Framework of Analysis
After spreading widespread human deaths, wounding, maiming and country’s devastation in Afghanistan for over 17 years, the US government at long last appears to have accepted defeat of its military might in its war in Afghanistan at the hands of Afghanistan Taliban; and is trying to find a ‘face saving’ exit from that country. The first sign of that fact came when the US government ultimately accepted the years-old Afghanistan Taliban’s demand of direct talks with US’ government.
Subsequently when US’ old rival Russia also started to take a lead role in arranging Afghanistan Peace Process along with the regional countries, after initial reluctance US government also reflected a tacit acceptance of those efforts. Efforts for the Afghanistan Peace Process by US, Russia, Pakistan, China, Turkey, etc, have picked up pace in the last six months. Reports to that effect abound. However the noteworthy news, published on February 23, 2019 by Yeni Safak – a Turkish newspaper — is that US special envoy for that purpose Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad in Ankara (Turkey) met both with Turkey’s Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov to work out combined efforts for arranging Afghanistan Peace Process. Zalmay Khalilzad also mentioned that US is looking for a peace agreement “that will enable the US to reduce forces and withdraw.” (1).
For their part, Afghanistan Taliban have also reflected pragmatism by talking with not only the representatives of US, Russia, and other regional countries, but also the non-government senior Afghanistan politicians for arranging the Peace Process. The only remaining obstacles for finalisation of that Process are Afghanistan Taliban’s refusal to talk to the US-planted government in Kabul, their non-acceptance of the US-arranged Afghanistan constitution under which the current Kabul government was planted, and their refusal to accept a cease fire before finalisation of the peace agreement and commencement of US’/NATO’s military withdrawal from the country.
For the purpose of analysing this ‘remaining serious complication’ of the problem, and trying to discern the identifiable indicators for resolving the problem, certain related aspects have to be understood with clarity. Those aspects are: (a) psyche and behaviour pattern of Afghans; (b) an understanding of Afghanistan Taliban; (c) public pulse and evolving situation in Afghanistan; and (d) reading of the political dialectic of US and Afghanistan Taliban.
Psyche and Behaviour Pattern of Afghans
According to the report by the World Population Review (US) dated 30 September 2018 the estimated demographic composition of Afghanistan comprises of 42% Pashtun, 27% Tajik, 9% Hazara, 9% Uzbek, 4% Aimak, 3% Turkmen, 2% Baloch and 4% unspecified “other” group (2).
In this context it is worth clarifying right in the beginning that while studying the psyche and behaviour pattern of Afghans we have to focus more on the psyche and behaviour pattern of the ‘Pashtuns’ (also known as ‘Pukhtuns’ and ‘Pathans’) which is the dominant race in Afghanistan and have since centuries ruled the country with the only exception of a nine months rule of Kabul in 1929 by a Tajik Known as Bacha-i-Saqao. Besides that, in the history of last many centuries till now, the foreign invaders (Moghals, British, and Soviet Russia) were fought against and pushed out mainly by the Afghan Pashtuns.
The Afghanistan Taliban now fighting the US/NATO forces are also Pashtuns, though some non-Pashtuns have also reportedly joined their ranks. Understanding their psyche and behaviour pattern is therefore vitally crucial because any form of political settlement in Afghanistan is certainly impossible without their acceptance.
Published material on this subject abounds. There is not much information value of credence in the material published in many of the magazines of US, Europe, Russia, etc. However, the books written by those British and US officials/others who served or visited Afghanistan, as also by the Muslim authors of the same categories, are considered of use for studying this subject. But then, the observations on this matter made by the British and US’ authors, even of known historical and scholarly credence, differ a lot.
Those observations range from derogatory at one extreme, to highly praiseworthy at the other. Of course, both these extremes were not matching with the known realities during my PhD thesis research on Afghanistan in the University of Peshawar in the years 1993 – 1995.
I had to search for reality-matching books of credible authors on the subject – and I did find certain such books. Besides that I was also lucky to interview many persons with credible current knowledge on the subject. Those included knowledgeable persons of Afghan ruling elite (some then making their exit to foreign countries), Afghan bureaucrats, senior Afghan academics, Afghan Mujahedeen commander, senior officer of Soviet-trained Afghan Intelligence, and retired Pakistani officials who had served long tenures in Afghanistan, etc.
A detailed academic discussion on this subject, being too lengthy, is not required in the context of this paper. However those aspects of the psyche and behaviour pattern of Afghans, which are directly relevant to the current Afghanistan Taliban’s politico-military contest with the US/NATO occupational forces and US-planted Kabul government, are briefly highlighted in the succeeding paragraphs.
