Did you know that Afghanistan was a key battleground between Soviet and US forces during the Cold War?
NATO and Taliban forces may have claimed the lives of an estimated 16,000 – 19,000 Afghan civilians and injured several thousand more, but conflict was present in the country long before the current war.
THE AFGHAN COLD WAR 1979 – 1989
The Afghan cold war took place between December 1979 and February 1989.
Casualties are estimated at around 850,000 to 1.5 million dead, 1.2 million disabled and 3 million maimed.
Fact: During this war, the country has become so heavily mined that the Red Cross estimates it would take 4,300 years to remove all the landmines in the region.
The bombing also destroyed Afghanistan’s domestic water supply.
At least 50% of Afghan farmers had their land bombed, and 25% had their irrigation system destroyed and livestock shot in 1985, the worst year of the war.
THE AFGHAN CIVIL WAR 1989 – 1992
The Soviet Union withdrew from the region in 1989, leaving the Afghan government to deal with local rebellion groups backed by the West.
By 1992 the Afghan economy was in ruins. The Soviet Union withdrew its food aid and the country’s natural gas reserves also dried up.
A religious group called the Taliban started to make an appearance at this time, and eventually filled the power vacuum after several more years of conflict between local war lords and criminal gangs.
Fact: Did you know that because of years of conflict, at this point, Afghanistan had become a propitious place for illegal drug trade, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, which further drove the country into poverty?
THE NATO – TALIBAN WAR 2001 – PRESENT:
The NATO-Taliban war started on the 7th of October 2001 following the United States Invasion of Afghanistan for the purpose of removing the Taliban forces from power.
After 13 years of war, NATO formally ended its combat operations in December 2014, leaving the Afghan army and police in charge of the security of a country plagued by continued fighting, insurgency and a rising tide of both military and civilian casualties.
Fact: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that half of the Afghan population over the age of 15 has a mental health problem related to the war; attempted suicide is common especially among the female population; corporal punishment of children by parents and domestic violence against women are also widespread as a consequence of the war.
“There is a lot of concern for the rise in civilian casualties,” said Hadi Marifat, a Kabul-based analyst with the Centre for Civilians in Conflict. “The more territory the Taliban tries to occupy in the coming years, the more civilian casualties there will be because of military confrontations.”
Aryana Aid in Afghanistan
Since 2009, Aryana has been providing aid to the poor and needy in Afghanistan whose lives have been deeply affected by years of conflict. Because of scarce resources, precarious living conditions and life-threatening landmine conditions, we believe it is our duty to use our knowledge of the area and spread hope among those who need our help the most.
'My name is Mustafa and I am the son of Ghafoor; my mother died when I was three years old and my father died in the war.
'I am 15 years old now and I live at a home for orphans run by Aryana Aid in Kabul.
'Before this, I lived with my uncle and experienced a great deal of hardship and cruelty from him.
'I was a burden to my uncle after my father died, and he used different methods of torture to hurt me.
'I spent my days looking after his sheep in the fields. I did not go to school and I did not have any friends.
'I was treated like an unpaid servant'.
'I made a personal donation to a blind man when I visited a village in Afghanistan a few years ago', explains Syed, a computer scientist and a volunteer with the charity.
'When I returned to the village a few years later, I was approached by the same man who told me that he'd used my gift to pay for an operation to help restore his eyesight.
'It took me a while to remember who he was as I'd forgotten about my first visit to the village and also about my donation, but I was touched by the obvious difference a small act of kindness had made to his life.
'I was also taken back by the love and affection he and his family showed me.
'This experience was an important turning point for me.
'I started volunteering with Aryana Aid because I wanted to work with like-minded people who were keen to create more stories like this'.
We are pleased to submit our last year Annual Report, which shows the amazing achievements we have made with your donations, we hope this assures our donors about the commitment we always make to the programs on the ground. Review the report by clicking the image, Thank you!
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