The Great Game and Afghanistan

Posted by Andy Gavin on Tue, 2008-09-02 00:23

I've been reading about the Great Game, a name that was given to the rivalry between the Russian and the British, that begun in the 19th century. As Russia was expanded south and east its lands encroached on the Indian subcontinent which was under British influence. The country where the two empires met was Afghanistan, during this game a great deal of the borders were defined, often to favor the British interest of creating a buffer state between Indian territory and Russia. Much of this history has a an influence on what is happening in modern day Afghanistan. For example the Durand Line which dates back to a treaty between the British and Afghans in 1983: which was negotiated after two Afghan-British wars. This line now remains the disputed "tribal" border of Pakistan. This period is the pre-history of the present conflicts: Afghanistan was stable after this but moved between Russian and European/American influence. I've got to read more, but the trouble really began to increase in Afghanistan during Soviet rule. In 1978-79 they instigated radical reforms which included suppression of religion which quickly created a powerful resistance movement. They executed the ruling elite and which by some reports all but destroyed Afghan leadership, The mujaheddin came about as one of the opposition groups to the soviets. Covertly funded by the CIA.

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