Bomb Afganistan Back to the Stone Age?


Jun 5, 2000
This is making the rounds on the net, so apologies to those who have seen it before. It makes a point that sometimes gets lost in our calls for indiscriminant vengeance:

Simply passing it on . . .


This was written by Tamim Ansary, a writer & columnist in San Francisco,
who comes from Afghanistan:

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the
Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this
would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with
this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage.
What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing
whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought
about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from
Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never
lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will
listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no
doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in
New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the
government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant
psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political
criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you
think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of
Afghanistan", think "the Jews in the concentration camps."

It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this
atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would
exalt if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out
the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. Some
say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The
answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000
disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food.
There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these
widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines; the
farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons
why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone
Age.. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it
already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level
their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut
them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did
all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would
they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan,
only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd
slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled
orphans, they don't move too fast--they don't even have wheelchairs.
But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike
against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually, it would
only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the
people they've been raping all this time.

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with
true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in
there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do
what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to
kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms
about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand.
What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because
some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin
Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to get any
troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let
us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will
other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're
flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what:
that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why
he did this.

Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really
believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he
figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a
billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's
a billion people with nothing left to lose, and that's even better from
Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the West
would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years
and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for
that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

Tamim Ansary


Mod Ban
Dec 10, 2000
Wow. I'm nearly speechless after reading this extremely well thought out statement of the conditions over there, and I think the author has a keen insight into the minds of the Taliban and Bin Laden. Is it true? If so, our road to victory is much more dificult than I imagined. Thank you for posting that, BRush. It gives much food for thought.


Apr 1, 2001
I heard on the radio today that another thing that is hurting the Afghani people is that they stopped growing poppies (for Heroin) at the request of the U.S. government, and now have no means of raising capital. Is this a true statement?


Oct 7, 1999
Okay, "Tamim" is right. We can't attack Afghanistan without hurting innocent Afghanistan's, unless we go in by the ground. And we shouldn't go in by ground, because the rest of the Arab world would be mad.

HOW STUPID AND/OR GULLIBLE ARE SOME OF YOU?? Did you ever think of the alternative. "Okay, you're right. Take shots at our country. Kill us all. Blow us all up. Destroy our way of life. Our infrastructure. And know that some of us are fearful enough that we can do nothing in return." Did you ever think of how self-serving that article is? "Don't attack half-assed, you'll lose. Don't attack full fledged, you'll lose."

Luckily, some -- indeed, most -- Americans still have the brains to see through those chest-thumping, don't shoot the messenger, attempts at saving the asses of the killers. And still, yes, have the belly for war. YES, WAR, you little wussies!

I don't say this lightly, or for bravado, for I've much to fear, and little to gain. I say it because only our strength, and resolve, have saved the world from several would-be dictators, and much death. This is just the latest.

Luckily, many of us will understand that sacrifice -- yes, that means BLOOD -- will save the world for freedom, and spare much blood later.

Come on, folks. THINK
Last edited by a moderator:


May 29, 2001
Longtime. - Before I say anything else, please let me say that what happened was indescribable in its impact on all of us, and the pigs that are behind it must pay with their miserable lives.
Don't let your emotions cloud your clear thinking though. These animals have surely already predicted the exact response you have in mind.
I pray GW and his inner circle act wisely and decicively and we don't end up with a never ending **** fight on our hands.


***** freak.
May 5, 2000
Usucka Ben Dover may have perverted delusions of a ' Islam vs. the west ' war, but it's clear that the overwhelming majority of Muslims have no desire to be destroyed by U.S. .


Sep 9, 2001
The original post will make you sit back and think... think about the miserable state that Afghanistan is in... think about the women that are being abused every day... think about the children with nothing to eat, no schools or hospitals to go to... The Taliban has overtaken a country in the name of evil and has squandered all the people's rights and then teach them to hate the U.S. for it...

I say, bin Laden aside, we should go in and remove the Taliban just on these principals alone. This guy, Tamim Ansary has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that we should wage war with the Taliban. Think about how many more people will suffer at the hands of the Taliban if we don't do something about it now. OK some civilians will die but civilians are dyeing right now, theirs and ours.

