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Chronological History of Afghanistan
Afghanistan Online ^ | 04/2001 | Unknown

Posted on 11/10/2001 9:08:09 PM PST by Cultural Jihad

Chronological History of Afghanistan

Part I (50,000 BCE - 652)

50,000 BCE-20,000 BCE

Archaeologists have identified evidence of stone age technology in Aq Kupruk, and Hazar Sum. Plant remains at the foothill of the Hindu Kush mountains indicate, that North Afghanistan was one of the earliest places to domestic plants and animals.

3000 BCE-2000 BCE

  • Bronze might have been invented in ancient Afghanistan around this time.
  • First true urban centers rise in two main sites in Afghanistan--Mundigak, and Deh Morasi Ghundai.
  • Mundigak (near modern day Kandahar)--had an economic base of wheat, barley, sheep and goats. Also, evidence indicates that Mudigak could have been a provincial capital of the Indus valley civilization.
  • Ancient Afghanistan--crossroads between Mesopotamia, and other Civilizations.

2000 BCE- 1500 BCE

  • Aryan tribes in Aryana (Ancient Afghanistan)
  • The City of Kabul is thought to have been established during this time.
  • Rig Veda may have been created in Afghanistan around this time.
  • Evidence of early nomadic iron age in Aq Kapruk IV.

600 BCE -- (There is some speculation about this date) 

Zoroaster introduces a new religion in Bactria (Balkh)---(Zoroastrianism--Monotheistic religion) (about 522 BC)--Zoroaster dies during nomadic invasion near Balkh.

522 BCE--486 BCE

  • Darius the Great expands the Achaemenid (Persian) empire to its peak, when it takes most of Afghanistan., including Aria (Herat), Bactriana (Balk, and present-day Mazar-i-Shariff), Margiana (Merv), Gandhara (Kabul, Jalalabad and Peshawar), Sattagydia (Ghazni to the Indus river), Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta), and Drangiana (Sistan).
  • The Persian empire was plagued by constant bitter and bloody tribal revolts from Afghans living in Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta)

329-326 BCE

  • After conquering Persia, Afghanistan is invaded by Alexander the Great. Alexander conquers Afghanistan, but fails to really subdue its people.
  • Constant revolts plague Alexander.

323 BCE

Greeks rule Bactria (Northern Afghanistan)

170 BCE-160 BCE


50 AD

  • Kushan rule, under King Kanishka
  • Graeco-Buddhist Gandharan culture reach its height.

220 AD

Kushan empire fragments into petty dynasties.

400 AD

Invasion of the White Huns. They destroy the Buddhist culture, and leave most of the country in ruins.


Independent Yaftalee rule in Afghanistan.

550 AD

  • Persians reassert control over all of what is now Afghanistan.
  • Revolts by various Afghan tribes.

652 AD

Arabs introduce Islam

Part II (652 - 1747)

652 AD

Arabs introduce Islam


  • Islamic era established with the Ghaznavid Dynasty (962-1140)
  • Afghanistan becomes the center of Islamic power and civilization.
  • Ibn Sina (Afghan scientist) is born in Balkh (980)


  • Mahmud Ghazni dies.
  • Conflicts between various Ghaznavid rulers arise and as a result the empire starts to crumple.


Ghorid leaders from central Afghanistan capture and burn Ghazni, then move on to conquer India.

1219-1221 --

  • Invasion of Afghanistan by Genghis Khan
  • Destruction of Irrigation systems by Genghis Khan, which turned fertile soil into permanent deserts.


Marco Polo crossed Afghan Turkistan


Descendants of earlier Ghorid rulers reassert control over Afghanistan.


  • The rule of Timour-i-Lang (Tamerlane)
  • Afghan resistance


An Afghan named Buhlul invades Delhi, and seizes the throne. He finds the Lodi dynasty.


Babur, founder of the Moghul dynasty takes control of Kabul


Bayazid Roshan (Afghan intellectual) revolts against the power of the Moghul government. Roshan was killed in a battle with the Moghuls in 1579--but his struggle for independence continued.