Out of the negative traits of Afghans, one is their reported greed or lure of money, due to which they may ‘switch’ their support to the pay-master. In this context, certain aspects have to be kept in mind. First, this negative trait is one of the human failings in certain or many people, but not in the entire nation – as is the case with the people of any other country in the world.
Second, the US government has been trying since the last 17 years to capitalize on this negative trait on the Afghan ‘power-wielders’ by paying hefty bribes in a bid to strengthen US’ ‘occupation tentacles’ in the country, as published in reports (3), but it has not, and cannot work for a political settlement in Afghanistan.
Third, such US’s bribe have never worked on the Afghan Taliban, because they belong to that majority of Afghans who cannot be purchased due to greed or lure of money.
The other reported negative behaviour pattern of Afghans is their divisibility on tribal lines or disunity at national level. This is true if the tribes and clans are left uncontrolled. In that context Professor Rasool Amin, the then Chairman of the Department of Social Sciences Kabul University (Afghanistan), mentioned in his interview that identity of Afghan people does not rest solely on the concept of nationhood. In fact, it is the other way round. Each individual prefers his own identity, then of the family, of the tribe, and finally of the nation. No individual tolerates the domination of another individual. Similarly, domination of another family, another tribe, and a foreign nation is not tolerated (4).
Professor Rasool Amin’s observation is correct (it matches with the ground reality). However, medieval and recent history has also proven that if these very Afghan tribes are controlled and led by a competent leader for a mutually acceptable cause then they factually unite to generate a formidable politico-military force – examples: (a) one of the Pashtun tribal head Ahmad Shah Abdali united the Afghans to overthrow the foreign Iranian overlordship (the cause) in 1747 AD, established the first Afghan government in Afghanistan and then expanded his empire in the territories of Iran, Central Asia and India; and (b) a Pashtun former Mujahedeen commander Mullah Umar united the tribes to form Afghanistan Taliban in 1994 to oust the Soviet-planted government and defeat the rogue warlords spreading tyranny in the country (the cause).
One of the much renowned scholar historian was Khawaja Naimatullah Herwi. He had served in the Afghan and Moghal courts. His most credible book on Afghans, “Tareekh-e-Khan Jahani wa Makhzan-e-Afghani” (5) was written in the year 1612 A.D., i.e., just after the fall of the ruling Lodhi (Pashtun) dynasty in India. In Part One of the book, Herwi’s efforts to bestow religious sanctity to Afghan lineage may be considered biased.
However, the remaining parts of his book are really authentic (matching with ground realities). Parts Two and Three of his book provide valuable details of the events, from which salient information about the psyche and behaviour pattern of Pashtuns/Afghans can be discerned, i.e.: (a) Enterprising nature of Afghans in quickly, shrewdly and even deceitfully exploiting any situation for politico- economic gains; and (b) Their capability of collectively generating politico-military strength, if led by a strong and competent leader.
An Understanding of the Afghan Taliban
As for the behaviour pattern of Afghanistan Taliban (the dominating majority of Afghanistan), without whose acceptance/inclusion no political settlement in Afghanistan is possible, following factors have to be kept in mind:
a. The term Taliban basically means students of Madresahs (religious/theological schools). These Madresahs relate to one of the Islamic School of Thought which is dominant in Afghanistan. Though the students and teachers belong to different Afghan tribes, yet the faith commonality of Taliban’s ideological Islamic teachings strongly binds them together, as also their respective tribes, as a formidable collective, disciplined and united force.
b. The other acknowledged factor which is the cause of strong unity of Afghan Taliban and their unflinching determination to fight at all cost against US/NATO forces and US-planted government is their (as also of any Afghan’s) deeply ingrained psyche of not tolerating any foreign occupation or foreign-planted government. Throughout the recorded history they have always fought ferociously, and continued fighting generation after generation, till the ouster of the foreign occupation and its planted government.
c. Many publication outlets usually portray Afghan Taliban as being rigid. However in fact they, like other Afghans, have also acted pragmatically when required – of course within the aforementioned bounds of their psyche and behaviour pattern.
In that context just to quote two examples: First, during the Taliban government in Afghanistan an Indian aircraft was hijacked on 24 December 1999, was made to land in Afghanistan and 155 persons in the aircraft were taken hostage. The Afghan Taliban government very skillfully managed a peaceful termination of that high jacking. On 01 January 2000 (the day of the peaceful termination of highjacking) The Washington Post published a report – some excerpts of that report: the report highlighted that though India being a predominantly Hindu country had adversarial relations with the Taliban and had not recognised their government in Afghanistan, yet Taliban government acted with diplomatic pragmatism and worked hard to help the Indian foreign minister Mr. Jaswant Singh to work out India’s compromise solution with the highjackers; after the termination of the highjacking, Taliban foreign minister Mr. Muttawakil and Indian foreign minister Mr. Jaswanth Singh spoke to press together; and “Singh expressed India’s “gratitude and indebtedness” to Muttawakil and the Taliban regime, especially “to his excellence personally,” for their “support and cooperation” in ending the crisis peacefully”; Erick de Mul, the chief U.N. representative in Afghanistan, who had been assisting during the crisis, also stated “The real credit goes to intelligence, to those who used their brains in the proper way and context, especially the Taliban”; Pamela Constable, The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan, also highlighted, “The role of the Taliban officials was crucial in persuading the hijackers to surrender” (6).
