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Renato Capelj

English 12A
Afghanistan Web-quest

1. The following question pertains to the National Geographic article A Life Revealed.
a. What was the girls life like as a teenager? What was it like when she returned to Afghanistan?
b. What does this reveal about life in Afghanistan?
The afghan girl, Sharbat Gula, as a teenager lived a life full of hardships. Sharbat was caught in a
soviet seizure, her parents were killed in a bombing, and she was forced to evacuate Afghanistan
under her grandmothers guidance. During the time she was evacuating Pakistan, Sharbat, her
grandmother, and brother sheltered in caves in efforts to prevent their demises by bombings. After
arriving in Afghanistan, Sharbat found herself a place in a refugee camp living with strangers. Sharbat
felt uncomfortable and of no worth. She stayed at the refugee camp for an undisclosed amount of time
before returning to a somewhat less violent (calmer than before) Afghanistan. Fast forward some
many years, Sharbat exclaims her lifestyle, her marriage years ago, her kids, and what she sees in her
life. In all, Sharbat feels lost, worthless, and unable to attain the life she wants for herself and her
kids. Sharbat believes that the life in Afghanistan (for her) is dull, totalitarian, and un-spirited.

2. The following questions pertain to the PBS Time Line of Afghanistan.
Web Source -

A. What happens in 1921?
In 1921, after the Britishs defeat in the third British-Afghan War, Afghanistan becomes an
independent nation. Shortly thereafter, Amanullah Khan, the Arab ruler, begins a socioeconomic
b. What happens in 1933?
In 1921, Zahir Shah becomes king bringing stability to Afghanistan during his forty year ruling.
c. With whom does Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan make an alliance? Why?
Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan makes an alliance with the Soviet Union (a communist nation).
Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan does this to gain economic and military assistance for Afghanistan.
d. 1973 was a pivotal point in Afghanistans history. Why?
After overthrowing Afghanistans monarch and the last king, Gen. Mohammed Daoud Khan
establishes the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan with him as president.
e. In what year did Afghanistan first start to experience political turmoil? (Hint: They take on the
Soviet Union)
During the year 1978, members of the Afghan Communist Party kill Gen. Khan, take control of
the country, proclaim independence from soviet influence, and declare their principles to be centered
on Islamic philosophies.
f. In 1979, the U.S. cuts off ties with Afghanistan. Why? Who invades Afghanistan?
In 1979, the U.S. cuts off its ties with Afghanistan to stop growing tensions with its Cold War
enemy, the Soviet Union. Shortly after the U.S. does this, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to
strengthen the weakening communist regime.
g. When does Osama bin Laden make his first visit to Afghanistan?
Renato Capelj
English 12A
In 1984, Osama bin Laden makes his first known visit to Afghanistan.
h. Why does Osama shift his focus from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1988?
Osama bin Laden shifts his focus from the Soviet Union to the United States as he renders that
the remaining superpower (the U.S. in this case) is an obstacle in his efforts to establish a pure
Islamic State.
i. In 1992 Afghanistan endures yet another coup. Which group takes over this time? What are the
problems with this group?
In 1992, Afghanistan endures another coup by the Mujahadeen and other rebel groups that have
the aid of turncoat government troops. The problem Mujahadeen presents is a heightening amount of
tensions with the Soviet Union.
j. Why do most Afghans believe the Taliban takeover in 1993 is a good thing at first?
Most Afghans believe that the Taliban takeover in 1993 was a good thing. This is because the
Taliban makes efforts to uphold traditional Islamic values while cracking down on crime.
k. Why do more than a million Afghans flee to Pakistan between the years 1995 and 1999?
A devastating drought in the Afghan region makes land uninhabitable and forces many farmers
(including civilians too) to take refuge in Pakistani camps.
l. What was Americas answer to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001?
America answered to the attacks on September 11
, 2001 with airstrikes and bombing of Taliban

3. The following questions pertain to a website describing Muslim religion.
Web Source -

a. What do Muslims believe? How are Christianity and Islam similar? Different?
Muslims believe in there being one single God, under which are Angels (created by him), and
further below the world we live in which that one single God has control of.
b. What are the five pillars of Islam? What is the Quran? Who is Muhammad?
The five pillars of Islam are: faith, prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification, and the
pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are able.
c. What are Muslims beliefs about death, marriage, and war?
Muslims believe life before death is the preparation for the next life and death is the transition
to that life. Lastly, Muslim law and religion permits fighting only in the case of self-defense and
defense of religion.