Khushhal Khan Khattak (Afghan warrior-poet) initiates a national uprising against the foreign Moghul government.


Mir Wais (forerunner of Afghan independence) makes Kandahar independent of Safavid Persia that had ruled it since 1622.


Mir Wais dies peacefully, and lies in a mausoleum outside of Kandahar.


Mir Wais' son, Mir Mahmud, invades Persia and occupies Isfahan. At the same time, the Durranis revolt, and terminate the Persian occupation of Herat.


  • (April 25)--Mir Mahmud is mysteriously killed after going mad.
  • Afghans start to lose control of Persia.


Nadir Shah (head of Persia) occupies southwest Afghanistan, and southeast Persia.


Nadir Shah takes Kandahar.


Nadir Shah is assassinated, and the Afghans rise once again. Afghans, under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Abdali retake Kandahar, and establish modern Afghanistan.

Part III (1747 - 1978)


  • Rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani).
  • Ahmad Shah consolidates and enlarges Afghanistan. He defeats the Moghuls in the west of the Indus, and he takes Herat away from the Persians. Ahmad Shah Durrani's empire extended from Central Asia to Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian sea. It became the greatest Muslim empire in the second half of the 18th century.
  • (1750) Khurasan----> Afghanistan.


  • Rule of Timur Shah
  • Capital of Afghanistan transferred from Kandahar to Kabul because of tribal opposition.
  • Constant internal revolts


  • Rule of Zaman Shah
  • Constant internal revolts
  • (1795) Persians invade Khurasan (province)


  • Rule of Mahmood
  • Constant internal revolts


  • Rule of Shah Shujah
  • (1805) Persian attack on Herat fails.
  • Internal fighting


  • Mahmood returns to the throne.
  • War with Persia--indecisive victory
  • Internal fighting


  • Sons of Timur Shah struggle for the throne--Civil War--anarchy--
  • Afghans lose Sind permanently


Dost Mohammad Khan takes Kabul, and establishes control.


Persia moves into Khurasan (province), and threatens Herat. Afghans defend Herat successfully.


(May)--Afghans lose Peshawar to the Sikhs; later they crushed the Sikhs under the leadership of Akbar Khan who defeated the Sikhs near Jamrud, and killed the great Sikh general Hari Singh. However, they failed to retake Peshawar due to disunity and bad judgment on the part of Dost Mohammad Khan.


Dost Mohammad Khan is proclaimed as Amir al-mu' minin (commander of the faithful). He was well on the road toward reunifying the whole of Afghanistan when the British, in collaboration with an ex-king (Shah Shuja), invade Afghanistan.


  • First Anglo-Afghan War
  • After some resistance, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan surrenders to the British and is deported to India.
  • Shah Shuja is installed as a "puppet king" by the British. (1839-1842)
  • April 1842--Shah Shuja killed by Afghans.
  • Afghans passionately continue their struggle against the British.
  • Akbar Khan--Afghan hero--victorious against the British.
  • In January 1842, out of 16,500 soldiers (and 12,000 dependents) only one survivor, of mixed British-Indian garrison, reaches the fort in Jalalabad, on a stumbling pony.


After the annihilation of British troops, Afghanistan once again becomes independent, and the exiled Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan comes back and occupies the royal throne (1843-1863).


Afghan hero, Akbar Khan dies


Dost Mohammad Khan signs a peace treaty with India.


British take Baluchistan, and Afghanistan becomes completely landlocked.


  • Sher Ali, Dost Mohammad Khan's son, succeeds to the throne.
  • (1865)--Russia takes Bukhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand.


  • Mohammad Afzal occupies Kabul and proclaims himself Amir.
  • October, 1867--Mohammad Afzal dies.


  • Mohammad Azam succeeds to the throne
  • 1868--Mohammad Azam flees to Persia
  • Sher Ali reasserts control (1868-1879).