If we do nothing now it will only get worse and eventually they will want to rule the world with their ways, so we can fight this WAR now or we can let our children, gran, great-grans and so forth deal with the mess when it's too late. I wonder what kind of world this would be if our great-grandfathers and grandfathers didn't have 'the belly' to fight for what they believe in... Freedom shouldn't be an American thing - it should ring throughout the WORLD!!!

God bless .. Earth!!!


Ready to bang some trees!
Jan 4, 2000
Those innocent civilians sure were celebrating on the streets after the attack.


Sponsoring Member<BR>Club Moderator
Damn Yankees
Oct 13, 1999
Off - I believe those were Palestineans that were celebrating.


Jan 17, 2001
I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that everyone in the WTC, Pentagon, and in the planes was innocent. I feel for the innocent children of Afghanistan, but I also feel for the children who were in the day care centers, the people in the WTC, and the hijacked planes. With all this sappy Afghanistan sympathy, don't forget all the people who were going to work and doing their jobs here in our country that day.

The people are responsible for their own government. If the Taliban is that govt. then the people of Afghanistan are responsible for their actions. If the people in that country don't like what they have done, then they should overthrow the govt. Now, in the past week has anyone heard any talk about the people of Afghanistan trying to overthrow the govt.?? I haven't.

If everything in the above post is true, the people there should be revolting. I don't want to hear that they are too repressed or that they can't defend themselves because I don't believe that is true. I seem to remember a small bunch of renegades that were outnumbered, untrained; ill equipped, underfed, and had nearly no infrastructure to speak of. They fought off the most powerful, well-equipped, well trained, country in the world. That's how OUR country got started. Remember??

We need to rid the world of the terrorist threat that comes from the Taliban and other regimes. I don't want to see American soldiers die, but I also don't want to live in fear of the next attack, because if we don't do something it will be worse. If we do something, at least we will be slowing them down and minimizing their destructive actions.



May 17, 2000
Osama Bin Laden Hates Americans.

There is no changing his mind, you cannot reason with him, he hates Americans.

He will continue to kill Americans, military and civilian as long as he lives.

As terrible as war is, we have no choice.

The Taliban must fall at any cost.


Jan 17, 2001
Originally posted by Mac
Osama Bin Laden Hates Americans.

There is no changing his mind, you cannot reason with him, he hates Americans.

He will continue to kill Americans, military and civilian as long as he lives.



Mod Ban
Dec 10, 2000
After thinking about this statement, here are my thoughts on it:

1."There is no doubt in my mind that these people (Osam and the Taliban) are responsible for the atrocity in New York."- Precisely why we must retaliate with extreme force.
2."But the Taliban are not Afghanistan."- We, as the United States, do not intend to indiscriminately bomb everyone and everything, that would make us no better thean the terrorrists that we seek to destroy. Our military will try to minimize collateral damages, but some innocent lives will inevitably be lost. It is unavoidable in any armed conflict.
3."Some say, why don't the Afghans overthrow the Taliban? The answer is because they are starved, exhausted, hurt...."- There are several million Afghans, and a few thousand Taliban thugs running the country at best. They could take the Taliban out if they wanted to badly enough. We fought for and gained our independence from a vastly superior English army, with only several thousand poorly armed farmers.
4."We come now to the question of bombing Afghan back to the stone age. Trouble is, that's been done. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs." History shows that the US has always gone to extreme expense to rebuild war-torn countries after the war has ended, even if we were not the ones that caused the destruction, such as our rebuilding of Europe after both world wars. Obviously, we would have nothing to gain by bombing rubble anyway.
5."The only way to get to Bin Laden is to go in with ground troops."- I am sure this will be neccessary, and although it will probably mean American lives will be lost as well as Afghan lives, our only other choice is to do nothing. This is not an option that I think any American is going to accept, and it would probably be the worst decision we could make. If we did nothing, we may as well hang up a sign inviting every terrorist wannabe in the world to attack us with impunity, because we won't retaliate.
6."The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first."- Then so be it. I am sure they are not completely innocent when it comes to aiding and supporting terrorists, they have certainly caused plenty of problems for India.
7."He truly believes that Islam could beat the west." This is ridiculous. The vast majority of Muslims in the world do not support terrorism, nor do they believe what Bin Laden did to the U.S. was justifiable in any way.


