Mujahideen - a hodgepodge of different factions united in fighting the Soviets.

The US provision of MANPADS (man portable air defense systems) to the Mujahideen forced the Soviet Army to abandon the use of helicopters to support light infantry patrols with gunfire and medical evacuation. This caused a spike in deaths and wounds to a level which was politically unsustainable for the Union, to the point that Zbigniew Brzezinski asserts that for the USSR the conflict had become "[[NotSoDifferent its]] UsefulNotes/VietnamWar". The Soviets withdrew in 1989, leaving a coherent and stable Communist state that sustained itself until 1992, but the civil war continued. This time, it was mainly between the Taliban (originally made of religious schools of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, aided by Al-Qaeda and headed by [[TheFaceless Mullah Muhammad Omar]]) and the Northern Alliance and its main man [[CulturedWarrior Ahmad Shah Massoud]], known in the region as the "Afghan who won the Cold War".
19th Mar '17 6:33:35 AM TechPriest90
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Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has failed miserably, every effort to do so becoming a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – were utterly broken. Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.

to:

Remember that cryptic line at the very top of this page? [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption Every major power that has ever tried to establish a foothold in Afghanistan or lasting control over it has failed miserably, miserably]], every effort to do so becoming a massive resource-sink. Even the Russians – themselves the subject of a similar ominous phrase and history – were utterly broken. Rather impressive track record for one of the poorest countries on earth.
11th Feb '17 11:17:25 PM MAI742
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By the end of TheNineties, the cultivation and processing of opium into heroin for export had become the second most important sector of the Afghan economy after subsistence agriculture. World demand for heroin had reached an all time high by the end of TheNineties, with the 'War on Drugs' serving to raise profits for producers and traders all the way from Afghanistan, then competing with Burma/Myanmar, to to north America. Opium taxes and heroin production served as an important source of revenue for the Taliban, especially once it had established control over most of the country and declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Emirate instituted Sharia law, [[StayInTheKitchen obligatory use of the burqa for women]], [[MonumentalDamage destroyed the country's non-Islamic monuments and cultural artefacts]], and other pleasant things. Massoud continued to rule a rump state in the north, where he had established democratic institutions and tried to give equal-gender rights, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of refugees that fled the Taliban to areas controlled by Massoud. He tried to obtain help from external powers and, in 2001, [[IgnoredExpert even tried to warn them of a possible large-scale attack on the USA by Al-Qaeda]], to no avail.

to:

By the end of TheNineties, the cultivation and processing of opium into heroin for export had become the second most important sector of the Afghan economy after subsistence agriculture. World demand for heroin had reached an all time high by the end of TheNineties, with TheNineties as the 'War on Drugs' serving to raise raised profits for producers and traders all the way from Afghanistan, then competing with Burma/Myanmar, to to north America. Opium taxes and heroin production served as an important source of revenue for the Taliban, especially once it had established control over most of the country and declared the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Emirate instituted Sharia law, [[StayInTheKitchen obligatory use of the burqa for women]], [[MonumentalDamage destroyed the country's non-Islamic monuments and cultural artefacts]], and other pleasant things. Massoud continued to rule a rump state in the north, where he had established democratic institutions and tried to give equal-gender rights, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of refugees that fled the Taliban to areas controlled by Massoud. He tried to obtain help from external powers and, in 2001, [[IgnoredExpert even tried to warn them of a possible large-scale attack on the USA by Al-Qaeda]], to no avail.
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