  • Russia established a fixed boundary between Afghanistan and it's new territories.
  • Russia promises to respect Afghanistan's territorial integrity.


  • Start of second Anglo-Afghan War
  • The British invade and the Afghans quickly put up a strong resistance.


  • Sher Ali dies in Mazar-i-Shariff, and Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan takes over until October 1879.
  • Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan gives up the following Afghan territories to the British: Kurram, Khyber, Michni, Pishin, and Sibi. Afghans lose these territories permanently.


  • Battle of Maiwand
  • July 1880, Afghan woman named Malalai carries the Afghan flag forward after the soldiers carrying the flag were killed by the British. She becomes a heroine for her show of courage and valour.
  • Abdur Rahman takes throne of Afghanistan as Amir.
  • The British, shortly after the accession of the new Amir, withdraw from Afghanistan, although they retain the right to handle Afghanistan's foreign relations.
  • Abdur Rahman establishes fixed borders and he loses a lot of Afghan land.
  • Nuristan converted to Islam.


  • The Panjdeh Incident
  • Russian forces seize the Panjdeh Oasis, a piece of Afghan territory north of the Oxus River. Afghans tried to retake it, but was finally forced to allow the Russians to keep Panjdeh, and the Russians promised to honor Afghan territorial integrity in the future.


The Durand line fixes borders of Afghanistan with British India, splitting Afghan tribal areas, leaving half of these Afghans in what is now Pakistan.


Afghanistan's northern border is fixed and guaranteed by Russia


  • Abdur Rahman dies, his son Habibullah succeeds him.
  • Slows steps toward modernization


Russia and Great Britain sign the convention of St. Petersburg, in which Afghanistan is declared outside Russia's sphere of influence.


Mahmud Tarzi (Afghan Intellectual) introduces modern Journalism into Afghanistan with the creation of several newspapers.


  • Habibullah is assassinated, and succeeded by his son Amanullah (The reform King)
  • The first museum in Afghanistan is instituted at Baghe Bala.


  • Third Anglo-Afghan war
  • Once again, the British are defeated, and Afghanistan gains full control of her foreign affairs.
  • Amanullah Khan initiates a series of ambitious efforts at social and political modernization.


Amanullah Khan changes his title from Amir to Padshah (King).


  • Amanullah Khan is overthrown by Habibullah Kalakani.
  • After the fall of Amanullah Khan, Mahmud Tarzi seeks asylum in Turkey.
  • The Rise and Fall of Habibullah Kalakani, popularly known as "Bache Saqao"
  • Nadir Khan takes the throne; his tribal army loots government buildings and houses of wealthy citizens because the treasury was empty.
  • Habibullah Kalakani, along with his supporters, and a few supporters of Amanullah Khan are killed by Nadir Khan. Now Nadir Khan establishes full control.


  • (May) Pro-Amanullah Khan uprising put down by Nadir Khan.
  • Nadir Khan abolishes reforms set forth by Amanullah Khan to modernize Afghanistan.


  • Nadir Khan assassinated by a college student, and his son, Zahir, inherits the throne. He rules until 1973.
  • Zahir Shah's uncles serve as prime ministers and advisors until 1953.
  • Mahmud Tarzi dies in Turkey at the age of 68 with a heart full of sorrow and despair toward his country.


The United States of America formally recognizes Afghanistan


Da Afghanistan Bank (State Bank of Afghanistan) is incorporated.


Minor pro-Amanullah Khan uprising (January 15)


Zahir Shah proclaims Afghanistan as neutral during WW2


Britain withdraws from India. Pakistan is carved out of Indian and Afghan lands.


  • Afghanistan's Parliament denounces the Durand Treaty and refuses to recognize the Durand line as a legal boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • Pashtuns in Pashtunistan (Occupied Afghan Land) proclaim an independent Pashtunistan, but their proclamation goes unacknowledged by the world community.


Prince Mohammad Daoud becomes Prime Minister.


The U.S. rejects Afghanistan's request to buy military equipment to modernize the army.