Freedom Ain't Free
Jul 3, 1999
Okay, I have been silent on this issue for reasons to overwhelming to list but I think all those who are looking for a Iraq type bombing / War are going to be very disappointed.

Make no mistake about it, terrorism has some new players on the field & they are known as the United States Navy SEALS, Army Special Forces & other elite forces we don't even know about. Everybody is talking `bout Osam and the Taliban, these are just a few of the next victims of terrorism , there are going to be many more of these a**holes wiped from the face of this planet and the sad part is, me & you will probably never see it, hear about it or know about it.

Osam and the Taliban are looking for holy war, they better start looking for a hole to hide in cause ain't nobody gonna show up to fight for them or their little agenda when they just quit answering the phone. These guys are dead, they just don't know it yet and the really cool thing about it is that I don' think we will have all this collateral damage. No, these a**holes are over all by themselves, no fan fare, no martyrdom, no nothing except a quite little party hosted by the US Armed Forces special "wet" units.

What most people don't understand is that we invented gorilla warfare during the American revolution, we are just going back to use some old tactics we haven't need to use in some time, oh well - Yippy Kia Yea *#@


Oct 7, 1999
Side note: I have a feeling Pakistan won't need not be defeated, nor even attacked. I think they will see this as an opportunistic time to fix what they've helped do wrong with the Taliban.

As to emotions getting in the way. Nope. You probably didn't notice, but I didn't post anything on a suggested response for several days. I wanted rationality to enter my decision making process. That rational process, yes, sprinkled with some emotion, has led me to believe that much destruction must ensue -- for the best outcome for the long term.


Aug 25, 2000
I am no expert in international politics, nor am I capable of offering a solution to this dilema, but here is my concern.

We are dealing with extremists, I think we can all agree on this. The problem is that by "bombing them back to the stone age", do we really get to those who are responsible? Maybe some. And then what? These actions were driven by an extreme hatred of the US (and consequentally all allies). Will they love us now if we slaughter more innocents? (as was done in the WTC and Penagon). I fear that this will only add fuel to the fire, turning those "on the fence" or presently against terrorism to act further against us. You end up with "kill one, create two more".

IMO, this is a much more complicated issue than some would lead us to beleive, and great are should be taken in considering the response. Remember, you cannot bandaid the probelm, you must address the root cause, otherwise, the probem will just resurface.


Sep 9, 2001
Usuka big Nutsa has been hiding out in Afghanistan for quite some time now - No offense meant to these groups of specialized military forces but why haven't they been able to nab this ******* since he started this mess with the bombings in Tanania and Yemen? I'm not quoting anything here but I saw on the news where they were saying Clinton had signed a 'secret' document back in 1998 to hunt his a$$.. Don't take these comments wrong I am very proud of our Special Forces units they have and can do many things (I hope this is one of them)...

Longtime I hope your right about Pakistan - There are many followers of the Taliban that live in Pakistan and those followers may try terrorism acts on our military... Many of them have already vowed to follow through on a holy war if the Taliban declares it, not that a holy war is something to be scared of but I think we need to watch our backs very carefully when it comes to this country...


Sep 9, 2001
Will they love us now if we slaughter more innocents?

Eddie Murphy (as BuckWheat) once said in a song "I been wookin pah nub in all da wong paces"... We aren't looking to be loved by anyone - our presence in that country to begin with was for their protection and now they hate us - our future presence in that country will be for the good of the world including theirs - they will hate us either way. The object here is to remove terrorists camps, hunt down and eliminate terrorist supporters and continue to use intelligence to thwart terrorist group growth in the future. Hopefully the loss of innocent people will be minimized but there will be casualties on both sides. Some people in Japan still hate us but for the most part everyone's life is a lot better today.


