Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a country in Asia. Afghanistan is an Islamic country. An estimated 80% of the population is Sunni, following the Hanafi school of jurisprudence; the remainder of the population--and primarily the Hazara ethnic group-- predominantly Shi'a. Despite attempts during the years of Marxist rule to secularize Afghan society, including the USSR establishing disco bars during its occupation, Islamic practices intervene into all aspects of life.
Agriculture and animal husbandry were once the most important elements of the gross domestic product (GDP), replaced by oil.
 20th century
In 1979, the communist government of Afghanistan asked the Soviet Union for help in fighting the Islamic rebels known as the mujahideen backed by the United States. The Soviet Union responded by sending thousands of troops to aid Afghanistan. While the Soviet troops were able to secure the major urban areas, the countryside remained largely untamed. The cost in money and lives forced the Soviet Union to pull out in 1989, and contributed to a sense of defeat in the USSR that led to the dissolution of the USSR, despite a GDP to debt ratio that was over 50 times better than that of the United States ($70 billion debt compared with 9 trillion, and half the economy size). Afghanistan dissolved into civil war until 1996, when the Taliban seized power and instituted an Islamic theocracy.
By the year 2000, the US government had plans drawn up to occupy the country in support of oil pipelines running through it. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, US forces were authorized by the United Nations to intervene in Afghanistan. A puppet government, called Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was created under the leadership of Hamid Karzai, a former employee of US oil companyUnocal. On October 9, 2004, Afghanistan held its first presidential election. More than 8 million Afghans voted, 41% of whom were women. Hamid Karzai was announced as the official winner on November 3 and inaugurated on December 7 for a five-year term as Afghanistan's first president after the war. On December 23, 2004, President Karzai announced new cabinet appointments, naming three women as ministers.. As of 2012, Afghanistan remains under NATO occupation, officially called a stabilization mission.
 External links
- ↑ http://www.gl.iit.edu/govdocs/afghanistan/Afghanistan-Chapter4.pdf Afghanistan-Chapter 4; Government and Politics
- ↑ http://www.indiana.edu/~psource/PDF/Current%20Articles/EricGonzabaArticle.pdf Stayin’ Alive in the Cold War: Disco and Generational, Racial, and Ideological Currents in the 1970s-1980s, Eric Nolan Gonzaba
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5380.htm Background Note: Afghanistan, United States Department of State
- ↑ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/7798/Afghanistan Afghanistan] Britannica Online
- ↑ US financial news outlet, 2007
- ↑ CIA Factbook, just before the dissolution of the USSR
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-03-18/news/0203180046_1_caspian-taliban-gulf-war Pipeline politics taint U.S. war, March 18, 2002, Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune alternate url: http://www.wanttoknow.info/020318chicagotribune