The History of Afghanistan is so immense and rich that even the best historian could not comprehend, nor the best writer put in words, nor the best poet give it justice. Afghanistan was very much a part of the Persian empire – and had been a part of the pre-Islamic Khorasan region (name meaning: land where the sun rises) this dates back to 750 CE. The rise of Modern Afghanistan however established itself in 2200 BC. Afghanistan meaning “Land of the Afghans” (also synonymous to “Land of the Pushtuns) earned its name due to our resistance and unity of ethnic groups – given the name ‘graveyard of empires’ we are unconquerable.
329-326BCE Alexander the Great had lead its Macedonian Army to Persia in 330 BCE but faced strong resistance from Afghan Tribal people and wrote a letter to his mother saying “I am involved in the land of a ‘Leonine’ (lion-like) and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a wall of steel, confronting my soldier. You have brought only one Alexander into the world, but every mother in this land has brought an Alexander in the world.” Earning its right to the name ‘brave’ by one of the biggest conquerors just shows how Afghanistan was the epitome of resistance. Though he captured Afghanistan while in Persia he failed to subdue its people – Alexander’s army was left weak and unstable but had influences enough to create a few monumental places for the Afghan people.
[Citadel of Herat]
1219AD “Genghis Khan and the great Mughal emperors began passing through the Khyber pass a millennium later and ultimately established the greatest of empires – but only after reaching painful accommodations with the Afghans. It is said that his destruction would leave mountain high piles of skulls of the Afghan people, yet when he realizes that the Afghans re-group no matter what, to fight him back again and again he assembles his troops and leaves to conquer India, fearing a defeat if he stays to fight. From Michni Point, a trained eye can still see the ruins of the Mughal signal towers used to relay complex torch-light messages 1,500 miles from Calcutta to Bukhara.” (Via Tumblr)
If you know the famous Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire that ruled much of the central Asia in the 1500s, he said “Afghanistan has not been and never will be conquered, and will never surrender to anyone.”
In regards to the land of Afghanistan, there are many complications to this. Which hold much problems to this current day. Ahmad Shah Durrani had united Afghanistan and its tribes and expanded the Afghan region – In turn, this sparked the last but modern Durrani Empire 1747 which spread across Afghanistan, and into what’s now known as Pakistan and some areas of Iran and Dehli. The last Afghan Empire decreased as time went on, especially with the involvement of politics and neo-conservative approaches which goes against the traditional Afghan mindset.
The next big occurrence in Afghan history that took place was the involvement of the British – a total of three wars had taken place. The First Anglo-Afghan war (1839–1842) which resulted in the British army being destroyed – this war had taken place near the region of Herat. Brutal attacks taken place but none the less – Afghans stayed by each other and were united enough to not allow foreigners destroy it. The Second Anglo-Afghan war (1878–1880) also overthrew and declined foreign involvement from the British into Kabul. Which also brought Abdul Rahman Khan into power. During his reign, the British White man from the British Raj empire had made him sign a document in another language regarding the Durrand Line which would inevitably cut Afghanistan into two to offer it to India. The Third Anglo-Afghan war was in 1919 with the British Raj after the rebellion of giving land away that was not known about.
Afghanistan has proved itself time and time again that it is unconquerable; From the Soviet and British reign, from Alexander the Great, Mughal Empire. Afghanistan is a graveyard of empires, none can defeat or subdue the people of Afghanistan.
“The geography is very hard: It is a country of mountains and deserts, of quite severe winters and that makes it difficult not only to fight in, but also to operate logistically. It limits your mobility and it is difficult to project power.
Afghanistan is a mountainous country with a very complex tribal system and a variety of ethnicities – and therefore a very complex country to try to manage. which contributes to its reputation as graveyard of empires” -Patrick Porter
In modern times, war tactics are concealed by different forms – This can be seen by the most recent ‘invasion’ of Afghanistan by America and Pakistan together as well as some Saudi influences involving the destruction of Afghanistan through neo-tactics. Russia is above us as is the Soviet Union in Central Asia [Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan] so it would make sense that the Soviets had wanted to bring Afghanistan part of them. The reason behind why Afghanistan did not become part of this Union was due to the Islamic Mujahideen that was created and funded by America and Pakistani ISI (Operation Cyclone 1979-1989) This meant, Islamic extremists were trained and sent into Afghanistan to fight off the Soviets – the reasoning behind why this happened can been interpreted in many ways. Perhaps America did not want Russia to expand, perhaps America wanted to build facilities around Iran, Perhaps the advantages in Afghanistan was valued by Americans like Opium, minerals, etc. Or the location of Afghanistan is strategic that you can access South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia etc. thanks to the silk route used by tradesmen etc. The possibilities are endless, and we all know America is deceiving and never straight forward in explanations. This war held on Afghan soil (Afghan-Soviet) in 1979-1989 led to the deaths of 850,000 – 1,000,000 Afghan civilians and hundreds of thousands of Afghans became displaced on their own land – some fleeing to neighbouring countries (Pakistan and Iran etc) this horrendous war took 9 years and was one of the most brutal wars.
It’s noted by many Afghans believe that it would have been better to be a part of the Soviet Union as opposed to being under the rule of Taliban. Afghans are known to be hard to subdue – it’s been shown by history – so it is obvious we would not accept as simply as that. The image above shows the conflicting position Afghanistan was in as both the British were in Pakistan/India trying to take over while the Russians Soviet Union was formed above in Central Asia – leaving Afghanistan in the middle of a vicious power battle.
The Taliban has been the most destructive war that Afghanistan has encountered, with Millions of Afghans dying since the start of my post till this moment – terrorism had risen at this time as a form of neocolonialist tactic which allowed foreign hands interfering to bring destruction without having to bear the burden of blame. A man made creation built on hatred and envy. Afghanistan was on the verge of modernity and had big and bright plans for the future of the country – such a beautiful land turned into a land of the forgotten – only remembered through memories we tell our children. The Taliban has forced many Afghans to flee their homes and seek refuge somewhere other than their homeland. A neo-colonial tactic made by America and Pakistan that has backfired on them, but the most damaged by this decision.. is the Afghans themselves. A country with CENTURIES OF HISTORY – made in 2200 BC [if not further] only to reach 1994 and have the Taliban ruin our beloved homes and villages.
What once was a nation where Afghans could go to University and attend school without worry or terror. Where children had birds flying overhead and not bombs. When the flowers bloomed high and mighty and the Land of the Afghans had buildings not rubble.
When music was such a beautiful melody, in 1960’s the radio’s would be full of soft and powerful ballads and pop songs – now the Taliban had destroyed music and destroyed instruments and destroyed radio’s. Taken into a state of distopia while we were on the verge of modernity, dragged back in time while others moved forwards – while we – the civilians watch in agony at other countries hoping for escape. Our Afghan ancestors had fought so much for our country to be the best for its generations – please do not tell me that the Taliban is a product of Afghan’s – we did not ask to be bombed and killed and ostracized. Warrior blood runs deep in Afghans, our lion hearts will never be broken – our children have hope in their eyes and life in their souls – One day we will return to the Afghanistan we once knew.