Oct 7, 1999
Originally posted by JeffK
Usuka big Nutsa . . .

Originally posted by Jeffk
"I been wookin pah nub in all da wong paces"...

Okay, I just had my first laughs since this thing. Keep this up, Jeff, and you may eventually have to go mano a mano with the big Zio. :)

p.s. Poor Pakistan -- their President was basically begging his people not to revolt today. God help him win their support. . . .


Aug 5, 2001
You want to know about Afghanistan?
This is long but will give most ever Afghanistan



[Top of Page]

Background: Afghanistan was invaded and occupied by the Soviet Union in 1979. The USSR was forced to withdraw 10 years later by anti-communist mujahidin forces supplied and trained by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others. Fighting subsequently continued among the various mujahidin factions, but the fundamentalist Islamic Taliban movement has been able to seize most of the country. In addition to the continuing civil strife, the country suffers from enormous poverty, a crumbling infrastructure, and widespread live mines.


[Top of Page]

Location: Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran

Geographic coordinates: 33 00 N, 65 00 E

Map references: Asia

total: 652,000 sq km
land: 652,000 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 5,529 km
border countries: China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2,430 km, Tajikistan 1,206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Nowshak 7,485 m

Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 46%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 39% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 30,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: damaging earthquakes occur in Hindu Kush mountains; flooding

Environment - current issues: soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: landlocked


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Population: 25,838,797 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.37% (male 5,598,403; female 5,371,054)
15-64 years: 54.86% (male 7,362,961; female 6,839,914)
65 years and over: 2.77% (male 378,741; female 337,724) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.54% (2000 est.)
note: this rate reflects the continued return of refugees from Iran

Birth rate: 41.82 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 18.01 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 11.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.12 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 149.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 45.88 years
male: 46.62 years
female: 45.1 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.87 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan

Ethnic groups: Pashtun 38%, Tajik 25%, Uzbek 6%, Hazara 19%, minor ethnic groups (Aimaks, Turkmen, Baloch, and others)

Religions: Sunni Muslim 84%, Shi'a Muslim 15%, other 1%

Languages: Pashtu 35%, Afghan Persian (Dari) 50%, Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) 11%, 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) 4%, much bilingualism

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 31.5%
male: 47.2%
female: 15% (1999 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Islamic State of Afghanistan; note - the self-proclaimed Taliban government refers to the country as Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan
local short form: Afghanestan
former: Republic of Afghanistan

Data code: AF

Government type: no functioning central government, administered by factions

Capital: Kabul

Administrative divisions: 30 provinces (velayat, singular - velayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamian, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabol, Kandahar, Kapisa, Konar, Kondoz, Laghman, Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Parvan, Samangan, Sar-e Pol, Takhar, Vardak, Zabol
note: there may be two new provinces of Nurestan (Nuristan) and Khowst

Independence: 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)

National holiday: Victory of the Muslim Nation, 28 April; Remembrance Day for Martyrs and Disabled, 4 May; Independence Day, 19 August

Constitution: none

Legal system: a new legal system has not been adopted but all factions tacitly agree they will follow Shari'a (Islamic law)

Suffrage: NA; previously males 15-50 years of age

Executive branch: on 27 September 1996, the ruling members of the Afghan Government were displaced by members of the Islamic Taliban movement; the Islamic State of Afghanistan has no functioning government at this time, and the country remains divided among fighting factions
note: the Taliban have declared themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan; however, the UN still recognizes the government of Burhanuddin RABBANI; the Organization of the Islamic Conference has left the Afghan seat vacant until the question of legitimacy can be resolved through negotiations among the warring factions; the country is essentially divided along ethnic lines; the Taliban controls the capital of Kabul and approximately two-thirds of the country including the predominately ethnic Pashtun areas in southern Afghanistan; opposing factions have their stronghold in the ethnically diverse north

Legislative branch: non-functioning as of June 1993

Judicial branch: non-functioning as of March 1995, although there are local Shari'a (Islamic law) courts throughout the country

