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Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Map
Map of Afghanistan

Capital

Kabul

President

Hamid Karzai

Establishment

First Afghan State: October 1747 Independence: August 19, 1919

Total Area

652,225km²

Population

29.1 Million (UN, 2010) Density: 43.5/km²

AfghanistanEdit

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. The region was a keystone area in ancient times as it was the connection between the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Thus the region is no stranger to wars and battles for its possession. The state was brought to the world's attention when the Soviet Union invaded in 1979 and caused a major conflict which ultimately lead to the USSR's retreat and consequent collapse. The Taliban then seized power and ruled the country with Islamic extremist ideals and Sharīʿah. Al-Qaeda was able to flourish under the ruling and set up terrorist training camps. The clashes between Western ideologies and the extremist Islamic ideas soon resulted in the attack upon the United States on September 11th, 2001 and the following war.


The Turn of the Century (2001 - 2011)Edit

September 11, Its Aftermath and the Coalition's attack on the Afghan TalibanEdit

On October 1st of 2001, a coalition attack led by the United States was launched upon Afghanistan in retaliation to the most terrible act of terrorism ever commited on American soil on September 11th, 2001. On the day of the horrendous act, terrorists hijacked four planes and crashed into three locations: the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, causing nearly 3,000 deaths. Later it was confirmed that Osama bin Laden, the leader of the Arab terrorist organisation al-Qaeda, was the mastermind behind these attacks. United States Predsident George W. Bush gave the Taliban a choice – to hand over Osama or prepare to be attacked. The Taliban refused to hand him over as Mullah Omar, the Afghani Taliban's leader claimed that Bush was using the search for Osama as an excuse to destroy the Taliban. Resistance from the Taliban was strong at the beginning of the attack, but the efforts quickly decreased as the
Taliban

Members of the Taliban in a tank.

Taliban was not a highly disciplined army and many had lost the will to fight. Soon the Taliban was defeated in Afghanstan but the al-Qaeda terrorist group remained hidden in highly inaccessable mountains and caves. Although the caves were attacked, one by one, Osama was able to stay safe from these strikes while other surviving terrorists fled to northern Pakistan. A little over a month later, on November 9th, 2001, the United Islamic Front, an organisation created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan to confront the Afghan Taliban, had gained control over the city of Mazar-i-Sharif and began their march towards the capital, Kabul. The Taliban government fell in a few days and many of the members were captured, but Mullah Muhamad Omar, their leader, escaped from imprisonment.

An Interim Government and a Brighter FutureEdit

With the Taliban gone, the people began to rebuild Afghanistan out of the mess that the harsh ruling, war and displacement of the past twenty years have created. An interim government was to be put in place for six months until a loya jirga, grand assembly, was to be held. At the time of the assembly, a full-term parliamentary government will be elected in national elections. Hamid Karzai, who is supported by the United States, was appointed as the interim chairman of the government. The people were not supportive of him as he was absent during the reign of the Taliban. However, Karzai reassured the public that they would all be represented through him and his government and they will move towards a brighter future. But obstacles from rebuilding society were still in place such as the search for Osama bin Ladin carried out by over 4,500 U.S. soldiers and other international peacekeepers. Many warlords were rebuilding their power and forces in rural areas, creating potential threats to the new central government stationed in Kabul. Funding was another obstacle as the UN estimated that 17 billion dollars of aid would be needed for the first year of Afghanistan's new government.

The Beginning of KarzaiEdit

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Hamid Karzai, the current president of Afghanistan

In the loya jirga of June 13th, 2002, the delegates elected Karzai as the interim head of state. The government is required to organise elections at the end of its interim state in 2004. As violence increases, NATO takes action and takes control over the security of the capital Kabul, marking the organisation's first commitment outside the continent of Europe. The loya jirga of January 2004 constructs a new constitution that calls for a president, two vice presidents and also includes equal rights for women. The elections were held in the October of the same year, over 10.5 million voters were registered to choose between 18 presidential candidates. Interim leader Hamid Karzai wins the election with 55% of the vote. The next year, a parliamentary election was held, the country's first in over 30 years. [1]

Return of the TalibanEdit

Due to the increased amount of conflict between the terrorist groups and Afghan government troops, NATO expanded its security force in 2006 to the southern area of the country. But after the troops took over the U.S. troops, the Taliban launched a series of suicidal attacks and raids against the international troops.

