History of Afghanistan
You can't get away from hearing about Afghanistan. Turn on the TV, the radio, open a newspaper and it's Afghanistan this, Afghanistan that. In case you're not sure what to believe about this country, here are the simple facts. No mumbo jumbo.
Meena: Born in the capital city of Kabul, she is only known by her first name. Meena left university in the 1970s to organize and educate women. She founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), created a bilingual magazine that advocated women's rights, established schools for refugee children, started a women's hospital and a center in Pakistan where women could sell crafts to support themselves. Meena was assassinated in Quetta, Pakistan in 1987. She was 30.
Khushal Khan Khattak: Khushal Khan Khattak was born in 1613. He was a famous Afghan warrior, poet and tribal chief of the Khatak tribe. He was kept prisoner in the Gwaliar fortress in Delhi. When he was allowed to return home to Peshawar, he persuaded the Afghans to fight the Mongols who had invaded their land. He died in 1690. His grave says, "I have taken up the sword to defend the pride of the Afghan, I am Khushal Khattak, the honorable man of the age."
Osama Bin Laden: This stinkin' rich businessman was actually born in Saudi Arabia (to one of that country's wealthiest families) and not in Afghanistan. The US managed to get him exiled from his home country and right now he's thought to be hiding out in Afghanistan. He's wanted by the FBI for organizing the September 11th terrorist attacks.
A Brief History od Afghanistan
Afghanistan has been at war for hundreds of years. The country was first invaded by Asians about 1500 B.C. and then by the Persians. Alexander the Great conquered most of Afghanistan about 330 B.C. Since then, Arab Muslims, Mongols, the United Kingdom and Russia have all fought for control of the country. In 1919, the British bowed out and Afghanistan became independent.
In the late 1970s came invasion by the Soviet Union but it wasn't long before the locals rebelled - they didn't like the communistic policies. The Soviet Union sent in thousands of troops to battle it out with the rebels who called themselves mujaheddin, which means holy warriors. The Soviets had better equipment but the mujaheddin was supported and armed by the United States. In 1988, the Soviet troops began retreating from Afghanistan. Eventually, the mujaheddin overthrew the government. Several different coalitions began governing the country but they fought amongst themselves so things weren't stable.
Who Are the Taliban?
By the late 1990s, a group of fundamentalist Islamic fighters called the Taliban had taken control of most of Afghanistan. The Taliban ("talib" is Pashto for 'religious student' or 'seeker of knowledge') were backed by Pakistan when they walked into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. They executed the former communist president and hung his body up for everyone to see. The Taliban controlled more than 90 percent of Afghanistan until the United States removed them from power in 2002, following the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Five-toed Dwarf Jerboa: Picture a gerbil. Now put really long hind legs on that gerbil and you have a five-toed jerboa. Jerboas are not related to gerbils but they look a lot like them. These fuzzy, hopping guys are rodents that live in dry, almost desert-like regions.
Ibex: This animal is kind of like a goat but is larger and the horns are much longer. The horns can grow as long as three feet (almost one meter) and are nicely curved with several rings or ridges. If you're a Capricorn or know someone who is, look up the sign. The goat looks like an ibex.
Marbled Polecat: This small mammal belongs to the weasel family. It eats mice, rats and other rodents, fish, reptiles, insects and fruit. It usually lives alone in an underground burrow. Don't frighten a polecat. Just like skunks, polecats spray a nasty-smelling fluid from scent glands under the tail.
Afghanistan - Did U Know?
- Afghanistan has the second largest number of land mines - there are over 10 million landmines scattered throughout the country. Between three and four percent of the population is disabled, thanks to fighting or mine accidents.
- Due to a poor health care system, one in four children dies before they turn five. 75 percent of the surviving children don't ever go to school.
Under the Taliban, Girls and women weren't allowed to attend school or university. That would explain why only 47 percent of adult males and 15 percent of females can read.
Where have you been? Seen anything cool, scary, wild or freaky?