Political parties and leaders: Harakat-i-Islami (Islamic Movement) [Mohammed Asif MOHSENI]; Harakat-Inqilab-i-Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Movement) [Mohammad Nabi MOHAMMADI]; Hizbi Islami-Gulbuddin (Islamic Party) [Gulbuddin HIKMATYAR faction]; Hizbi Islami-Khalis (Islamic Party) [Yunis KHALIS faction]; Hizbi Wahdat-Akbari faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Mohammad Akbar AKBARI]; Ittihad-i-Islami Barai Azadi Afghanistan (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan) [Abdul Rasul SAYYAF]; Jabha-i-Najat-i-Milli Afghanistan (Afghanistan National Liberation Front) [Sibghatullah MOJADDEDI]; Mahaz-i-Milli-Islami (National Islamic Front) [Sayed Ahamad GAILANI]; Taliban (Religious Students Movement) [Mohammad OMAR]; United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan comprised of Jumbesh-i-Melli Islami (National Islamic Movement) [Abdul Rashid DOSTAM]; Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Society) [Burhanuddin RABBANI and Ahmad Shah MASOOD]; and Hizbi Wahdat-Khalili faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Abdul Karim KHALILI]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Australia, US, and elsewhere have organized politically; Mellat (Social Democratic Party) [leader NA]; Peshawar, Pakistan-based groups such as the Coordination Council for National Unity and Understanding in Afghanistan or CUNUA [Ishaq GAILANI]; tribal elders represent traditional Pashtun leadership; Writers Union of Free Afghanistan or WUFA [A. Rasul AMIN]

International organization participation: AsDB, CP, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
note: embassy operations suspended 21 August 1997
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-3770
FAX: [1] (202) 328-3516
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US embassy in Kabul has been closed since January 1989 due to security concerns

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a gold emblem centered on the three bands; the emblem features a temple-like structure with Islamic inscriptions above and below, encircled by a wreath on the left and right and by a bolder Islamic inscription above, all of which are encircled by two crossed scimitars
note: the Taliban uses a plain white flag


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Economy - overview: Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country, highly dependent on farming and livestock raising (sheep and goats). Economic considerations have played second fiddle to political and military upheavals during two decades of war, including the nearly 10-year Soviet military occupation (which ended 15 February 1989). During that conflict one-third of the population fled the country, with Pakistan and Iran sheltering a combined peak of more than 6 million refugees. In early 1999, 1.2 million Afghan refugees remained in Pakistan and about 1.4 million in Iran. Gross domestic product has fallen substantially over the past 20 years because of the loss of labor and capital and the disruption of trade and transport. The majority of the population continues to suffer from insufficient food, clothing, housing, and medical care. Inflation remains a serious problem throughout the country. International aid can deal with only a fraction of the humanitarian problem, let alone promote economic development. The economic situation did not improve in 1998-99, as internal civil strife continued, hampering both domestic economic policies and international aid efforts. Numerical data are likely to be either unavailable or unreliable. Afghanistan was by far the largest producer of opium poppies in 1999, and narcotics trafficking is a major source of revenue.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $21 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $800 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 53%
industry: 28.5%
services: 18.5% (1990)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Labor force: 8 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 68%, industry 16%, services 16% (1980 est.)

Unemployment rate: 8% (1995 est.)

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, and cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, oil, coal, copper

Electricity - production: 430 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 41.86%
hydro: 58.14%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 510 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 110 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: opium poppies, wheat, fruits, nuts, karakul pelts; wool, mutton

Exports: $80 million (does not include opium) (1996 est.)

Exports - commodities: opium, fruits and nuts, handwoven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems

Exports - partners: FSU, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, India, UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic

Imports: $150 million (1996 est.)

