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By John F. Shroder

A glance on the geographic, political, financial, and social facets of Afghanistan, a rustic suffering to reconcile modernization with conventional values and methods.

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Armed opposition to the regime of President Najibullah followed the Soviet withdrawal. Najibullah was overthrown in 1992, and the mujaheddin captured Kabul. Much of the subsequent conflict occurred as a result of the fact that Kabul did not fall to the well-armed Pashtun factions based in Peshawar. Rather, it fell to the Tajik forces of Burhanuddin Rabbani and his military commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, and to the Uzbek forces of Rashid Dostum. It was the first time in 300 years that Pashtuns had lost control of Kabul, and Gulbuddin 61 62 Afghanistan Hekmetyar rallied Pashtun forces in an attempt to reclaim the city.

It might also be noted that the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islamic law often resulted in punishments that might be viewed as excessively lenient in non-Islamic countries. For example, in the case of murder, Taliban judges encouraged the families of the victim to accept the payment of diya, or blood money, rather than put the killer to death. The purpose was to reduce or eliminate the practice of blood feuds that would result in further violence. As Islamic law was already embedded in Afghan culture, its strict enforcement met with a sharp reduction in crime and widespread public approval.

Among other tasks, Daoud strengthened the army and the institutions of government and further expanded Afghanistan’s relationship with the Soviet Union. He also attempted to develop an industrial sector that would replace The Age of European Imperialism agriculture and handicrafts as the principal sources of wealth in the country. Through industrialization, Daoud hoped to generate a broad base of popular support within Afghanistan. He hoped to eventually lead the country into greater political and economic independence.

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