Afghanistan

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Afghanistan borders Iran to the west and Pakistan to the south, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, and China in its eastern part. Covering an area of about 652,000 square kilometers and with a population of 40 million, it is one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest in Asia. The capital is Kabul.

Ethnic, linguistic, and religious mosaic of great complexity and variety, Afghanistan has been a disputed territory in the past between many different foreign forces, and yet always difficult to conquer or control, given its vast, largely mountainous, and impassable terrain. During the 19th century, it was contended in a long series of wars by Britain and Czarist Russia, due to the strategic location in the heart of the Asian continent.

The country is currently ruled by a dictatorial regime of a theocratic nature, led by the Taliban, which returned to rule in August 2021. The country has experienced a long phase of conflict from 1979 to the present, from the time of the Soviet invasion, which was followed by ten years of the liberation war, then through the bloody period of civil conflict, between the different mujahideen factions, until the Taliban's first rise to power in 1995, when the Emirate of Afghanistan was proclaimed and the country became a safe haven for some jihadist terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, organized by Al-Qaeda itself, Afghanistan became the scene of a large multilateral military operation, led by the United States, aimed at targeting the terrorist network in the country and supporting the North Coalition in the liberation from the Taliban regime. Upon the defeat of the Taliban, a NATO-led international operation began, intended to help with the stabilization of the country while new state institutions were set up. At the end of the operation, after twenty years, and after the Western withdrawal from the country, the Taliban returned to power, restoring a dictatorial regime.

Pockets of anti-Taliban resistance remain in the country, and notably active and present is the local emanation of ISIS, ISIS - Khorasan, which acts in opposition to the ruling regime with terrorist and guerrilla actions.

To this day, Afghanistan continues to be a territory mostly hostage to violence and instability, suffering from a very severe economic crisis, with a large part of the population living in extreme poverty.

Even though the country is endowed with significant natural and mineral riches - which in some cases are difficult to exploit given the backward state of the infrastructure and, above all, the extremely inaccessible conditions of the terrain, - agriculture and pastoralism are among the main activities of the population, distributed in the various rural areas. However, opium cultivation, as in the past, has become once again one of the most widespread and profitable activities in the country, widely controlled by armed groups and the ruling regime.

Belonging to the majority Pashtun ethnic group, the Taliban have established a regime characterized by violence, obscurantism, and intolerance, besides being perpetrators of systematic persecution towards members of different minority ethnic groups and religious faiths in Afghanistan and political dissidents, as well as having curtailed women's rights and spaces of freedom.

At the moment, few countries in the world have diplomatic relations with the current ruling regime, which has not yet been recognized by many countries since its takeover.

The Afghan antifeminist totalitarianism

The rationale behind the Taliban’s repression of women. An analysis by Guido Bolaffi.

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Pakistan and the rise of the Taliban

For Islamabad, the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan can be seen as success, but it may hide risks. An analysis by Guido Bolaffi.

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India’s role in the Afghan jigsaw

Indian government has shown political and diplomatic flexibility, but there is no shortage of internal antagonisms.

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