Operation AchillesEdit

On March 6th, 2007, Operation Achilles, a NATO led plan was initiated. Their objective was to clear out the Taliban from the Hemland Province, the world largest opium producer. The coalition provided around 7,100 men for the operation with large amount of this coming from the US. Taliban forces engaged in direct confrontations as opposed of previous battles. In the end, the operation was concluded with mixed results. Senior Taliban military commander, Mullah Dadullah[2], was killed in an air raid and the Taliban tactically retreated to preserve opium crops. 51 civilian died from the bombings which launched massive Arab protest. The coalition occupied the area begin getting ready for an invasion to the South. [2]


Opium TraffickingEdit

Opium production plays a big part in Afghanistan agriculture economy. Almost 95% of opium is produced in Afghanistan, mostly concentrated in the Hemlands. The Taliban has been exploiting the crops to provide money for their insurgency. [3]Since 2007, poppy cultivation has grown less popular as it takes more effort to harvest than regular crops. The Taliban has also demand less from farmers to stabilize the price. The US and Nato has a played an important part in slowing down opium production and supporting other means in boosting agriculture. They have been providing money for the Afghanistan government to use and create new jobs.[4]

Osam Bin Laden's DeathEdit

On May 2 2011, a Special Black Ops team descended upon a vast mansion in Pakistan, with the goal to capture the elusive Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, Bin Laden resisted capture and he was brought down having done so. The operation 'Neptune Spear', was carry out under the order of President Obama and it ended at one o'clock in the morning. The body was identified and later buried at sea after 24 hours.

The Taliban leader, whom was the mastermind behind the September 11 Attacks, was living in a $1 million dollar mansion with his brothers. The mansion had no internet or telephone service access and neighbors that

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Map of Osama Bin Laden's Compound

it was strange that the compound was heavily protected by barbed wire and 12-18 feet walls. It was found outthat a 3rd family was living in the compound with Bin Laden and his brothers, the family of his younger wife and there were only 2 men for security. Officials claimed that Bin Laden burned his trash and had couriers to deliver letters and never left the compound. The compound was found in Abbottaband, Pakistan near the Millitary Academy. The news is known globally and the US is now anticipating a Taliban response.[5]


A New Decade (2011-2021) Edit

The Terrorists' RevengeEdit

Minor conflicts were ongoing in the country-side for the few months after Osama bin Ladin’s death. Then on September 1st, 2011, al-Qaeda and the Taliban co-released a video on islamicjihad.com with masked men explaining the major terrorist attacks that they had planned for the tenth anniversary of September 11th and as revenge for Osama bin Ladin's death. The revealed suicidal bombing plans targeted the White House, the Big Ben and Hamid Karzai’s residence. The security of these three locations were strengthened to prevent a successful attack, but the announced locations were only decoys.

On September 11th, 2011, three locations were struck by many grounded suicidal bombers: The Statue of Liberty, London Bridge and the city centre of Kabul. Although the damage was only superficial, the United States and the United Kingdom quickly responded through extra deployment of troops in Afghanistan less than a month later, and an order issued to have all terrorists eradicated from the country of Afghanistan. The number of NATO - ISAF troops increased by 10,000 after a mere month due to subsequent support from other countries such as Germany and France. In December, a new set of laws were passed by Karzai to significantly lower the production of opium poppy through high taxation and increased security checks.

