Useful Notes: Afghanistan
- "Well that settles it, Chatfield! We must never go into that God-forsaken country again!"-Bremner, Bird, and Fortune, playing Brits with Battleships. In 1842.note
Afghanistan is an example of the following:
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion was not a wealthy first-world place, but still far above the war-torn country of Taliban and barbarous AK-47 armed gangs modern people are familiar with. Which gave birth to the "Afghanistan 1967 and 2011" meme◊.
- A Father to His Men: Massoud, to non-Pashtuns. Mullah Omar for the Taliban.
- Assassin Outclassin': Hafizullah Amin, the second of the four communist leaders, 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 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 it would be easier to shoot him instead.
- Church Militant: The Taliban.
- Culture Police: 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 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.
- Cultured Warrior: Massoud, in the eyes of non-Pashtuns.
- Dead All Along: 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.
- The Faceless: Mullah Mohammed Omar, who's known only for the fact that he has just one eye. All the pictures of him are just presumed to be him.
- Fisher King: King Zahir Shah. Before his overthrow, 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 becomes a Dirty Communist Peoples Republicof Tyranny before devolving into chaos before finally coming under the control of the Taliban and housing terrorists.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The name 'Taliban' actually means "students".
- That makes their attitude about female education especially ironic.
- Forever War: The war started in 1979 in retaliation to poorly thought-out land reforms by communists.
- Lost Tribe: 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 by Abdur Rahman Khan. The related Kalasha tribe across the border in Pakistan maintain their ancient customs and religion.
- Monumental Damage: The Taliban engaged on a diligent campaign to blowing up anything considered non-Islamic, most notorious of wihch were a couple of giant statues of the Buddha in the Bamiyan 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 For the Evulz (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 Bamiyan Buddha incident. UNESCO, in a badly timed move, proposed the preservation of the Bamiyan statues. This allowed radicals to use the argument that the UN cared more about monuments than the poverty and hunger of the Afghan people.
- Never Learned to Read: Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the country's population. Afghanistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, equaled only by some of the poorest countries in Africa. 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.
- No Woman's Land: Especially blatant during the Taliban government, whose attitude towards women was arguably worse than in Saudi Arabia.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: Under the 1980s Soviet-backed government, the country's official name was the "Democratic Republic of Afghanistan". Yeah, no.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: 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 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.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: 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.
- The Remnant: 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 to every single government in Kabul since the British left (including the Taliban) to never recognize the Durrand 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 allegedly keeps meddling in Kabul's affairs.
Afghanistan in media:
- Afganisu-tan (it's a Webcomic, to be more precise).
- Sooraya Qadir, a.k.a. Dust from X-Men, is Afghani.
- Afganskiy Izlom
- The Beast
- Charlie Wilson's War
- The Living Daylights
- The Man Who Would Be King
- The 9th Company
- Rambo III
- Spies Like Us
LiteratureThe Afghan flag
The black, red and green stripes symbolize the colonial period, the revolutions, and independent Afghanistan, respectively. At the center is the coat-of-arms, featuring a mosque with a mihrab (niche facing Mecca), flanked by two Afghan flags; above the mosque are the worlds "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Great"), and below is the Islamic year 1298 (1919, the year of its independence from Britain); surrounding the mosque is a wreath of wheat, above which is the shahada (the Islamic creed), and below is a scroll containing the country's name in Pashto).