Women in Afghanistan are perhaps thought of as meek or downtrodden, hidden beneath their chadors and subjugated by men. These stereotypes ignore the fact that even though Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, Afghan women are making headway against gale force cultural winds. Examples of women’s courage … Continue reading Malalai of Maiwand
In 2006, the Swiss newspaper Die Weltwoche published a fascinating document that they had acquired in Afghanistan – a set of “rules” for the Taliban. Although it is a very loosely organized group, with many claiming membership who don’t necessarily report to the leadership council, this was an interesting development. The Taliban still refer to … Continue reading The Taliban Layeha
The military might of the British Empire was not easily challenged in the 19th century, and yet they were soundly defeated during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842). This is quite remarkable when you consider that Afghanistan at the time had no standing army, and no formal military industry to manufacture firearms. Part of the reason … Continue reading The Deadly Jezail
One of the earliest subjects depicted in art was war. This should be no surprise, as it is a human activity that provokes great emotions. From the stelae of ancient Egypt, to the tapestries of Medieval Europe and the war artists of the 20th century, military art is widespread through human history. In Afghanistan, one … Continue reading War Rugs
When Russia’s decade-long military intervention in Afghanistan ended in 1989, armoured columns withdrew over the “Friendship Bridge” into what is now Uzbekistan. Trailing the final column on foot was the Soviet Army in Afghanistan’s commander, Colonel-General Boris Gromov. “That’s it,” he said to a television crew filming the withdrawal, “Not one Soviet soldier is behind … Continue reading The “Russians” Left Behind
I recently wrote a short article for the website Military History Now, titled “Generation Taliban — 10 Surprising Facts About Afghanistan’s Tireless Insurgent Army.” After nearly two decades of fighting against the Taliban, I’m regularly surprised at how little the public actually knows about the organization.