In a recent piece for National Geographic, Jason Motlagh, who has covered the war in Afghanistan since 2006, gives readers a comprehensive look at Afghanistan’s past. Personal stories, graphics, and moving photographs from Kiana Hayeri help explain the region’s history—and why it remains so fraught.
“For 50 years, Afghanistan has swung from coups to conflicts,” writes Mr. Motlagh.
- In 1973 an Afghan general ousted the king and declared himself president.
- Five years later, Afghan communists assassinated him and seized power.
- The Soviet Union invaded the next year to prop up the unpopular communists, sparking a decade-long guerrilla war.
- The U.S. funneled billions of dollars via Pakistan to anti-Soviet mujahideen fighters from across the Islamic world—including the Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden—and they eventually forced the Soviets to withdraw.
- A power-sharing deal failed, and the militants fractured into warring factions.
- The Taliban emerged in the chaos and seized power in 1996. The Taliban is now taking control of many areas, using rural footholds to advance in cities as the U.S. withdraws.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel, writes:
What we’ve witnessed this week in Afghanistan is a watershed moment in Western decline. American culture today tells us not to be proud of our country; not to believe in the superiority of American value; not to promote the rights we are afforded by our Constitution so that they can be enjoyed by people around the world.
Read more here.
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