Conflicts in Afghanistan after 1970 By: Da Vin and Saad

Kingdom of Afghanistan

Before 1973, Afghanistan was a kingdom, ruled by a single monarch. From 1933 to 1973, this was Mohammed Zahir Shah who was mostly a peaceful King who ruled for 40 years. He wanted to establish a constitutional monarchy with a democratic government and establish political parties, and remained neutral during the cold war. He appointed his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan as prime minister, who believed in radical reform policy and to ally with the Soviet Union. Mohammed Zahir Shah mostly restrained his cousin, however while he was receiving treatment for eye problems in Italy his cousin seized power in a coup d'état.

Former King Zahir Shah with JFK

Republic of Afghanistan

Mohammed Daoud Khan abolished the monarchy and became the first President and Prime Minister of Afghanistan. He wanted to make the country more liberal, and move away from the conservative Islamic law, and befriend the USSR. However he was largely unsuccessful, and he would kill or imprison members of the (PDPA) People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan which caused unrest in the country. Eventually the PDPA organized a military coup to kill Daoud and start a revolution.

Flag of The Repulic of Afghanistan under Daoud's Rule

Soviet and Communist Rule

The revolution to overthrow Daoud became known as the Saur revolution, and the PDPA kept control until 1992. They immediately established communist ideology, which replaced the religious customs of society. Men could no longer grow beards, women could not wear chadors, and Mosques were banned. They repressed the local population by imprisoning or murdering thousands of people including the societal elite, and religious leaders. The USSR also deployed troops to Afghanistan, to keep order and help to quell the local unrest.

Soviet Troops in Afghanistan

Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

After seeing increasing communist influence in Afghanistan, the United States feared this would give the USSR too much power. They immediately ended all aid, and supported a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. They began sending weapons and funds to support the Mujahideen, or the local fighters, via Pakistan. Other countries such as Saudi Arabia also helped to supply the guerrilla resistance. This was bad news for the local people; approximately one million died from the fighting, and another 6 million fled as refugees to Pakistan, Iran, and America. The Soviets were forced to retreat in 1989, however they supported the local government up until 1992.

Soviet Propaganda About the War in Afghanistan

Afghani Civil War

After the local rebel forces took control, there was momentary peace in the country; an interim government was appointed and a President was chosen. However, some of the outer provinces didn't accept the ruler because of his ethnicity. However this did not last; there was no time to set up a police system or any functional government departments, and other countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran were already vying to influence Afghanistan and further their own agendas. Ceasefires barely lasted days and cities not under the control of a military became centers of lawlessness and atrocity. Eventually, a group called the Taliban formed to retake the country and bring order to the chaos.

Members of the Taliban

The Taliban in Afghanistan

The Taliban quickly took large areas of Afghanistan from the local government. Aided by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, they took Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Taliban was filled with strict laws such as forbidding women to leave the house without a male relative and destroying many historical and cultural monuments. There were also many human rights violations, such as systematic massacres against the local population. However the enemies of the Taliban created the United Front which opposed the Taliban's dictatorial rule and accepted many displaced refugees.

Troops in Afghanistan's United Front

The Fall of the Taliban

The Taliban eventually killed the leader of the United Front, and two days later launched an attack on the twin towers that would come to be known as 9/11. This prompted retaliation from America, and they organized an operation to capture the head of the Taliban. Unfortunately, a large amount of Afghani citizens were caught in the crossfire as much of the operation included bombing the cities where the Taliban were hiding. Eventually, however, the Taliban were driven out and millions of Afghans were repatriated back to Afghanistan.

A map of Afghan borders today

Afghanistan Today

Although there have been reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan by other nations, it is still one of the world's poorest countries. Decades of war, corruption, lack of government, and rebel movements have left Afghanistan war-torn and broken. It has managed to form a government however it is still rife with corruption, and most of the people work in agriculture as there is little technological development. Overall, the long history of Afghani conflicts have made it weak and it will be a long time before it can stand on its feet again.

The same location in the first picture - taken after the war

Thanks for Reading!

Works Cited

Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah Talks with US. 6 Sept. 1963. Getty Images, Accessed 16 Jan. 2017.

Garamond, Jim. United Front Troops Lined up Next to the Runway at Bagram Airfield in ParwanProvince. 16 Dec. 2001. Wiki Wand.

Orange Tuesday. Flag of Afghanistan (1974–1978). 12 Apr. 2008. Wikimedia Commons, WikimediaFoundation, 16 Jan. 2017.

Quadrilateral Talks Held on the Issue of the Taliban in Pakistan. Katehon, Accessed 16 Jan. 2017.

Telegraph. “Muslim Rebels” duel with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. 1980. Hoover Institution,Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University,

Wikipedia contributors. "History of Afghanistan." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, TheFree Encyclopedia, 14 Jan. 2017. Web. 14 Jan. 2017.

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