4. The following questions pertain to the Pashtun and Hazara people of Afghanistan.
Web Source -

a. Describe the Pashtun and Hazara people. How are they similar? What are their differences
and disagreements?
Renato Capelj
English 12A
Members of the Pashtun community are largely from Afghanistan and West Pakistan. The
Pashtuns are usually a nomadic poor group of people that follow the Muslim Sunni religion. On the
other hand, members of the Hazara community are widely form Pakistan and by a minority in
Afghanistan too. The Hazaras are a people with not a lot of power. Due to this, the Hazaras closely
follow their Shiite Muslim religion as it is about the only thing in their lives they can control. The
differences the Pashtun and Hazara people share are two different branches of Muslim religion. Also,
another difference is in the languages, the Pashtun people speak Pashtu, while the Hazaras speak a
sort of Persian that has some Turkish and Mongol inspirations. Moreover, the Hazara and Pashtun
people share disagreements about religion, language, and ethnic backgrounds.
However, the Pashtun and Hazara people also share some similarities. They are people from the
same general area (the Middle East) and have origins to original Muslim religion and scriptures.
Overall, although the Pashtun and Hazara communities share some similarities, they are mostly a
very disagreeing group of people; they hold different views on religion, live differently, and
communicate in different languages.

5. The following questions pertain to The Wall Street Journal video report on "kite running" (kite
fighting) in Afghanistan:
Web Source -
a. Describe the process of kite fighting and kite running.
Kite fighting and kite running is a popular sport among many in Afghanistan. To begin, the
process starts when an individual goes out to purchase a kite at the local market. The cost of
purchasing a kite can range from 25 cents to 100 dollars. After an individual has purchased a kite he
can then go on to attach the string from a spool. Once the string (laced with glass) is attached then
kite fighting may take place. This type of fighting involves an individual doing his best to cut up,
mangle, or destroy other kites. The kite that is able to take on all other competitors successfully is the
b. Why is it so meaningful in Afghanistan?
Kite fighting/flying is very meaningful in Afghanistan as it takes away some of the political and
economic hardships people constantly face. Kite fighting/flying brings enjoyment and a sort of worth
into peoples lives.

6. The following questions pertain to the PBS article on the Taliban.
Web Source -
a. Who are the Taliban? What does the word "taliban" mean?
The Taliban, a group of Sunni Muslim fundamentalists, are a cluster of militants that for the most
part live near the edge of Afghanistan, near the border of Pakistan.
The word Taliban means students in the language of Pashto. This name is used because many
of the original members were students in Pakistani religious schools, also known as madrassas.
b. What is the ideological aim of the Taliban?
Renato Capelj
English 12A
The ideological aim of the Taliban, according to reporter Dave Johns of PBS, is to reestablish an
austere and uncompromisingly puritanical Islamic state in Afghanistan.
c. In what regions are the Taliban located?
Today, the Taliban is organized mostly in rough areas of the Pakistan border, some southern and
eastern parts of Afghanistan, and some provinces such as Ghazni (a city in the central-east part of
d. When and why did the Taliban emerge?
The Taliban emerged to control war torn areas of Afghanistan. The Taliban did this in efforts to
establish a strict religious society based on interpretations of Sharia/Islamic law.
e. What restrictions were placed on people by the Taliban as a result of Sharia law?
The Taliban placed restrictions on entertainment, banned music, television, kite flying, and dealt
with crime via public executions. Also, women were forced to where full-body clothing such as
burqas in public, and were prohibited from working, going to school past age eight, or going to a male
doctor without the company of a male chaperone. Such restrictions lit up tensions in some Afghans.
f. What sanctions were placed on countries as a result of the Taliban? Of what atrocities were
the Taliban accused?
United Nations backed sanctions on Afghanistan were imposed that the turnover of Taliban
leader Osama bin Laden could occur. To add, Osama bin Laden was accused of committing atrocities
against the United States government and civilians during the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, and
9/11, 2001 attacks.
g. What caused the retreat of the Taliban? Why are the Taliban again on the rise?
After 9/11, when the United States attacked the Taliban, the Taliban (in efforts to prevent their
demise) retreated to rugged areas of Pakistan. However, the Taliban is on a rise again. This is
because, the Taliban wants to spread their influence and establish strict religious backed government
rule over ungoverned people.