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Getting Familiar with the Setting. Go to the following site and take the Middle East Map Challenge. Life in Kabul: Take a photo tour of Kabul 2009

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getting familiar with the setting
Getting Familiar with the Setting
  • Go to the following site and take the Middle East Map Challenge.
  • Life in Kabul: Take a photo tour of Kabul 2009

How would you describe Kabul? What does it look like – terrain? Weather? Geography? What are the cities like? What do the buildings look like?



Physical Terrain?



  • Physical Terrain?
  •  Weather?
  • Buildings?
the soviet invasion http www historylearningsite co uk russia invasion afghanistan htm
The Soviet Invasion

Afghanistan hit the world's headlines in 1979. Afghanistan seemed to perfectly summarize the Cold War. From the west's point of view, Berlin, Korea, Hungary and Cuba had shown the way communism wanted to proceed. Afghanistan was a continuation of this.

In Christmas 1979, Russian paratroopers landed in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The country was already in the grip of a civil war. The prime minister, Hazifullah Amin, tried to sweep aside Muslim tradition within the nation and he wanted a more western slant to Afghanistan. This outraged the majority of those in Afghanistan as a strong tradition of Muslim belief was common in the country.

1) Based on the opening paragraph, the reader can infer…

  • A. Communism had spread violently throughout many regions of the world.
  • B. Afghanistan has always been a popular topic throughout the world.
  • C. Communism was something the West embraced.

Thousands of Muslim leaders had been arrested and many more had fled the capital and gone to the mountains to escape Amin's police. Amin also lead a communist based government - a belief that rejects religion and this was another reason for such obvious discontent with his government.

  • Thousands of Afghanistan Muslims joined the Mujahdeen - a guerilla force on a holy mission for Allah. They wanted the overthrow of the Amin government. The Mujahdeen declared a jihad - a holy war - on the supporters of Amin. This was also extended to the Russians who were now in Afghanistan trying to maintain the power of the Amin government. The Russians claimed that they had been invited in by the Amin government and that they were not invading the country. They claimed that their task was to support a legitimate government and that the Mujahdeen were no more than terrorists.

2) What is the Mujahdeen?

3) What is jihad?

4) The Mujahdeen declared jihad against Amin for all of the following reasons except…

  • He was a Muslim.
  • He supported a communist based government.
  • He tried to sweep away Muslim tradition.
  • He wanted to embrace a more Western influence.

On December 27th, 1979, Amin was shot by the Russians, and he was replaced by Babrak Kamal. His position as head of the Afghan government depended entirely on the fact that he needed Russian military support to keep him in power. Many Afghan soldiers had deserted to the Mujahdeen and the Kamal government needed 85,000 Russian soldiers to keep him in power.

  • The Mujahdeen proved to be a formidable opponent. They were equipped with old rifles but had a knowledge of the mountains around Kabal and the weather conditions that would be encountered there. The Russians resorted to using napalm, poison gas and helicopter gun ships against the Mujahdeen - but they experienced exactly the same military scenario the Americans had done inVietnam.
  • 5) True or False: Kamal needed 85,000 Russian soldiers because Afghan soldiers left to join the Mujahdeen.
  • 6) Though the Mujahdeen fought with old rifles, what advantage did they have?

By 1982, the Mujahdeen controlled 75% of Afghanistan despite fighting the might of the world's second most powerful military power. Young conscript Russian soldiers were no match against men fueled by their religious belief. Though the Russian army had a reputation, the war in Afghanistan showed the world just how poor it was outside of military displays. Army boots lasted no more than 10 days before falling to bits in the harsh environment of the Afghanistan mountains. Many Russian soldiers deserted to the Mujahdeen. Russian tanks were of little use in the mountain passes. 