  • Daoud turns to the Soviet Union (Russia) for military aid.
  • The Pashtunistan (occupied Afghan land) issue flares up.


  • Kruschev and Bulgaria agree to help Afghanistan.
  • Close ties between Afghanistan and USSR.


  • The Purdah is made optional, women begin to enroll in the University which has become co-educational.
  • Women begin to enter the workforce, and the government.


Pakistan and Afghanistan come close to war over Pashtunistan.


Zahir Shah demands Daoud's resignation. Dr. Mohammad Yusof becomes Prime Minister.


  • The Afghan Communist Party was secretly formed in January. Babrak Karmal is one of the founders.
  • In September, first nationwide elections under the new constitution.
  • Karmal was elected to the Parliament, later instigates riots.
  • Zahir and Yussof form second government.


  • Second nationwide elections.
  • Babrak and Hafizullah Amin are elected.


Mohammad Moussa becomes Prime Minister.


  • July 17th: Zahir Shah is on vacation in Europe, when his government is overthrown in a military coup headed by Daoud Khan and PDPA (Afghan Communist Party).
  • Daoud Khan abolishes the monarchy, declares himself President---Republic of Afghanistan is established.


UNESCO names Herat as one of the first cities to be designated as a part of the worlds cultural heritage.


  • Daoud Khan presents a new constitution. Women's rights confirmed.
  • Daoud starts to oust suspected opponents from his government.


  • Bloody Communist coup: Daoud is killed, Taraki is named President, and Karmal becomes his deputy Prime Minister. Tensions rise.
  • Mass arrests, tortures, and arrests takes place.
  • Afghan flag is changed.
  • Taraki signs treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union.
  • June--Afghan guerrilla (Mujahideen) movement is born.

Part IV (1978 - Present)


  • Bloody Communist coup: Daoud is killed, Taraki is named President, and Karmal becomes his deputy Prime Minister. Tensions rise.
  • Mass arrests, tortures, and arrests takes place.
  • Afghan flag is changed.
  • Taraki signs treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union.
  • June--Afghan guerrilla (Mujahideen) movement is born.


  • Mass killings
  • US ambassador killed
  • Taraki is killed and Hafizullah Amin takes the Presidency.
  • Amin is executed, and he is replaced with Babrak Karmal.
  • Soviet Union (Russia) invade in December.


Dr. Najibullah is brought back from USSR to run the secret police.


UN sends investigators to Afghanistan to examine reported human rights violations.


Babrak Karmal is replaced by Dr. Najibullah.


  • Najibullah proposes ceasefire, but the Mujahideen refuse to deal with a "puppet government".
  • Mujahideen make great gains, defeat of Soviets eminent.


  • Peace accords signed in Geneva.
  • Soviet Union defeated by Afghanistan, total withdrawal by the Soviets occurred on Feb. 15, 1989.
  • Experts agree that at least 40,000-50,000 Soviets lost their lives in action, besides the wounded, suicides, and murders.
  • Mujahideen continue to fight against Najibullah's regime.
  • May--Afghan guerrillas elect Sibhhatullah Mojadidi as head of their government-in-exile.


  • April 15--The Mujahideen take Kabul and liberate Afghanistan, Najibullah is protected by UN.
  • The Mujahideen form an Islamic State--Islamic Jihad Council--elections.
  • Iranian and Pakistani interference increases--more fighting--
  • Professor Burhannudin Rabbani is elected President.


  • The Taliban militia are born, and advance rapidly against the Rabbani government.
  • Dostum and Hekmatyar continued to clash against Rabbani's government, and as a result Kabul is reduced to rubble.


  • Massive gains by the Taliban.
  • Increased Pakistani and Iranian interference.


