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Fact Sheet on the Current Crisis

(This fact sheet was compiled from information gathered from numerous alternative news sources, including the Revolutionary Association of the
Women of Afghanistan. For more information go to www.rawa.org, www.globalfundforwomen.org, www.wluml.org, www.commondreams.org)

A Brief Chronology
Child of AfghanistanFebruary, 1989: The Soviet Union pulls its troops out of Afghanistan, ending its 10-year war against the Afghan people and the U.S. sponsored Mujaheddin. The Mujaheddin, a rebel force made up of some 35,000 radical fundamentalist Muslims from 43 Islamic countries, were founded, trained and funded to the tune of $8 billion by the U.S. government. A primary figure in the Mujaheddin, the young Saudi, Osama bin Laden, forged tactical & ideological links among radical Islamic movements the world over.

1989 - 1992: After "defeating the Soviets" in Afghanistan, the U.S. makes no attempt to rebuild the country now decimated politically and economically by the war. The country collapses into increased factionalism and civil war.

1992 - 1994: The Afghan government, now in the hands of the fundamentalist Mujaheddin, is dangerously unstable, experiencing ever-changing alliances, multiple presidents, and a number of coup attempts. Some 60,000 civilians are killed in just these two years. Osama bin Laden, disillusioned with the Mujaheddin, moves to support the Islamic revolution then underway in Sudan, continuing to build and expand his network of fundamentalist extremists.

October, 1994: The hard line Taliban militia emerges out of the Afghan chaos, introducing the most extreme form of Islamic fundamentalism.

September, 1996: The Taliban takes the Afghan capital of Kabul and quickly unleashes an unprecedented assault on women's rights -- this in a country where previously women had participated in most aspects of civil society, comprising 70% of all teachers and 40% of doctors. Osama bin Laden, back in Afghanistan since May, is living under the protection of the Taliban. Soon after the Taliban seizes power, bin Laden issues his first declaration of jihad against the U.S., training militants to bring about an Islamic revolution throughout the Arab world.

1997: The U.S.-based Feminist Majority Foundation launches its campaign to end United Nations and U.S. government support of the Taliban regime, citing egregious violations of the human rights of women.

May, 1997: Pakistan becomes the first country to recognize the Taliban. Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates soon follow. Bin Laden pulls in hundreds of trained fundamentalists to fight with the Taliban, which by now controls 90% of Afghanistan. Women's condition has so deteriorated that female suicides become commonplace.

August, 1998: U.S. launches 70 cruise missiles against supposed Afghan bases of Osama bin Laden in retaliation for attacks on U.S. Embassies in Kenya & Tanzania. The U.N. evacuates most of its people. Despite its anti-terrorist campaign against bin Laden, the U.S. Government continues its support of the Taliban.

1999: Bin Laden and the Taliban enlist to fight with the Pakistanis against Indian troops in Kashmir, increasing the influence of radical fundamentalists in Pakistani society.

May, 2001: Despite pleadings from women's rights organizations throughout the world, the U.S. sends $40 million to the Taliban, citing their cooperation in the "War On Drugs." By this time, Afghanistan is the most poverty-stricken country in the world.

September, 2001: Hijacked airplanes destroy New York's World Trade Center towers and attack the Pentagon.

October 7, 2001: The U.S. begins bombing Afghanistan. Millions flee in terror.


© Tanya Brannan, Purple Berets
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Copyright © 2001 Purple Berets

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