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29 May 2014

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

So ... swimming through my Twitter stream there was someone sharing a link to some surprising photos from Afghanistan.  There were nice photos of the 60's,  where all seemed much more modern that Portugal for instance at the same time. Modern, relaxed and just plain nice.
And i tough what happened here ? here's my very short findings on this subject.
I'll start in the very begining of the XX century when Afghnaistan was amidst their War of Independence from the British.  Fight here ... fight there and so on. More or less independent with strong British influence.
Around 1919 we have King Amanullah fighting for progressive reforms such as woman's rights, educational rights, and freedom of press. He travelled to Europe and got impressed with the modern movements there so he started a very liberal path to modernization going much further than other countries already on the same path like Turkey (Ataturk) and Iran (Rezah Sha).
Among those changes were tax increases and compulsory military service. Also poligamy and children marriage were forbidden and enforced with an ID provided by the government.
Rural backward independent areas were not happy with the central intervention on private affairs.
 Tribal leaders lost all power as everything went through the new central government system (military recruitment, law interpretation, etc.) The Reaction of Afghan Clerical and Tribal Forces to this social change led to Khost Rebellion defeated in 1925.
Eventually the king was murdered by a highschool student. Afterwareds came King Zahir Shah  who ruled since 1933 for four decades. First with lots of reforms with mixed results and from 1953 onwards with a close connection to Soviet Union. Afghanistan remained neutral during WWII. Afterwards benefited from USA and USSR cold war and their foreign investment led to building Afghanistan's main highways, airports and other vital infrastructures.
In 1978 comes the SAUR Revolution by PDPA party who overthrew the King and abolished the monarchy.  Soviet Union sent thousands of military advisers to support the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) new government. Civil war waged by guerrilla mujahideen (the same tribges that fought Westernization) against government forces countrywide. It was in part a City/Countryside class war.  By mid-1979, the United States had started a covert program to assist the mujahideen.
The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted nine years from December 1979 to February 1989. Part of the Cold War, it was fought between Soviet-led Afghan forces against multi-national insurgent groups called the Mujahideen. USSR was fighting religious extremists and the USA was fighting Comunism.
After the war the Islamic State of Afghanistan was created. Taliban were a political force.
Taliban grew and eventually the Taliban's Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was born.
Jake Simms
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