An Introduction to Afghanistan Compiled by: Kelly & Kara O’Neil Bredemeyer ED 608-01
Social Studies Introductory Unit on Afghanistan for 6th, 7th and 8th grades**Although these are the grades in which international subjectmatter is traditionally taught, recent events have made thisparticular topic matter pertinent for all students. Teachers of lowergrades should consider presenting a modified version of thismaterial to their students.
www. Sites to Visit• For Afghan Culture: – www.afghan-network.net/Culture/• For links to other sites: – www.aboutafghanistan.com/• For facts and figures: – www.countrywatch.com/ – www.cia.gov/• For up-to-date news articles: – http://news.bbc.co.uk• For geographical information: – www.geographic.org
The Flag of Afghanistan On the coat of arms are 2 Muslim inscriptions written in Arabic:“God is Great” “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah.”
The Government• Afghanistan does not have a functioning central government. It is ruled by factions.• 90% of the country is ruled by the Taliban. The United Nations, however, does not recognize the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan.• The capital city is Kabul.• There are presently 30 Afghan provinces.• The Constitution of 1964 is no longer in use.
What Religions do theCitizens of Afghanistan Practice?
Religion Photo: Blue MosqueNinety-nine percent of Afghanistan’s populationis Muslim.
The People• The people of Afghanistan are called Afghan(s).• Afghanistan’s population is 27,000,000.• The people of Afghanistan have a life expectancy of only 45 years.• Many ethnic groups make up the Afghan population. The largest is the Pashtun (38%)
The LanguageBecause of the presence of different ethnic groups inAfghanistan, several different languages are spoken. – 50% of the people can speak “Dari.” – 35% of the people can speak “Pashtu.” – 11% of the people can speak one of the “Turkic” languages. – Additionally there are another 30 minor languages spoken. – There is a high level of bilingualism among the
The Geography• Afghanistan is about the size of Texas.• Its 647,500 square miles are landlocked.• It is located in Southern Asia. It shares borders with Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, Iran, and China.
The Geography• The terrain is mostly rugged mountains, but there are plains in the north and southwest portions of the country.• The climate is arid-semiarid. The winters are cold and the summers are hot.
The Geography• Afghanistan suffers from damaging earthquakes (an earthquake killed 5,000 people in Takhar Province, in 1998) and from flooding and droughts. Photo: Takhar Province after 1998 earthquake
The Economy Afghanistan is a poor country with few modern conveniences.It depends on farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats).Due to war and drought during the past 20 years, there has been
Exports Afghanistan’s main export has been the opium extractedfrom the poppy plants grown over much of the country. TheTaliban has recently put a ban on the cultivation of poppies.
ExportsExports which are still legal: – wheat – fruits – nuts – wool – mutton – karakul pelts
Do the Afghan People Have a History Like Ours?
The History• 18th Century: The creation of Afghanistan.• 19th Century: The Barakzai Dynasty.• 1919: Independence from British control.• 1973: A coup overthrows the King.• 1979: Invasion by Russian troops.• 1996: The Taliban take power.
18th and 19th Centuries• Today’s Afghanistan was created in the early18th century by Ahmad Shah Durrani, an Afghan general of Persian Emperor Nadir Shah Afshar.• In the early 19th century, the British imposed a protectorate. During this period the Barakzai Dynasty took the place of the Durrani.• In 1919, Afghanistan gained independence
1933 - 1973 • King Zahir Shar (pictured left) sat on the Kobul throne for forty years. • A coup d’etat led by his cousin in 1973 ended his reign. • He has been living in Rome, Italy since.
1979 - 1988 • The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with 80,000 men in December, 1979, in an attempt to impose control for its puppet Afghan government. • After losing tens-of- thousands of soldiers, the defeated Soviets retreated in 1988. • 1,000,000 Afghans lost their
1996 - PresentThe Islamic fundamentalist movement knownas the Taliban began to take political andphysical control of the country in 1994. Withits takeover of Kobul in 1996, the Talibanbecame the self-proclaimed government ofAfghanistan, although it is not recognized assuch by the United Nations.
Afghanistan TodayAfter more than twenty years of civil war,Afghanistan’s economy and infrastructure lie in ruin.
Afghanistan TodayThe civil war which Afghanistan has been fightingcontinues as the Taliban supporters face the forces of
Afghanistan Today During the many years of fighting, millions of land mines were buried in Afghanistan’s countryside. Many of the unexploded mines are now injuring adults and children when they accidentally trip the wires. International agencies are trying to help the Afghans de-mine the land.
Afghanistan Today The Taliban has been ridding the country of all non- Islamic relics. Two sandstone statues of Buddha had stood carved in the side of a cliff in Bamiyan since around the Third Century. They were
Afghanistan TodayBut on March 3, 2001, theTaliban used rockets andmortars to destroy the statuesin a campaign to rid thecountry of “un-Islamic” andidolatrous representations ofthe human form.
Afghanistan TodayWomen no longer have asmany rights as they oncedid. The Taliban does notallow women or girls tostudy, work in most jobs, orvote. Women have to becompletely covered whenwalking in public and shouldbe accompanied by a male