U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Bentley and U.S. Army Spc. Zech Burke, both cavalry scouts with 1st Plt. and a Bennington, Vt., resident, along with several Afghan National Policemen help unload (click for more)
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Army Paul M. Gatto, from Bethlehem, Pa., a cannoneer from Task Force Balls, elevates a M777 howitzer and hooks up his firing lanyard seconds before discharging (click for more)
PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Air Force Capt. Phillip Baker, Panjshir PRT engineer, along with Air Force 1st Lt. Jason Adams, Panjshir PRT engineer, assemble an antenna in order to communicate (click for more)
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — While spectators watch, members of the Sharana Hospital volleyball team play a friendly match against coalition force units at Forward Operating Base Rushmore Oct. 2. (click for more)
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Soldiers with 1st Platoon, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Spartan, help Afghan Border Police load blast wall barriers onto the (click for more)
Maj. Bobby Mayes, women’s empowerment coordinator, and Sgt.1st Class Maureen Houston, FET member, meet with Zareen Saleha, the Deputy Director of Women’s Affairs for the Parwan Director of Agriculture, Irrigation, (click for more)
U.S. Army Cpl. Robert F. Chauncey, from McKinney, Texas, a team leader with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Spartan, takes part in a pre-flight inspection of (click for more)
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. troops from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team use a measuring tape to measure the distance of one point (click for more)
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan National Army basic trainee receives a vaccination Sept. 28. (click for more)
Afghanistan is comprised of 34 provinces with a population of approximately 27 million. 98 percent of the country are Muslims (80 percent Sunni and 20 percent Shiite), and the other two percent are Hindus, Zoroastrians, and Jews. Major languages are Dari and Pashto with a small percentage of Tajiki and Uzbeki. Major ethnic groups are: Pashtuns-40 percent, Tajiks – 25 percent, Hazara – 18 percent, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmen and others 17 percent.
The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul. Major cities in the south which border Pakistan are Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, and in the east are Paktika, Khost, Paktya, Nangarhar, Kunar, and Nuristan; to the north bordering Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are Badakshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Samangan, Balkh, Jozjon, Faryab and Badghis; in the west to Iran are Herat and Farah.
Afhganistan’s hand-woven rugs are world renowned. Some of the best Lapis lazuli, Emerald, and Ruby come from the Northern areas. Dried nuts and fruits, pomegranates, and grapes are among the export products.
A Brief History of Afghanistan:
Although Afghanistan is an extremely impoverished country but it is a tapestry of rich culture, history, and ethnicities. Many colorful threads of diverse ethnicities are apparent in this ancient historical land.
The geographic location of Afghanistan is in the heart of Asia, but, sometimes it is ascribed to be in South Asia or even in the Middle East because of its cultural and ethno-linguistic links with its neighbors. The large borders to Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and much smaller eastern border to China have made Afghanistan the trade route and the crossroads of Asia and the Middle East.
Throughout the history, from the ancient times to today, Afghanistan has seen many invading military forces come and go including Indo-Iranians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Russians, Americans, and NATO forces.
In 1978, the Republic of Afghanistan government was established. In 1978, the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took over the government by a military coup. The opposition of the communist party organized an anti-government Mujahideen resistance. In the meantime, as part of the Cold War strategy, the National Security Advisor, Brzezinski, started to fund and to strengthen the Mujahideen through the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. The Mujahideen movement was a symbol of discontentment of Muslims against the atheist government that followed Marxism. By December 1979, the Soviet Union invasion took place resulting in over five million Afghans leaving their country and becoming refugees to Pakistan, Iran and other countries. After losing 15,000 troops and the harsh economic impacts of a 10-year war, the Soviet Union withdrew its troops completely in 1989.
The Mujahideen governed Afghanistan from 1989 to 1994 when a civil war erupted due to friction between political parties. The rise of the Taliban to govern Afghanistan occurred in 1996.
By the end of 2000, the Taliban controlled over 95 percent of the country and imposed the fundamentalist and strict Islamic Sharia law. On September 9, 2001 two Al-Qaeda terrorists posed as reporters and assassinated the Northern Alliance leader and the great Mujahid, Ahmad Shah Massoud. In 2001, the United States launched Operation Enduring Freedom.
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|Taliban leader killed during Pech River Valley operation|
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Coalition forces learned that Gul Nabi, a mid-level Taliban commander was killed in an engagement with the combined security forces Oct. 17.
|Laghman PRT provides rehabilitation funds for canal, road|
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The Ali Khel Canal Rehabilitation, funded by the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, recently provided irrigation water for 500 hectares of crop land and approximately 500 families in and around Ali Khel village here.
|Afghans defend homes, villages|
KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan villagers and coalition forces repelled Taliban forces Oct. 8 in Afghanya Valley during an attack that lasted nearly three hours.
|TF Gambler helps local Afghans protect village|
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Members of Task Force Gambler, Texas Agribusiness Development Teams 3 and 4, and one Illinois International Security Assistance Force member were diverted from a scheduled mission in two UH-60 Black Hawks Oct. 11 to help local Afghans drive out insurgents from a village in Qarabagh District.