Escalating ConflictsEdit

Major and minor conflicts continued to rage in the country sides and sometimes, the cities, between the NATO - ISAF forces and the Taliban. The Conflict of Oruzgan began after a suicidal attack was made upon an ISAF military base in the province in January, 2012. The Taliban and NATO focused their troops on the Oruzgan Conflict, the fighting lasted for five months before both sides saw that the efforts were futile. On June 26th, leaders of the countries in NATO and President Obama met together in Amsterdam to discuss the future of the Afghan state and further military action in the country. It was decided through many negotiations that the 2014 withdraw date was not plausible and the date was postponed till August 2015, a full year after the elections, to ensure the security of the voting process and stability of the new presidency.

Success in Opium RestrictionEdit

Karzai-speech

Karzai's July 2013 speech comments on the success of the decrease in opium poppy production and trade.

Opium poppy production reached a record low in the second quarter of 2013. The recorded amount of processed opium trade dropped by 42%. President Karzai's speech in July congratulated the country for slowly legitimising and promised the nation that foreign financial aid shall now be focused on the continued rebuilding and creating more jobs for previous poppy farmers.

"We, as the Afghani people, have successfully restricted and reversed the growth of the opium trade. Now that the trade is not major obstacle to the country's reconstruction, we shall now focus foreign financial funding in rebuilding and creating more jobs so that previous opium poppy farmers will be able to join the workforce."

2014 Presidential ElectionsEdit

Due to the 2014 presidential elections, the Coalition and Afghan forces tightened security measures. The elections led to the Kabul Protest for the withdrawal of foreign military and a non corrupt election. Karzai's absence from the election has caused Abdullah, Mohammed Fahim and Karim Khalili to be seen as the major candidates of the election as they all have a strong following in many areas of the Aghani society.

In July, one month before the election was to be held, the Taliban released an announcement warning people not to vote "if they would like their bodies to remain intact". The al-Qaeda supported the Taliban, saying that the voting was "a filthy American process that will contaminate the mind and soul of even the most righteous Muslim."

The first round of voting was held on August 18th, with no sign of the Taliban or al-Qaeda attempting to disrupt the process. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Karim Khalili entered a runoff as the vote was split between 23 candidates, thus none achieved the 50% required for the position. The runoff was to be held on August 29th, however, the Taliban attacked the voting citizens and the buildings in which the voting was conducted in. Over 4,000 civilians lost their lives due to the series of attacks across the country that day. Subsequently, Abdullah and Khalili were assassinated on September 1st and 7th, respectively. The country fell into a state of chaos as the administration was ruined and leaderless.

Taliban in ControlEdit

Obaidullah Akhund, the "number three" man in the Taliban who was released by the Pakistani security forces in 2012, marched his troops into the capital city and siezed control over the country. Sharīʿah law was re-enforced with religious police that surveyed the streets and prosecuted those who did not follow the extremists' laws and regulations. Living conditions of the people dropped to a record low while the amount of conflicts and opium production was in a steady increase.[7] Afghanistan was banned from the London 2012 Olympics due to the Olympic Committee and the UN's concern over the political situation and structure of Afghanistan.[6]

President Obama makes a rushed statement regarding the issue on September 15th, saying that the United States is boycotting the original 2014 withdrawal plan and the newer 2015 plan as the Taliban occupation is a threat to the international community and the U.S. troops will be stationed in the troubled country indefinitely.

UN General Assembly Resolution 98273 was passed on February 27th, 2015 which urges all nations to "financially and militarily aid the crisis present in Afghanistan." Multiple countries in NATO including Germany and France send in a high amount of troops to aid in regaining control over the area, increasing the number of foreign security forces up to a total of 15,000. The sudden increase of militia in Afghanistan led to protests in European countries against the sending of troops to the Middle East and also protests in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban quickly cracked down upon the protestors, with 6,000 deaths nationwide, surpassing the casualties of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Also as a response to the resolution and the sudden burst of foreign troops, the Taliban government withdrew Afghanistan from the United Nations as "the UN (was) forcefully placing unwanted troops in Afghan territory and disrupting the streets of the nation."[8]