  • June--Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of Hezbi-Islami, having been eliminated as a military power, signs a peace pact with Rabbani, and returns to Kabul to rule as prime minister.
  • September 27--Taliban militia force President Rabbani and his government out of Kabul. After the capture of Kabul, the Taliban execute Najibullah.
  • Alliance between Government, Hezbi Wahdat, and Dostum
  • Oppression of women by the Taliban--women must be fully veiled, no longer allowed to work, go out alone or even wear white socks. Men are forced to grow beards. Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport is outlawed.
  • Tensions rise as Afghan government accuse Pakistan of aiding the Taliban.
  • Massive human rights violations by the Taliban.


  • Mass graves of Taliban soldiers containing between 1,500 and 2,000 bodies are found. The men were believed to have been captured in May by general Abdul Malik during the Taliban's brief takeover of Mazar-i-Sharif.


  • February--Earthquake strikes in northeastern Afghansitan, killing over 4,000 people, destroying villages and leaving thousands of people homeless.
  • August--Taliban finally capture Mazar-i-Sharif, and massacre thousands of innocent civilians afterwards, mostly Hazaras.
  • August 20th--United States launches cruise missles hitting Afghanistan's Khost region.  US states its intent was to destroy so called terrorist bases/training facilities used by Osama bin Laden and his followers. Some Afghan civilians are also killed.
  • September--Tensions rise between Iran and the Taliban.  Iranians are angry about the killing of their diplomats and a journalist by the Taliban when they captured Mazar-i-Sharif.  Soon they deploy 70,000 troops to carry out military exercises near the Afghan border.  In the end, no fighting occurs between the Taliban and the Iranian army.


  • February--Earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan, affecting over 30,000 people, and killing at least 60 to 70 people.
  • September--The ex-king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, calls for a grand assembly, or Loya Jirga to discuss ways of bringing peace to the country. The United Front soon welcomes the idea, but the Taliban ridicule Mohammad Zahir Shah's attempts at establishing peace.
  • October-- UN Security Council Resolution 1267 is adopted; sanctions against the Taliban on grounds that they offered sanctuary to Osama bin Ladin.


  • May--Taliban torture and kill civilians in the Robatak Pass
    (on the border between Baghlan and Samangan provinces).
  • September--Taloqan finally falls to the Taliban.
  • December-- UN Security Council Resolution 1333 is adopted; additional sanctions against the Taliban for their continuing support of terrorism and cultivation of narcotics, etc. 


  • January--Taliban torture and kill numerous civilians in Yakaolang (Hazaras).
  • March--Despite pleas and requests from various international diplomats, Islamic scholars, the Taliban destroy ancient historical statues in the Kabul Museum, historical sites in Ghazni, and blow up the giant Bamiyan Buddhas from the 5th century. World expresses outrage and disgust against the Taliban action.
  • April--Ahmad Shah Masood visits Europe to gather support against the Taliban.
  • April--UN accuses Pakistan of not allowing adequate supply of food and medicines to displaced Afghans, at the Jalozai camp, near Peshawar.

Last updated 4/2001

See also:

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; aryaninvasion; aryans; balkh; godsgravesglyphs; indusvalley; indusvalleyscript; silkroad
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1 posted on 11/10/2001 9:08:10 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: McGavin999
2 posted on 11/10/2001 9:12:11 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
3 posted on 11/10/2001 9:12:48 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: Aurelius
4 posted on 11/10/2001 9:15:48 PM PST by EggsAckley
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To: Cultural Jihad
Well, so much for the hope for peace. Looks like it's been one long fight for the last couple thousand years.
5 posted on 11/10/2001 9:32:07 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: Cultural Jihad
HA! I found it before you bumped me! Did you notice the part about the irrigation way back? Are those the underground aquaducts I was reading about the other day that the Taliban are using to escape?

I would love to visit that country. What a history!

6 posted on 11/10/2001 9:37:14 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: Cultural Jihad
I think this list missed an important event: the "Connery-Caine Incident" circa 1880.

Which way is Kafiristan, Danny?

7 posted on 11/10/2001 9:42:09 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Cultural Jihad
<50,000 BCE-20,000 BCE> Archaeologists have identified evidence of stone age> This has to be the longest running stone age civilization.
8 posted on 11/10/2001 9:49:35 PM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts
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To: McGavin999
This part caught my eye: "1880... Nuristan converted to Islam." Apparently a whole part of Afghanistan was not Muslim until the late 19th Century.

