Few countries in the past few decades have seen as much political violence and widespread destruction as has the nation of Afghanistan. Invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979, a vicious guerrilla war ravaged the country for many years. Even after the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, the war did not end; the war simply continued between Afghanis and the people continued to suffer. Finally the Soviet-backed regime fell to the "Taliban" movement, a fundamentalist Muslim movement. Afghanistan today still is ruled by the Taliban, and the nation languishes isolated from the larger world in bitter poverty. The Taliban interprets Islam in a way very different from most other Muslim co with its strict application of Shari'a law, and the future does not look bright for Afghanistan.
Questions to keep in mind: What role did Islam play in the fight to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980's? What assistance did the United States and other countries provide to the anti-Soviet resistance? How has U.S. support for the Mujahdeen resulted in a "blowback"? How is the struggle against the Soviets similar to the one against the British in the 19th century? Why did not life improve for most Afghanis after the withdrawal of Soviet military forces? How do the Taliban intrepret Islam? What does "Taliban" mean? How is their interpretation different from other Muslim countries? What is the Taliban's view of women in society? How are they treated differently than men? What do the Taliban think of terrorism against the West or Israel in the "name of Allah"? Have they made any attempts to export militant Islam to other countries? How is Afghanistan integrated or isolated from the larger Islamic and non-Islamic worlds?
Start here and read everything at: Afghanistan at Yahoo! Also go to the Yahoo! Taliban section and also the Taleban Islamic Movement Official Web Site Home Page. Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Afghanistani section. Get good basic Afghanistani information at the CIA World Factbook. Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web!
For information on the Soviet-Afghan War, the "Soldiers of God" website is excellent! Read every link and study this section well.
Check out the interactive A look at the rule of the Taliban and Who Can Bring Peace to Afghanistan and all the other links on that last page. Check this about 20 years of war in Afghanistan, also. This article about the book "Blowback" deals well with the Soviet invasion, rise of the Taliban, and exporting of terrorism. Read it!
Read all about Afghanistan here, and check out all the various links in that page -- an excellent source of information about Afghanistan. See what it is like to live with the Taliban.
Check out these sources also: Afghanistan Human Rights practices 1996 (U.S. Dept. of State), Afghanistan News Service, Afghanistan Web Page (City.Net), Afghanistan Today (Abed Afghan), Afghan Cultural Information Center (H. Qurba), Afghan politics (Center for Afghan Studies), Afghan politics (Afghanistan Online), Afghanistan Peace Association, Aquastat (Food and Agriculture Organization), Online Embassy of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, Taliban Online, Guide to Internet Sources on Conflict & Ethnicity in Afghanistan (INCORE, Initiative on Conflict Resolution & Ethnicity), The Great Game: Afghanistan and the Asian Subcontinent (Larry Lambert), Women in Afghanistan: a Human Rights catastrophe (Amnesty International), World Wide Web Virtual Library: Afghanistan (Australian National University), and Images of Afghanistan (Richard Ellis).
Finally, read an Abridged History of Central Asia by William M. Brinton.