Asia

Afghanistan Recent History

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, is a state of Southwest Asia (652,864 km²). Capital: Kābul. Administrative division: provinces (34). Population: 31,575,018 (2018 estimate). Language: Dari and Pashto (official), Uzbek. Religion: Muslims (Sunni 85%, Shia 14%), others 1%. Monetary unit: new afghani (100 puls). Borders: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (N), China (NE), Pakistan (E and S), Iran (W). Member of: OCI, UN, OCS observer, SAARC, WTO.

The presence of foreign troops soon increased the opposition to the regime, resulting in guerrilla activities led by Islamic groups inspired by the experience of the Iranian revolution: exploiting the knowledge of the inaccessible mountain territories, the mujaideen constantly kept the Red Army and Afghan regular army perched in urban lowland centers. Only after the resignation of Karmal, replaced in September 1987 by General Najibullah, the process of national pacification seemed to be starting, favored by the new course of Soviet foreign policy: between 1986 and 1987, at the same time as hints of disengagement from the USSR, the government proposed initiatives for dialogue, culminating in the following year in negotiations and agreements between the parties, signed at international level. At the beginning of 1989 the withdrawal of the Red Army was completed, but the Soviet disengagement was not accompanied by credible international initiatives capable of favoring a political solution to the conflict. To worsen the picture was added the peculiarity of a strongly divided armed resistance in which at least fifteen groups were operating, divided among themselves also on the religious level (eight factions referred to the Shiite Muslim rite and seven to the Sunni one) and in which they were a moderate soul and a fundamentalist coexist: the first was expressed in the figure of Sibghatullah Mjaddidi, leader of the moderates, while the second was represented by Rasul Sayaf. On April 15, 1992, Najibullah was forced to resign and after a failed attempt to expatriate he had to take refuge in a UN office; the mujaideen thus created, in the same year, a transitional government that had to face internal struggles and problems connected with the return of over five million refugees. Hezb i Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In Kābul, however, power was assumed by a Supreme Council of 10 members which elected a provisional head of state in the person of the moderate Burhannudin Rabbani, and a prime minister in that of Abdul Sabul Fareed of the fundamentalist party Hezb i Islami..

But the head of this faction, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, was the most intolerant of such a solution and Kābul again became a theater of war between factions. In this complex situation, the Taliban appeared on the national political scene (1994), a new movement of Pashto ethnicity and radical Islamic inspiration, born in the Koranic schools on the border with Pakistan. Students of Koranic theology, the Taliban, probably influenced by Pakistan, took to the field waving the flag of the Koranic law (shari’ah) as an instrument of pacification, but in fact they became a third pole of the civil war capable of putting the other warring factions in serious difficulty. Initially training of student-guerrillas with a strong fundamentalist character, later, under the guidance of Moḥammad Omar, a former mujaideen disappointed by the factional struggles at the top of the country, in addition to students, the movement began to enlist former soldiers of the Afghan army and mujaideen who had deserted after the victory over Moscow. Thanks to a series of military successes, which forced Hekmatyar himself to make a new agreement with Rabbani, the Taliban managed to conquer the capital Kābul immediately condemning the former president Najibullah and some collaborators to death, imposing a strict application of the Koranic law. in particular towards women. The new provisional council, which was made up of six mullāhs, was immediately recognized by the government of Pakistan, while the deposed president Rabbani, together with the army commander and the prime minister Hekmatyar, after leaving Kābul, fled towards the north of the country. However, this did not put an end to the Afghan civil war, fueled not only by religious divisions, but above all by the opposition of the non-Pashto ethnic groups, majority in the north of the country: Uzbeks, Azeris and Tajiks. In May 1997, the Taliban launched a wide offensive on several fronts and entered victoriously in Mazār-e Sharīf (the capital in the north of the country) from where they were then driven back by the pro-Iranian Shiites of the Hezb the Wahat and the Uzbek militias. This defeat, the hardest in three years of inexorable advance, could not stop the march of the Taliban who, after having proclaimed the Islamic Emirate in 1997, again conquered the main stronghold of the opposition, Mazār-e Sharīf (1998).

Afghanistan Recent History