Imports - commodities: capital goods, food and petroleum products; most consumer goods

Imports - partners: FSU, Pakistan, Iran, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea, Germany

Debt - external: $5.5 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: US provided about $70 million in humanitarian assistance in 1997; US continues to contribute to multilateral assistance through the UN programs of food aid, immunization, land mine removal, and a wide range of aid to refugees and displaced persons

Currency: 1 afghani (AF) = 100 puls

Exchange rates: afghanis (Af) per US$1 - 4,700 (January 2000), 4,750 (February 1999), 17,000 (December 1996), 7,000 (January 1995), 1,900 (January 1994), 1,019 (March 1993), 850 (1991); note - these rates reflect the free market exchange rates rather than the official exchange rate, which was fixed at 50.600 afghanis to the dollar until 1996, when it rose to 2,262.65 per dollar, and finally became fixed again at 3,000.00 per dollar in April 1996

Fiscal year: 21 March - 20 March


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Telephones - main lines in use: 31,200 (1983); note - there were 21,000 main lines in use in Kabul in 1998

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system:
domestic: very limited telephone and telegraph service; in 1997, telecommunications links were established between Mazar-e Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad, and Kabul through satellite and microwave systems
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) linked only to Iran and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); commercial satellite telephone center in Ghazni

Radio broadcast stations: AM 7 (6 are inactive; the active station is in Kabul), FM 1, shortwave 1 (broadcasts in Pushtu, Dari, Urdu, and English) (1999)

Radios: 167,000 (1999)

Television broadcast stations: at least 10 (one government run central television station in Kabul and regional stations in nine of the 30 provinces; the regional stations operate on a reduced schedule; also, in 1997, there was a station in Mazar-e Sharif reaching four northern Afghanistan provinces) (1998)

Televisions: 100,000 (1999)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA


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total: 24.6 km
broad gauge: 9.6 km 1.524-m gauge from Gushgy (Turkmenistan) to Towraghondi; 15 km 1.524-m gauge from Termiz (Uzbekistan) to Kheyrabad transshipment point on south bank of Amu Darya

total: 21,000 km
paved: 2,793 km
unpaved: 18,207 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 1,200 km; chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to about 500 DWT

Pipelines: petroleum products - Uzbekistan to Bagram and Turkmenistan to Shindand; natural gas 180 km

Ports and harbors: Kheyrabad, Shir Khan

Airports: 46 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 32
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 11 (1999 est.)

Heliports: 3 (1999 est.)


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Military branches: NA; note - the military does not exist on a national basis; some elements of the former Army, Air and Air Defense Forces, National Guard, Border Guard Forces, National Police Force (Sarandoi), and tribal militias still exist but are factionalized among the various groups

Military manpower - military age: 22 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 6,401,980 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 3,432,236 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 244,958 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes - international: support to Islamic militants worldwide by some factions; question over which group should hold Afghanistan's seat at the UN

Illicit drugs: world's largest illicit opium producer, surpassing Burma (potential production in 1999 - 1,670 metric tons; cultivation in 1999 - 51,500 hectares, a 23% increase over 1998); a major source of hashish; increasing number of heroin-processing laboratories being set up in the country; major political factions in the country profit from drug trade



Mod Ban
Dec 10, 2000
One thing that seems to be getting glossed over in this whole mess is the fact that Afghanistan is only one cog in the machinery of terrorrism. There are estimated to be terrorrist orginizations in as many as 60 countries around the world, our own included. If we are truly going to fight this war to the end, we have a very long road ahead of us.


Sep 9, 2001
Thank you IBWFO that was very, VERY informative. I look on Afghanistan with new light now - at least I have some indication as to what we're up against if we go to war with them over the whole bin Laden thing.

Spanky - I agree - this war on terrorism has many fronts and will be a very long and drawn out one.. Weeding out these terrorists will be as hard as fighting the War on Drugs.. all but impossible.


May 29, 2001
The Russians couldn't beat them and I understand they tried pretty hard.

This is a very difficult time and something obviously has to be done militarily. What that action is will surely prove to be one of (if not) the most difficult/crucial/ decisions made by an American President and his people and your Allies in the history of your Great Nation.


Aug 6, 2000
What are we going to bomb?-Dirt?They have no assets of value to bomb.
I agree we need to take action against those *******s,but what do you
bomb?Why would you waste a multi-million dollar missle to bomb a one hundred dollar target.Send in our top sniper units and just keep knocking off
those responsible.Hole's in sand and dirt is not going to cut it.

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