Vedat Cengiz (Kocaeli University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2939-2.ch016


Afghanistan region takes place at the meeting point of the empires and the civilizations. It has been victim of external interventions in every stage of its history. In Afhganistan, many different languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures are available. So, there are numerous ethnic groups. On the basis of the most of Afghanistan's political, social, economic, and cultural problems lie in many cases entwined ethnic and sectarian elements. Despite these problems, Afghanistan is a developing Asian country engaged significantly on agriculture for livelihood. The relations between Turkey and Afghanistan goes back to old times.
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Historical Background Of Afghanistan

Being regarded as “the heart of Asia”, Afghanistan shares a common border with Iran on the West, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on the North, China on Northeast, and Pakistan on the East and South. Afghanistan is situated on a region where many commercial parties and invading armies had occupied and therefore many ethnic groups have been mixed since the ancient times. The region takes place at the meeting point of the empires and the civilizations emerged from India, China and Iran. (Fevzi and Cankurt, 2013, p. 494). That the Silk Road crossed over these country made it particularly open to any effects. Like the many other rulers of Iran and the Middle Asia, Alexander the Great had also utilized this land as a resistance front and a bridge against the violations by India. Beginning from the 7th. century, the religion of Islam began to spread. Afhganistan acted as the carrier of the religion of Buddhism towards the East and Islam towards India. Being a bridge between the West and the South, Afghanistan still stands as a crossing country (Baral, 2013, p. 701; Germany Trade and Invest, 2013, p. 5).

Besides being the victim of external interventions in every stage of its history due to its strategic position, at the beginning of the 19th.century, Afhganistan became a country which the colonial powers increasingly tried to get the control. The country turned into a point where took place big struggles between the Great Britain, which held the entire Indian peninsula, and the Tsarist Russia, which neighboured Afghanistan today after destroying the Middle East khanates. The British Empire and Tsarist Russia tried many failed attempts to be dominant in the region and control the area. The British made three wars1 gainst Afghans yet failed in all and was disappointed (Baral, 2013, p. 701).

With both sides failing to reach absolute dominance in the region, Afghanistan was adopted as the buffer zone. However, because the exact line of the boundary of the region was not identified, a number of local uprisings were failed to prevent. Finally, by the “Durand” treaty signed on November 12, 1893, the southern borders of Afghanistan became official. This border which still remains today combined many different ethnic groups and social structures together (Burget, 2013, p. 62).

The British recognized the independence of Afghanistan in 1919, and from then until the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the country took a sigh of relief. The Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan on 25 December, 1979 in order to support a Marxist government in Kabul, however, was forced to leave the country on February,1989 by a strong and effective opposition planned by external forces including the United States and Pakistan. Afghanistan was critically damaged and disintegrated because of the war which lasted for many years (Germany Trade and Invest, 2013, p. 5).

That the Soviet troops had occupied Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989 caused the worsening of the country in both economic and the political sphere. Particularly, in the aftermath of 1989 when the Soviets had left the country, there emerged a situation in Afghanistan in which public disturbances were experienced, many groups appeared, there was no traditional harmony and the unifying elements of community were demolished. This happened as a result of political demands that emerged after the withdrawal of the Soviets leading to ethnic and sectarian conflicts and the absence of the power of the current political system to meet the demands (Yeğin, 2015, p. 37).

Especially after the occupation was ended in 1989, radical elements started to be effective and the country became the scene of power struggle. That the radical forces gradually gained strength and the civil war caused the country to be parsed by warlords and tribal leaders who used violence for the sake of material interests. Taliban which was created by the Pashtuns in 1996 seized the power (Sasaoglu, 2014, p. 1). The Taliban founded a religious state based on a pre-Islamic model. Implemented strict customs were observed to be rather Pashtun than Islamic laws at many points (Germany Trade and Invest, 2013, p. 5).

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