Situated between the borders of China, Iran and Pakistan, Afghanistan is considered to take on so much culture and tradition from its neighboring countries (Banting, 2003). Rich in several mountainous regions, the country imposes interest on those who love to travel and be adventurous at the same time. Back in the days, the nation specifically held a great possibility of becoming a central attraction for most adventurous travelers who are bound towards the central areas of Asia.
There are approximately 35,320 445 residents accounted for in 2011 who embrace Afghanistan as their home (Bleaney, et al, 2012). Thriving within a total area of 652.230 km2, the people in Afghanistan were likely supposed to enjoy the richness of their soil through all the resources it is able to provide (Banting, 2003). The country currently thrives under a Unitary Presidential Republic and is currently lead by President Hamid Karzai, Vice Presidents Mohamed Fahim, Karim Khalili and Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi. The system of legislature in the country includes the National Assemble whereas the Upper House is enjoined in by the House of Elders and the Lower house is characterized as the House of the People. The total GDP estimate of the country [as of 2012] is $19.906 billion.
Everything, including the hope of being a prosperous nation has turned around at the onset of the social conflict that the nation was subjected to since 1978. Due to this fact, social tension and social tremor have been felt by the people living within the country resulting to a high 38% of mortality rate among young infants. Apparently, 38% of newborn children in the country do not survive beyond their first years of life (Clements, 2003). The tension that the war places on the most regular operations in the country including the distribution of food, clothing and the unavailability of a good location to live in for shelter all contribute to the situation of the infants not being able to survive the pressures happening in the society because of the war.
The People and their Nature
Religion has and will always play a great role on how the Afghan society functions. Islamic belief garners the most number of followers in the country. Although there are other remarkable religious denominations in the country, it is quite hard for particularly dominant religions relating to Christianity to spur out in the area. Education specifically follows the teachings of Islam thus making it possible for young ones to be largely involved in the religion even when they are still beginning to read and write.
Later on as the entrant of new age developments come into engagement with the country, several westernized systems of education were developed. However, the 1978 military coup brought about the emergence of traditional teaching once again as it is considered to be the best way of teaching the elders of the communities know of. Considering that it has become dangerous to send out children to school in such hostile environments, children began to be taught at home by their imams and their parents as well. The 1978 coup made a great impact on how the people of Afghanistan viewed education. During the time at least 36 faculty members from the prestigious University of Kabul were executed while 260 others fled for their lives into other western nations like the United States. After such incident, everyone else became afraid of establishing a new source of learning; it became impossible to reestablish the formal ways of study in Kabul. Education at present, however, has improved. The literacy rate is still lower than any other country, but is relatively improving under the administration of Karzai. Through the help of other nations, the education system in the country has been reestablished. An inclusion of a K-12 system that is guided towards higher education is specifically developed and more students are now enrolled in formal institutions.
When it comes to culture and tradition, the Afghan background goes way back to the ancient approaches to living. The family is the central element that creates a community and people depend so much on their families. Being Islamic in nature, Afghans put great value to how they support the celebrations and the lifestyles suggested by their Imams [teachers and elders in the Islamic religion]. Nomads also fill the lands of Afghanistan. This especially increased during the onset of the social distraction in the country.
The Beginning of a Longtime War
It was the year 1978 when the social conflict that stretches towards the current years started in Afghanistan (Fowler, 2007). Ever since this social incident happened, it has already claimed some 1,405,111 lives [both that of the fighters and the innocent civilians thriving in the country] (Bleaney, et al, 2012). The conflict began under the perpetration of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took the power of establishing a military coup which was later on named as the Saur Revolution (Fowler, 2007). To supposedly fix the current situations and give birth to a better social construct, the Soviet Union invaded a huge part of Afghanistan to put an end to the social unrest. However, instead of imposing peace, the PDPA planned and indulged in several revolutions at the time (Fowler, 2007). The Soviet Union tried to restore peace amidst all the negativities in the society. The situation prolonged up to three years. Nevertheless, no agreements were made after it thus resulting to several years of hardship for the people of the country.