  • The United Nations had condemned the invasion as early as January 1980 but a Security Council motion calling for the withdrawal of Russian forces had been Russia.
  • 7) What was working against the young, Russian soldiers?
  • A. The harsh Afghani environment
  • B. The religious zeal of the Mujahdeen fighters
  • c. The lack of proper equipment
  • d. All of the above.

America put a ban on the export of grain to Russia, ended the SALT talks (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) taking place then and boycotted the Olympic Games due to be held in Moscow in 1980. Other than that, America did nothing. Why? They knew that Russia had got itself into their own Vietnam, and it also provided American Intelligence with an opportunity to acquire any new Russian military hardware that could be used in Afghanistan. Mujhadeen fighters were given access to American surface-to-air missiles - though not through direct sales by America.

  • 8) Besides ending SALT talks, boycotting the Olympics and refusing to export grain to Russia, why did the United Sates do very little to help the Mujahdeen? Choose all that apply.

A. Russia couldn’t win; this was their Vietnam War.

  • B. U.S. intelligence could sit back and gain information about the Russian military.
  • C. The Mujahdeen didn’t want any help from the West.
  • *Extension Activity: Watch Charlie Wilson’s War staring Tom Hanks. See Trailer

Mikhail Gorbachev took Russia out of the Afghanistan fiasco when he realized what many Russian leaders had been too scared to admit in public - that Russia could not win the war and the cost of maintaining such a vast force in Afghanistan was crippling Russia's already weak economy.

  • By the end of the 1980's, the Mujahdeen was at war with itself in Afghanistan with hard-line Taliban fighters taking a stronger grip over the whole nation and imposing very strict Muslim law on the Afghanistan population.
  • 9) True or False: Russian President Gorbachev took the Russian military out of Afghanistan because the war was too costly and impossible to win.
  • 10) By the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s who had gained control of Afghanistan?

A. Russia

B. The Mujahdeen

C. The Taliban

you tube links soviet invasion of afghanistan in 3 parts
You Tube LinksSoviet Invasion of Afghanistan in 3 Parts
  • Part I
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
about the author
About the Author
  • KhaledHosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught (1)Farsi and History at a large high school in Kabul. In 1976, the Afghan Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then Afghanistan had already witnessed a bloody communist (2)coup and the invasion of the Soviet army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted (3)political asylum in the United States. In September of 1980, Hosseini's family moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California-San Diego's School of Medicine, where he earned a Medical Degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Hosseini was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.
  • (1) Farsi-most widely spoken Persian Language
  • (2) coup- short for Coup d'état, am uprising and overthrow of
  • government
  • (3) political asylum- the policy that someone persecuted in his own

country for political or reiligious beliefs can seek safety in

another country

more about the author
More About the Author
  • While in medical practice, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, in March of 2001. In 2003, The Kite Runner, was published and has since become an international bestseller, published in 48 countries. In 2006 he was named a goodwill (4)envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.  Khaled has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The KhaledHosseini Foundation. The concept for The KhaledHosseini Foundation was inspired by a trip to Afghanistan Khaled made in 2007 with the UNHCR. He lives in northern California.
  • He is married to Roya and has two children (a boy and a girl, Haris and Farah). 
  • (4) envoy- a diplomatic agent, messenger or representitive
author review
Author Review
  • 1) The Hosseinis sought political asylum for which of the following?
  • A. Osama bin Laden was after them.
  • B. The Taliban was after his family.
  • C. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
  • D. The King of Afghanistan could not provide stability.
  • 2) Which of the following is not true about Khaled Hosseini?
  • A. He has a degree in Biology.
  • B. He has a medical degree.
  • C. His family gained political asylum in Paris, France
  • D. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • 3) After visiting the website, enumerate 5 facts about The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
  • A______________ B_______________ C_________________
  • D_____________ E______________

This book is dedicated to

Haris and Farah, both

the noor of my eyes,

and to the children

of Afghanistan.

4) What does noor mean? Hint you might want to ask Noor Mohammed

5) Who are Haris and Farah?