Afghanistan has a history of a high degree of decentralization, and resistance to foreign invasion and occupation. Some have termed it the “graveyard of empires.”
Afghanistan is a landlocked country that is located approximately in the center of Asia. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east. Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has suffered brutal civil war in addition to foreign interventions in the form of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the 2001 U.S. invasion. The strategic interests of the great powers of the day in Afghanistan pitched against the potential threat of terrorism, religious extremism, smuggling and drug trafficking substantiates the assertion that Afghan ...view middle of the document...
The mujahideen were organized into different political parties, and armed and supported by different countries, including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, as well as the United States, and they gained significantly in power and money during the course of the Afghan-Soviet war.
The legendary fierceness of the mujahideen fighters, their stringent, extreme version of Islam and their cause—expelling the Soviet foreigners—drew interest and support from Arab Muslims seeking an opportunity to experience, and experiment with, waging jihad.
Among those drawn to Afghanistan were a wealthy, ambitious, and pious young Saudi named Osama bin Laden and the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, Ayman Al Zawahiri.
* Ayman Al Zawahiri
* Osama bin Laden
Many would argue that the story of how 9/11 came about goes back, at least, to 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, with which it shares a border.
The idea that the 9/11 attacks have their roots in the Soviet-Afghan war comes from bin Laden's role in it. During much of the war he, and Ayman Al Zawahiri, the Egyptian head of Islamic Jihad, an Egyptian group, lived in neighboring Pakistan. There, they cultivated Arab recruits to fight with the Afghan mujahideen. This, loosely, was the beginning of the network of roving jihadists that would become Al Qaeda later.It was also in this period that bin Laden's ideology, goals and the role of jihad within them developed.
Throughout 2001, but prior to the September 11 attacks, Bush Administration policy differed little from Clinton Administration policy: applying economic and political pressure on the Taliban while retaining some dialogue with it, and refusing to militarily assist the Northern Alliance. The September 11 Commission report said that, in the months prior to the September 11 attacks, Administration officials leaned toward providing such aid, as well as aiding anti-Taliban Pashtun. Other covert options were reportedly under consideration as well.
In accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution, in February 2001 the State Department ordered the Taliban representative office in New York closed, although Taliban representative Abdul Hakim Mujahid continued to operate informally. In one significant departure from Clinton Administration policy, the Bush Administration stepped up engagement with Pakistan to try to reduce its support for the Taliban. At that time, there were widespread but unconfirmed allegations that Pakistani advisers were helping the Taliban in their fight against the Northern Alliance.
Since the start of the invasion, American forces in Afghanistan have faced continued opposition. Taliban followers continue to attack American forces, including soldiers from Ohio, and their allies. Nevertheless, thanks to the United States and their allies, Afghanistan has created a more democratic government. The invasion forces between October 2001 and August 2005 suffered 289 killed soldiers,...