During the year 1992, Militia leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar tried his best to oppose the agreement proposed through the Peshawar Accords. This agreement imposed to establish the Islamic State of Afghanistan (Clements, 2003). The opposition against such arrangement was not simply held strong by one person, several militia troupes outside of Kabul felt the same way as did Hektamayar (Fowler, 2007). This is why there were several other civil wars happening outside the capital city which placed rural areas in specific jeopardy; endangering the lives of the innocent civilians. Because of the geographical positioning of Afghanistan, neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and Iran all jived into the war times hoping to get a share of their own with the resources available to Afghans [especially oil] (Banting, 2003). Each of these nations supported particular militias thus enhancing the force behind the continuous development of the war years.
The situation worsened when the emergence of Taliban force came into realization. Situated at Kandahar, the Taliban force started to conquer several states in the country that are not dedicated to the Islamic religion within a full scope. However, when the force tried to defeat Kabul in 1995, they failed hence making them more aggressive when they tried to complete the mission of conquering Kabul in 1996 (Banting, 2003). When they were finally able to take power, the Taliban force established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In the desire to get the political control back, the formation of other militias in the country pursued. Al Qaeda fighters were then grouped up and expected to defend the purpose of putting the Islamic Emirates out of power. During all these political commotions, the people who did nothing and cannot do anything about the situation are left in the middle and are dying in agony (Clements, 2003).
The situation even reached abroad when the attack on the United States was commissioned on September 11, 2011. In response to this US and NATO created a plot to take part on the process of fixing the conflict. It aimed to crush both the Islamic Emirate and the Al Qaeda forces in the country and establish a new democratic front. During this time, NATO took over several operations to raid homes of suspected terrorists and members of the Al Qaeda and the Islamic Emirates parties (Bleaney, 2012). The process of knowing whether or not a person belongs to such group is considered shady. Nevertheless, the procedure continued. Just recently, in November 2013, President Karzai issued a rule that puts a stop to such raids hopefully protecting the innocent ones from [supposed] torture and death (Bleaney, et al, 2012). The war continues to claim lives at present, both those of the innocents’ and those of the fighters’. The bloodshed continues as no agreements were still considered viable for application in the region.
The warfare still continues in the country and like in other years and ages, several innocent civilians remain as the victims of the situation. Not being able to enjoy life or even have a life protected by their government, the people thriving in Afghan live in fear. It is as if the nation has become the battlefield between those who can and cannot survive living in the middle of a war field; only the fittest survives. Children in the country become accustomed to hearing bombs in the background; sometimes even those that detonate right in their faces claiming the lives of many individuals. The countrymen continue to call for peace and security, nevertheless, such hope remains elusive within the concept of power struggle that happens in the administrative and international sectors involved in the situation.
Poverty stricken areas in Afghanistan specifically strives to remain in the survival lane, although people know that the chance of actually surviving the situation is actually vague. Those who can, flee from their land to other neighboring countries, if not in the United States. The desire to seek for something that could serve them a better life is a constant dream for each person in Afghanistan. The Islamic religion continuous to spur in the nation; however, because of the many denominations of the same Islamic belief, conflict among Moslems in Afghanistan themselves occur. Considering the welfare of the children and women, they are held the most vulnerable members of the community. Although there are some thriving businesses in the area, Afghanistan is way far off from the desired progress that its other neighboring nations experience; such as that of Saudi Arabia. Not being able to control how they use their own resources have rendered the people into a situation of massive depression, oppression and disappointment among themselves.
In a way, if not poverty, it would be desperation and depression that kills the people of Afghanistan each day. People in the area consider themselves as living zombies caught between the fighting entities of nations of which they do not understand the role in their society is. Each of the nation engaging in the supposed desire to put an end to the civil unrest in the country have their own hidden agenda in relation to how they are to control the resources of the nation through forming an alliance with the new government that is likely to spur out from supposed developments in the nation’s system of administration. In all these, the innocent ones remain as the primary victims of the conflict.
Banting, Erinn. (2003). Afghanistan the People. Crabtree Publishing Company.
Bleaney, C. H; Gallego, María Ángeles (2012). Afghanistan: a bibliography. BRILL Publishing.
Clements, Frank (2003). Conflict in Afghanistan: a Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO Publishing.
Fowler, Corinne (2007). Chasing Tales: Travel Writing, Journalism and the History of British Ideas About Afghanistan. Rodopi Publishing.