Here's a good page on Nuristan:

And from

Pronounced As: nooristan [Persian,=land of light or the enlightened], region on the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush, NE Afghanistan, bordered on the E by Pakistan. Formerly called Kafiristan [land of the infidels], it is inhabited by an ethnically distinctive people (numbering about 60,000), who practiced animism until their forcible conversion to Islam in 1895-96. Inhabiting relatively isolated villages in deep, narrow mountain valleys, they grow wheat, barley, millet, peas, wine grapes, and other fruit and raise livestock (chiefly goats). A special artisan caste specializes in woodcarving, pottery making, weaving, and metalwork. The Nuristanis, divided into several tribes, speak Dardic dialects (often mutually unintelligible) belonging to a distinct branch of the Indo-European language family. Nuristan was the scene of some of the heaviest guerrilla fighting during the 1979-89 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces.

9 posted on 11/10/2001 9:54:45 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: McGavin999
Consider this find. It looks like the whole village is assembled for Thursday night chicken fights.

10 posted on 11/10/2001 10:04:17 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
i still say take over and proclaim NEW TEXAS!
11 posted on 11/10/2001 10:11:20 PM PST by MetalHeadConservative35
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To: Cultural Jihad
Put "Buzkashi" into a search engine--there's a lot of great stuff on the net with great pictures.

Here's a rules page: Buzkahi Rules

12 posted on 11/10/2001 10:21:32 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Which way is Kafiristan, Danny?

Yes, 'The Man Who Would Be King', with Caine and Connery (and Christopher Plummer as Rudyard Kipling), was a great movie. It also gives a fair idea of the sort of people we're dealing with. It takes place shortly before Kafiristan (Nuristan) was converted to Islam, and shows that the character of the people has not been affected by that conversion.

The talk of how the British, Russians, and Americans never will rule Afghanistan is shown to be reasonable by the history in the main article, since not even Afghans have been able to assert control over that beautiful place. However, killing and obliterated various factions (such as the Taliban) seems to be the real national sport, a sport which everyone seems to love and at which everyone excels.

13 posted on 11/10/2001 10:25:19 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
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To: Cultural Jihad
It looks like the whole village is assembled for Thursday night chicken fights.

Actually it looks like they're gathered around the head of the loser of a 'Man Who Would Be King' type of Buzkashi game.

14 posted on 11/10/2001 10:30:32 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
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To: Shermy
Here's a rules page: Buzkahi Rules

Doesn't a rulebook for Buzkahi seem like a contradiction in terms?

15 posted on 11/10/2001 10:32:24 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Here was the source, where the attribute was: "Afghans at a chicken fight" and look toward the bottom-right for the link.
16 posted on 11/10/2001 10:34:45 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
Chickens, heads, what's the dif, when you come right down to it. Especially to the Taliban.
17 posted on 11/10/2001 10:41:06 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
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To: Shermy
Odd how that website ( has this on the home page:
"The Friendliest Country in the World, Possibly the Universe"

So we build a Disneyland in Afghanistan, and THERE will be the happiest place in the friendliest country on Earth.

18 posted on 11/10/2001 10:58:46 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
1219-1221 --
Invasion of Afghanistan by Genghis Khan
Destruction of Irrigation systems by Genghis Khan, which turned fertile soil into permanent deserts.

If they weren't so busy with almost constant warring, both internal and external, you'd reasonably think the irrigation system would be rebuilt. So much for progress, in nearly 800 years.

BTW--does anyone know the name for this irrgation technique? I know it is/was also practiced in Iran/Persia (recalling college geography class).

19 posted on 11/10/2001 11:31:40 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: Cultural Jihad
Thanks, good find. Very useful timeline.
20 posted on 11/10/2001 11:31:55 PM PST by Ymani Cricket
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