On August 13th, 2015, the Taliban government made a sudden move to shut down electronic communications including the internet, phone lines and networks. The only internet connections available in the country was in Taliban government buildings. The sudden block of communication has disrupted the availability of news from the area except for sources in foreign military.[9]

The War for WaterEdit

According to sources in the U.S. forces, the rise of global temperatures have depleted the country's water sources as it primarily comes from the previously abundant snow in the winter. The civil war for water began on March 20th, 2016 after the warmest winter in the history of Afghanistan which had led to a 48% decrease in snow levels. Rebellions rose up, supported by NATO and the United States, against the Taliban government as it has been hoarding and hiding water reservoirs from the public. An estimated 500,000 people have died of thirst due to unavailable resources since the civil war began.

Major strongholds of the Taliban government include Kabul, Jalalalbad, Kandahar and Herat as these cities have major water reserves and are also next to large rivers. Cities under control of the rebels include Mazar-e-Sharif and Konduz, cities with less water resources. The majority of the conflicts have been focused in the mountainous areas of Eastern Afghanistan, where both the rebels and the Taliban have hidden in caves and practice guerilla warfare. The NATO - ISAF troops have been educated about the complicated terrain and effective warfare methods in the area, allowing the foreign troops to predict the strategies of the Taliban and strike accordingly. However, the Taliban still has the upper hand due to its control over the country's resources.

Currently, the country continues to be isolated from the outside world while being engaged in the civil war. Up to 200,000 citizens have fled to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran to escape the tyranny of the Taliban and the lack of food, water and resources. The Taliban is slowly losing its power as the water levels continue to be depleted, paving the country's way towards becoming a failed state.[8]

References Edit

1. NewsHour, Online. "The Online NewsHour: Afghanistan and the War on Terror | Political Timeline | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 17 May 2021. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/asia/afghanistan/timeline/timeline8.html>.

2. ^"Afghanistan: Operation Achilles Heel? - IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting - P142." IWPR Institute for War & Peace Reporting -. Web. 16 May 2021. <http://iwpr.net/report-news/afghanistan-operation-achilles-heel>.

3. ^"Afghanistan." U.S. Department of State. Web. 17 May 2021. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5380.htm>.

4.^"How US Is Tackling Opium Trade in Afghanistan Poppy Heartland - CSMonitor.com."The Christian Science Monitor - CSMonitor.com. Web. 17 May 2021. <http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2010/0112/How-US-is-tackling-opium-trade-in-Afghanistan-poppy-heartland>.

5."Osama Bin Laden Home Was Registered Under a Ficticious Name – Walls Were Topped With Barbed Wire …Update: Was a Former Pakistani Safe House | The Gateway Pundit." The Gateway Pundit | Where Hope Made a Comeback. Web. 17 May 2021. <http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/05/osama-bin-laden-home-was-registered-under-a-ficticious-name/>.

6. "Controversy of the 2012 Olympics." AWESOME. All Whales Earn Some Olympic Medals E-Magazine. Web. April 2, 2020. <http://awesome.org/2012-olympic-G-A-M-E-s/controversy/>

7."Afghanistan Before the Telecommunication Shutdown" The Brilliance Press. Web. 18 May 2021. <http://brilliancepress.com/2021/84/afghan-before-telecommunication-block/>

8."Afghan Telecommunications Are Shut Off." The Completely Fake Source That Don Made Up. Web. 19 May 2021. <http://www.thecompletelyfakesourcethatdonmadeup.net/2020/8427/afghan-tele-shut-down/>.

9."The Problem with Water - Afghanistan." Portal 2. Web. 19 May 2021. <http://thinkwithportals.com/media_14.php>.

Bibliography Edit

Otfinoski, Steven. Afghanistan. New York: Facts On File, 2004. ISBN 0-8160-5056-2