The war raged on for 8 years – Characterized by WW1 style warfare – Chemical weapons – Over a half million dead, many more wounded
• Last prisoners of war exchanged in 2003 • Even after nearly a decade of war, the borders never changed • Young Iran • As the old guard of Iran is aging, a large young population is gaining traction – Alcohol – Music – Western ideals • What does this mean for the future of Iran? • Reformists vs. Hardliners • Should the U.S. encourage reformist movements? • The states of Former Central Soviet Asia • Kazakhstan - territorially larger than the other five combined – situated astride an ethnic transition zone • Turkmenistan - closed and dictatorial, – important frontage on Caspian Sea, borders Iran and Afghanistan • Uzbekistan - most populous, in the heart of the region • Kyrgyzstan - chronically unstable, wedged between powerful neighbors • Tajikistan - regionally and culturally divided as well as strife-torn • Fractious Afghanistan • Geography and history have conspired to divide Afghanistan • Towering Hindu Kush range dominates the center of the country • Three broad environmental zones: – well-watered and fertile northern plains & basins – rugged, earthquake-prone central highlands; – desert-dominated southern plateaus • Kabol (Kabul), capital, linked by narrow passes • to the northern plains and by the Khyber Pass to Pakistan • What is Islamism? • A movement of "Muslims who draw upon the belief, symbols, and language of Islam to inspire, shape, and animate political activity;" which may contain moderate, tolerant, peaceful activists, and/or those who "preach intolerance and espouse violence.“ • Essentially, politicized religion. Using religion to gain and exert power. • Taliban • Taliban - ‘seekers’ or students of religion • Arrived in Afghanistan from religious schools in Pakistan – Aim to end Afghanistan’s chronic factionalism and endemic corruption – Instituted strict Islamic law • Popular support in war-weary country, among Pushtuns – Supported by the US in response to the communist threat • 1996 the Taliban had taken Kabul • Imposition of Islamic (Sharia) law was strict and severe • Objections by Islamic and non-Islamic countries • Restrictions on the activities of women – Ended professional education – Restricted employment – Freedom of movement
• Public amputations and stonings enforced the Taliban’s code • al Qaeda • al-Qaeda - a terrorist organization • Osama bin Laden’s return to Afghanistan coincided with the Taliban’s conquest of Kabul •
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