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by Carly Frank, Daysha Wilson,Maggie Henning & Nyesha Munn

War in Afghanistan

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  • In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks the U.S. government quickly identified Osama bin Laden as responsible (2).
  • The U.S. claimed that the Taliban stronghold was harbouring him and refusing to hand him over (2).
  • Taliban made last-ditch bid to avoid attack, annoucing that it was releasing the British journalist Yvonne Ridley (4).
  • The war has lasted for 10+ years.
  • The United States is set to withdraw its combat forces by 2014 (1)
  • By 2014 Afghanistan will be responsible for its own security, using The Afghan National Security Forces. (3)
  • The United States plans to remain politically, diplomatically, and economically engaged in Afghanistan for the long term. (3)

Afghanistan & the Taliban
  • Since 2010, The United States and Afghan officials have been trying to negotiate with members of the Taliban to settle the conflict in Afghanistan. (1)
  • In 2011, ten years after being taken down by the United States, the Taliban continues to enjoy political and psychological support in south Afghanistan. (1)
  • In a May 2001 survey, about 42 percent of survey respondents in the south said working with the Taliban is right. (1)
  • According to the ICG report, Taliban propaganda has convinced a segment of Afghan public opinion, mostly southern Afghans, that foreign troops and the Afghan government are the main threat to their physical security. (1)

As you can see, Taliban presence is highest in southern Afghanistan
As you can see, Taliban presence is highest in southern Afghanistan


Afghanistan (Striking at Kabul)
  • Kabul has changed Dramastically over the years with its growing population and geographic reach. (5)
    • With its five million inhabitants bears little resemblance to the 800,000 city of the 1980s. (5)
  • Today it is almost uncommon to meet a "Certified Kabuli" among the massive waves of new settlers. (5)
  • Many of Kabul's original citizens-especially aristocrats and other elites- fled in the 1980s and made room for an influx of refugees from the countryside, the changes were manageable. (5)
  • Todays's "New Kabulis" face problems similar to earler generations. (5)
    • Their day-to-day existence work, school, and free time is threatened by an armed insurgency which views kabul with the same strategic and symbolic value and is willing and able to strike inside the city. (5)
  • All through the 1900s, the mujahedin strove to penetrate Kabul defences to inflict damage on th PDPA institutions and their Soviet backers. (5)
  • The city was then defended by a mixed garrison of Soviet and Afghan troops, with the former playing a particularly relevant role in the early 1980swhen the Afghan Army had still to recover from the protracted struggles between Khalqis and Parchamis and the Soviet Intervention. (5)
  • Kabul was surrounded by three security rings, the outermost of which ran outside the city almost in the countryside. (5)
  • Nowadays, Kabul features a less centralised defensive set up. (5)
  • There are checkpoints where the major communication axes enter the city. (5)
    • At an inner level, the only pervasive security arrangement is the so called "Ring of Steel". (5)
      • A series of police positions deployed to scrutinize vehicles acessing central areasof the city. (5)
      • The "Ring of Steel" was put in place in 2009 by then interior minister, Hanif Atmar, who as a youth must have had occasion to witness the effectiveness of the security cordons under Dr. Najibullah's rule. (5)
  • Despite a more permanent and massive display of security under the PDPA, the mujahedin were able to enter the city and carrry ouy attacks there. (5)
    • Some groups eventually specialized in operations inside the city. (5)
  • Other groups belonging to Hezb-e Islami, Mahaz-e Melli and Moshseni's Harahat-e Islami had their hideouts in Morghiranm, west of Darulaman or in Chahar Asiab. (5)
  • While many groups, including Jamiat-e Islami, maintained a network pf spies and informants inside Kabul, these urban guerrilla commandos were living in the countryside and moving into the city only for their operations. (5)
  • Until now, the Taliban have not focussed all their resourceson attacks in the capital and, apart from sporadic rocket attacks on the city, a tactic that the raleban borrowed from majahedin, their major focus has been to strike as close as possible to the heart of power, whatever the target and whatever the civilian casualties might be. (5)
  • Their preference has been to launch sporadic, hihgh-profile attacks which create the preception of instability and of a vulnerable city (5)
  • reasonably good intelligence on troop movements has allowed insurgents to target military convoys, relatively successfully, usuallyusing vehicleborne suicide bombs, especially on major routes like the airport road, Jalalabad and Darulaman roads. (5)
    • The killing of senior adviser too the president Jan Mohammad Khan, in his house on July 17, 2011 (5)
  • The taliban seem liitle concerned about hitting half-heated government employees in Kabul (5)
    • Their motivation appears not to be concerned about hurting the relatively powerless, but reserving their fighters for high visibility targets in the nations's capital. (5)

