Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Simple and gregarious the Afghans have since millennia known only the little world of their local tribes.
The healthy mountain water and air and diet, has generally resulted in a strong, well built, attractive, healthy Afghan population.
The Afghan people work hard at eking out a living, have few expectations and treasure their simple way of life, for they knew no other.
The people of Afghanistan continue to exist as always in countless small isolated tribes nestled between huge mountains and deserts, living under the power and control of their local chieftains and Mullahs.
With 90% of the population living below the poverty line, they have no choice but to to owe fealty (unconditional allegiance) and submit to their chieftain for protection and worldly instruction and to Allah through the Mullah for divine support, guidance and protection. It is easy to understand why they care little about nationhood, democracy, women rights etc..
Afghanistan which is made up mainly of Pathans, Uzbeks, Tajik, Hazara and Baloch people, is cursed because of its geography by the modern world. It has thus drawn the undesirable attention of the world's big powers.
These powers come to Afghanistan not because they want to bring the country and its people prosperity but to control and exploit it. No world power has ever succeeded so far.
No regime ever could tame the wild, wild land of Afghanistan nor its chieftains nor the Afghan people. Invaders and occupiers always managed to control the garrisoned cities and major towns like Kabul Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mazar e Sharif and Herat.
In 1823 the Sikhs wrested back control of Punjab and Kashmir from Afghanistan and put an end to Afghan invasions into India. Then the wily but arrogant British for nearly a century (1838 to 1919) tried to subdue and control Afghanistan but paid a heavy price to achieve limited success and an unstable truce, (Lord Lytton described Afghanistan 'an earthen pipkin between two metal pots').
The great game resumed with the victors of World War II, Soviet Union, America and the UK with the help of their proxies in the area, namely Iran, Pakistan, China and Central Asian Republics. All of them exerting their influence good and bad to achieve domination over this piece of geopolitically important landlocked real estate and a very proud people.
The Soviets won the first round by successfully installing a pro Soviet regime through their proxies in Kabul. They began to build a modern Afghanistan by rejecting local traditions using heavy handed Communist approach to obtain submission of the Afghan people, but they failed.
Eventually The Soviets had to march into Afghanistan themselves in 1979 at the request of the Afghan government in Kabul. After 10 years, of battling the because of the Mujahideen resistance supported by America through Pakistan, a politically, militarily and economically exhausted Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989.
After that, no world or regional power had an appetite for Afghanistan, it was abandoned and left to its own ways and devices. This was a most irresponsible and careless thing for world powers to do.
The proxy war between the Americans and the Soviets had shaken the ordinary Afghan into realising their unique strength of geography, culture and propensity for violence, driven by an abundance of arms, weapons and munitions, all reinforced by their Muslim faith. This confluence amidst the ruins set Afghanistan ablaze for seven long years (1989 to 1996) Afghanistan as it plunged into civil war.
Extreme violence, destruction and war had become the primary way of life for the Afghan people and their chieftains, and centuries of tradition, culture and social norms were abandoned in the fight for survival and dominance. The Afghan civil war, made it easily possible for any Afghan person or group with weapons and the inclination to do whatever they wanted, looting, extorting, pillaging, raping, kidnapping and destroying whoever and whatever they could.
The foreign mujahideen fighters who had flocked to Afghanistan, trained by the Americans and their Pakistani handlers became unemployed. Pakistan with the blessings of America took them under their wing but instead of rehabilitating them, Pakistan exported these mercenaries for profit to every region of the world to spread terror and make Pakistan into a low cost, highly destructive asymmetric military power.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan became too unruly and a terror hot potato. Pakistan saw the golden opportunity that they were waiting for to make Afghanistan Pakistan's satellite state and vassal. They pulled out their ace, 'The Taliban', its army of Afghan fighters born, indoctrinated and trained in Pakistan for Jihad over a 40 year period and conveniently financed by America and the Arab Gulf States.
In 1994 Pakistan financed and sent tens of thousands of highly trained and armed Taliban (students) across the border into Afghanistan. With management, logistical, financial and massive resource support by the Pakistani military the more disciplined, terrifyingly ruthless Taliban either finished off and subdued the chieftains and warlords.
The Taliban in Afghanistan are students of Madrasas in Pakistan which have been indoctrinating them in hate, intolerance and violence for the past 40 years. Taught to believe in the fiction of their religious and moral superiority they serve neither Allah nor humanity. But they do make excellent cannon fodder and can be very easily provoked to acts of extreme violence against anyone that is not in their opinion Muslim enough, Kafir (non believer) or for any other reason. The dreaded Taliban oppress the the population just for the pleasure of personal dominance and obedience to their religious and political masters.
At first the Afghan people welcomed the Taliban who brought in much needed order and discipline. However in a short time the Taliban rule resulted in further destruction of the economy and traditional Afghan society causing great hardship to the people. Afghanistan descended further into hell.
From 1996 to 2001 the Taliban ruled Afghanistan as a puppet regime on behalf of its political, ideological, and financial masters the Pakistani military and state.
Pakistan converted Afghanistan into the terror factory of the world, with large scale export of terrorism all across the world.
The American led invasion marks next phases of the destruction of Afghanistan which will be covered in the following article.
Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839–42; 1878–80; 1919) - Encyclopedia Britannica