Afghanistan

In three decades, Afghanistan experienced the worst horrors generated by the second half of the twentieth century. First, a Soviet occupation, based on the «cold war». Then, after defeating the Red Army, the victorious mudjahideen factions turned their killing power against themselves. The ensuing civil war brought chaos to the country, which the taliban then used to seize the power. This fundamentalist regime was then ousted by a steady fire of American tomahawk missiles in 2001, right after the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York. Ever since then, a new civil war has been opposing the taliban and the regular Afghan army who fight alongside allied western forces. The fighting mainly takes place in the southern half of the country.

The informal economy linked to poppy cultivation, opium and heroin production, has flourished. Afghanistan can sadly boast to be the world’s primary opium producer. Many countries are pitching in to rebuild, develop, and demine the country. And yet, a legitimate, durable, and corruption-free economy is still far from being established. In this difficult context, «Afghans to the top» aspires, at its own modest level, to bring strong support to tourism in Afghanistan. A sector that is barely developed, but that carries much hope, for the peaceful northern mountainous regions of Wakhan, Hindu Kush, and their breathtaking scenery.

Chronology: Afghanistan, a thirty year long nightmare

• 1973 : the prince Daoud topples the king Zaher Shah, and ends 200 years of monarchy.
• 1978 : coup d’Etat encouraged by Moscow followed by a fierce battle at the head of the nation.
• 1979 : the Red Army invades the country and places Babrak Karmal at the head of a socialist state.
• 1986 : Mohamed Najibullah, pro-USSR, succeeds him.
• 1988-1989 : retreat of the Red Army, who failed to defeat the moudjahideen fighters after 8 years of combat.
• 1989-1992 : Najibullah’s regime resists the moudjahideen fighters.
• 1992 : Najibullah steps down ; the moudjahideen take control of Kabul and the country.
• 1992 to 1996 : the «warlords» divide themselves into ethnic factions. Kabul suffers its worst bombings. The international community remains silent. By 1994, a fundamentalist militia, encouraged by Pakistan and the CIA, the taleban, emerge in the south of the country. They manage to gain the control of the region in less than a year.
• 1996 : the taliban take Kabul, and force their extreme vision of Islam onto the population.1998 : the taliban control 80% of the country. American forces bomb the Afghan training camps of fundamentalist billionaire Ben Laden, special guest of the taliban.
• October 2001 : Launch of «operation enduring freedom», approved by the UN, as an answer to the september 11th terrorist attacks in New York.
• November 2001 : the Northern Alliance takes control of Kabul.
• December 2001 : Hamid Karzaï’s temporary government is set up. The International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) is created, under Nato command.
• June 2003 : deadly attack against ISAF in Kabul.
• August 2003 : regular battles in the south, between reorganised taliban forces, and the Afghan army, shouldered by American, Italian, and French troops.
• October 2004 : Afghanistan’s first national elections since 1969. Hamid Karzaï is elected president, but up to this day, he has still not managed to enforce his authority onto local chiefs. From 2005 to 2008 : the battles get worse, leaving thousands dead.
• 2009 - the USA, under the Obama presidency, announce a surge of the military forces, admitting, at the same time, that a long term solution resides in regional negotiations with Pakistan. Richard Holbrooke, the man behind the Daytona agreement, that put an end to the conflict in Bosnia, is appointed «special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan».



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