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A wounded Afghan policeman is carried away from the site of a Taliban attack on British Council offices in Kabul. David Cameron has said the event will not stop British peace aims.

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Thirteen people, including six attackers, were killed and eight others injured when Taliban militants stormed a luxury hotel frequented by foreign nationals in the Afghan capital, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
Militants targeted the Intercontinental Hotel around 10.00 p.m. Tuesday with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.


"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave." (8).
  • Education is directly related to future success. (10).
  • Will play a large role in poverty stricken areas of Afghanistan. (10).
  • Most schools destroyed during Russian and Civil wars. (9).
  • Previously limited to a religious education for boys, sometimes leaving out math, sciences. (9). sdfghjk.png
  • Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, education in Afghanistan has greatly improved. (9).
  • Girls previously forbidden to attend school; enrollment now 35% women. (9).
  • Still a strong gender gap in the South, far less women teaching. (10).
  • The number of women, previously banned from schools, is still increasing everyday. (11).
  • Enrollment has reached staggering numbers, far exceeding Taliban expectations. (10).
  • Schools lack qualified teachers, yet teachers show up exceedingly more, sometimes without pay. (10).
  • UNICEF and others working with the Ministry of Education have programs in place to build strong mentors. (11).

Parallels to Kite Runner
American Troops invaded Afganistan in 2001.
Russian Forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
"...two women in Ghazni Province had been stoned. Quoting unnamed security officials, the report said the Taliban had accused the women of "moral deviation and adultery" (6).
"Two Talibs with Kalashnikovs slung across their shoulders helped the blindfolded man from the first truck and two others helped the burqa-clad woman...What manner of punishment, brothers and sisters, benefits the adulterer?" (pgs. 269-270)
"Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is accused of sneaking off his base on Maech 11, then creeping into houses in two nearby villages and opening fire on familes as they slept" (7).
"Door to door we went, calling for the men and the boys. We'd shoot them right there in front of their families" (pg. 277).

Discussion Questions:
1. How do you think Baba would feel about the US occupying Afghanistan?
2. Do you think the Taliban will ever stop influencing the citizens of Afghanistan?
3. Do you think that the invasions made by Russia and the U.S in Afghanistan were necessary?

1. Bajoria, J. (2001, October 6). The Taliban in Afghanistan. Retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/afghanistan/taliban-afghanistan/p10551
2. (2012). Afghanistan: Conflict Profile. Retrieved From http://www.insightonconflict.org/conflicts/afghanistan/conflict-profile/?gclid=CPmvooybhK8CFYbe4AodZg_v1Q
3. Background Note: Afghanistan. (2011, November 28). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5380.htm#relations
4. Wintour, P. Ahmed, Kamal. Vulliamy, Ed. (2001, October 7). It's time for wa, Bush and Blair tell Taliban. Retrieved From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/07/politics.september11
5.Foschini, F. (2011, January 17). Striking at Kabul: Now and Then. Retrieved from http://aan-afghanistan.com/index.asp?id=2446
6. Alizada, R. (2011, December 14). Political or Personal?. Retrieved From
7. (2012). Afghans: U.S paid $50,000 per shooting spree victim. Retrieved From
8. (1995). Sayings: Learning -- Prayer. Retrieved from
9. Qazi, Abdullah. (2010). Education. Retrieved from
10. World Bank. (2011). Education in Afghanistan. Retrieved from
11. Rafi, Mohammad. (2007). Female teachers help to rebuild Afghanistan’s education system. Retrieved from