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Afghanistan
Kandahar Province
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumKandahar Province - Credit: Luke Powell
Central Asia with Afghanistan marked
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCentral Asia with Afghanistan marked - Credit: Vardion, Wikimedia Commons

  Afghanistan lies at the heart of Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, its neighbours are Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It also shares a short border with China. The territory consists mainly of dramatic mountain ranges, with plains in the north and southwest, and large areas of sandy desert near the southern border with Pakistan.

 

 

 

Laghman Province
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumLaghman Province - Credit: Luke Powell

The tumultuous recent history of Afghanistan forms the backdrop to The Kite Runner.  For much of the twentieth century, it was an independent kingdom and then republic.  In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and remained as an occupying force until 1989.  During that decade, Afghanistan became a proxy battleground for the Cold War empires of America and Russia. 

 

Balah Hissar
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBalah Hissar - Credit: Luke Powell

A period of infighting between various warlords and factions followed until the Islamic Taliban took control of Kabul in 1996.  The Taliban imposed a deeply oppressive rule on Afghanistan until the US invasion in 2001, following the Al Qaeda attacks on 11 September.  Since then, Afghanistan has been under the precarious military control of NATO.  The Taliban continue to oppose Western occupying forces, and attempts to build a stable civilian government have so far largely failed. 

 

 

Black Hawk in Afghanistan
Creative Commons AttributionBlack Hawk in Afghanistan - Credit: Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo, US Airforce