afghanistan

Cultural Dictionary

Afghanistan definition


Republic in south-central Asia, bordered by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, China to the northeast, Pakistan to the east and south, and Iran to the west. Kabul is its capital and largest city.

Note: The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 but met stiff resistance from Muslim rebels, called mujahideen, who received support from the United States. The Soviets agreed to withdraw in 1986 and completed their withdrawal in 1989.
Note: In 1992, various rebel groups entered Kabul and took over the government; however, they soon fell to warring. Between 1994 and 1995, Islamic students, called the Taliban, seized Kabul and imposed both order and strict and repressive Islamic law. By 1998, the Taliban controlled ninety percent of the country. The most serious resistance to the Taliban came from the Northern Alliance, a body dominated by ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks. In October 2001, the United States launched attacks on the Taliban in response to the Taliban's refusal to expel Osama bin Laden and his terrorist Al Qaeda network.
Note: Afghanistan is a poor nation with a history of warfare among its rival ethnic groups and of fierce resistance to outsiders.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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