Sunday, June 8, 2008


With Afghanistan's history of being a "highway of conquest" from 600 BC to the occupation by the Soviet Union between 1979 - 1989, it has been dominated by a foreign power in one way or another. The irony of history is that Afghanistan got some kind of independence during the World War I & II.

I learned from the fifth lecture that researchers haven't found the source and origin of the Afghan people. Compared with the Ottoman Empire and its reorganization in 1839, Afghanistan was far behind in development. Great Britain instituted the Simla Manifesto in 1838 as an excuse for invading Afghanistan. The British argued that it had to invade Afghanistan in order to protect India as a safety measure.

Here is an excerpt from Scott Powell's post, Afghanistan: Higway of Conquest:

What is the relevance of this background to the present? Afghanistan has never become a true state, and it has constantly lived in subordinacy to outside powers. As a result of its history as a “highway of conquest,” as one historian put it, and its recent subordination to Britain and the Soviet Union, Afghanistan really only exhibits one cultural constant: a desire for independence. You often hear people say that the Afghans are “freedom lovers.” This is a misrepresentation. The people who live in Afghanistan are “self-determination lovers”–and with good reason! But these are not the same thing. (Powell History Recommends, 05/07/08.)

The geopolitical situation is bad and the culture of tribalism has been established since the split of the Pushtun tribe due to the imposed Durand Line in 1893. The border near Pakistan is still a messy area and the question is if Osama bin Laden is hiding in a cave in this neighborhood. President Hamid Karzai is belonging to the Durrani tribe of ethnic Pashtuns.

Hamid Karzai