10 Things You Didn’t Know About Afghanistan
Afghanistan possesses so much more beauty & strength than most know.
A land that is home to my baba (Farsi/Dari for dad) and ancestors. My favorite thing about my culture is its sense of community. What my Western husband describes, with enthusiasm, to others as something like a fraternity. As Afghans, we are more than just our individual selves. We are tied to the roots of our land, shaped by the achievements of our ancestors, and we are guided by the love of our families.
In Afghanistan, you don’t understand yourself solely as an individual. You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody, an uncle to somebody. You are part of something bigger than yourself.
— Khaled Hosseini
My family is the type to welcome you in with stretched open arms. The type that doesn’t judge even when you do things outside their religious beliefs, because above all ♥ LOVE is their culture. My family — the Doosts’ — are the type of people who always encourage the good in others.
Given Afghanistan’s location in Central Asia, it has historically been an extremely strategic piece of land to hold. Take a look at the video below that inspired this article — thank you Sya!
Most people only know the things about Afghanistan that they hear on the news. Afghans are much more than decades of misery. Afghanistan is quite rich with culture and history and traditions.
➀ Afghanistan is known as the Graveyard of Empires because many of the world’s superpowers and largest empires have tried and failed to capture Afghanistan.
Although these places left a mark on Afghanistan, they couldn’t hold us down.
Thanks to Aimal Mehrabi — Straight outta Kabul — who made some interesting points over the superpowers who tried to invade:
- Alexander the Great circa 330 BC conquered Persia in 6 months and then spent nearly 3 years attempting to subdue Afghanistan. The losses incurred and the resistance faced were some of the contributors to the eventual fall of his empire following his death.
May God keep you away from the venom of the cobra, the teeth of the tiger, and the revenge of the Afghans.
— Alexander the Great
- The British had three Anglo-Afghan wars spanning the 19th and early 20th centuries. The end result of these struggles were heavy British losses as well as the end of British military influence in Afghanistan. #stillwinning
- The Soviet Union attempted to capture Afghanistan in it’s sphere of influence by spreading socialism there. While it initially gained traction, religious and tribal forces within Afghanistan resisted and this led to the Soviet-Afghan War. With help from the CIA and Arab/Muslim fighters from other regions, the “Mujahideen” succeeded in drawing the USSR into a protracted struggle that many believe led to the end of the Soviet Union. Interesting … the pebble that cracked the Soviet Empire.
- It can be argued that the United States conflict in Afghanistan which began in 2001 and continues to this day is another example of technological and military power being unable to subdue the tribal forces of Afghanistan. Also see number ➁ below.
Thus, Afghanistan has gained the moniker ‘Graveyard of Empires’ for causing superpowers to overestimate their odds of victory and overextend themselves in attempting to conquer it.
— Aimal Mehrabi
… And even though the Taliban have severely damaged our land, its people, and our good name — we’re still here. Remember that. Read more about it on the Foreign Affairs website.
➁ The war and residence of the US in Afghanistan, has cost them more than ONE TRILLION dollars $$$$$$
… and this is just an update as of this year. Who knows what the end result will be.
➂ Afghanistan is the most mentioned country in media outlets.
In the last decade — Afghanistan has been mentioned more in the news than any other country in the world.
As much as it is negative — it is also positive. Hence this article and the hundreds of others we’ve written.
➃ The untapped mineral deposits of Afghanistan can be worth up to THREE TRILLION.
Remember #2? This works in their favor. Majorly.
In an article in 2010 in The New York Times, James Risen writes that the United States officials believe in its significance:
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
➄ Experts say that civilization began in Afghanistan up to 50,000 years ago. Farming communities in that area seem to be the earliest in the world.
➅ Afghanistan’s archaeology sites are valued and compared to Egypt’s.
Some experts would even argue that Afghanistan’s are more valuable. I myself love googling the treasures of our land and reading up on its finds. The images are breath-taking and so astonishing.
➆ The first oil paintings are found in the Buddhist temples and caves of Bamiyan from the year 600.
Not in the Renaissance or by Leo Di Vinci.
➇ Bamiyan is the home of the most ancient and astounding statues — built in the year of 507 and 554.
These ancient sculptures are amongst the wonders of the world. Though as Sya mentions, sadly they were destroyed by the Taliban.
There is so much significance in Bamiyan dating back to the 3rd century and who knows, maybe even farther. I believe that the legendary 300-metre Buddha statue is beneath the surface of our land.
The chief archaeologist, professor Zemaryali Tarzi, has spent years searching there for a 300-meter-long sleeping Buddha described in the journal of Xuanzang, a Chinese pilgrim who traveled to central Afghanistan around 630 A.D.
I also believe that there is so many more undiscovered and unknown artifacts still buried in Afghanistan. One of my goals is to explore its land and partake in archaeology. Is it too late to join a team!? Reach Please.
➈ Afghanistan’s national sport is wild!
It’s called Buzkashi and in Persian it translates to literally mean “goat grabbing.” Though it’s also known as kokpar kupkari and ulak tartysh in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal.
➉ Afghanistan is multicultural and multiethnic.
Ethnically Afghanistan is very diverse. Being in the heart of the ancient silk road, Afghanistan is home to 14 different ethnicities and many more languages. Remember our article by fellow doost Madinah → BUT YOU DON’T LOOK AFGHAN? check. it. out.
Many don’t know that before the Islam religion took over — Buddhism was a strong force that found its home in Afghanistan. I believe that its influence is strong and will come back impacting our whole world even more so.
As a part of a television broadcast, world travelers Hal and Halla Linker toured the Afghan countryside in 1973, years before the Soviets invaded and the Taliban took control of the Buddhist site.