Second, the non-Pashtun and Tajik-led group called Afghanistan Northern Alliance was Soviet-supported and Iran-supported. It held the Soviet-backed government in Kabul, till it was ousted from Kabul by Afghanistan Taliban. Being pushed back further, it had its headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif, the northern city of Afghanistan. There, according to BBC report General Abdul Malik Pahlawan was widely believed to have been responsible for the brutal massacre of up to 3,000 Taliban prisoners after inviting them into Mazar-e-Sharif(7). When Afghan Taliban attacked and captured Mazar-e-Sharif, 11 Iranian diplomats and an Iranian correspondent were also reportedly killed. In retaliation, Iran deployed more than 70,000 troops on Afghanistan borders. However, Taliban held their calm and did not get provoked into a conflict, till the matter was resolved by UN mediation (8).
d. During the period of Taliban government in Afghanistan, there were oft-published reports of the harsh application of Islamic Sharia laws by Taliban in the country. However, what was generally missed out by many reporters was the fact that because of their strict administrative Islamic Sharia discipline, the Taliban government’s efforts succeeded in getting rid of the then widespread state of lawlessness, crime and tyranny wreaked on the people of Afghanistan by the warlords and renegade rogue Mujahedeen factions; thus providing the much needed relief to the Afghan masses. That is why Afghan masses fully supported Taliban’s efforts to expand their rule in the country, ousting the militarily much better equipped Soviet-backed forces of Afghanistan Northern Alliance led by Tajiks under whose governance those warlords and the renegade rogue Mujahedeen factions were operating unchecked. That fact has also been highlighted in Oxford Academic The British Journal of Criminology (UK), “The Taliban came to power because they were able to restore order to spaces terrorized by armed gangs and Mujahideen factions” (9).
Another major administrative feat of Afghanistan Taliban government was that with the strict application of Islamic Sharia laws and by providing economy-reviving means as an alternative to poppy-economy to Afghans, the Afghanistan Taliban government brought down the poppy cultivation in Afghanistan to less than 10,000 hectares by the year 2001 before the US invasion and occupation of the country. However, since then under the US occupation and later under the US-planted Kabul governments poppy cultivation rapidly started increasing again, as shown in UN’s UNODC Afghanistan Opium Survey 1994-2013 chart, published by BBC (10) dated 2 April 2014. That chart shows that opium cultivation in Afghanistan reached above 200,000 in 2013. And according to UN News dated 21 May 2018 by 2017 poppy cultivation in Afghanistan under US-planted government has reached a record high – an estimated 328,000 hectares in 2017 (11).
The aforementioned socio-economic devastation of Afghanistan by the US/NATO occupation, directly and under US-planted governments in the country, is a ground reality. Similar devastation was also inflicted on Afghanistan during the occupation of the country by the Soviet Union (USSR). Among many publications on this subject a well-researched paper titled ‘Impact of Soviet and US War on Afghan Society with special reference to Rural Life’ of 10 November 2012 by Dr. Imtiyaz Gul Khan of the Dept. of Education, Govt. of J&K, is noteworthy (12).
In that context, some of his research findings are worth taking a note of for understanding the ground realities in Afghanistan, which will help in discerning the projected possibilities relating to post-US’ withdrawal scenario. In his paper it is worth noting that, after discussing the socio-economic devastation wrought on Afghanistan by USSR, Dr. Imtiyaz Gul Khan also explains the successful manner in which the Afghanistan Taliban government revived Afghanistan’s economy after the withdrawal of USSR from the country. Those measures included resumption of inter-regional trade, concessions to businessmen for the promotion of trade, revival of agriculture and industry, increase in livestock, and encouragement to foreign investment in Afghanistan for unfinished and new projects, etc.
Incidentally the BBC’s aforementioned UNODC’s chart, showing opium cultivation in Afghanistan 1994-2013, also proves Dr. Imtiyaz Gul’s assertion that Afghanistan Taliban regime succeeded in reviving the USSR-devastated economy of their country. From that UNODC chart it is evident that the Afghanistan Taliban regime had succeeded in bringing down the opium cultivation in their country well below 10 thousand hectares by the year 2001 just before the overthrow of their government by US’ military occupation of the country.
Obviously that huge reduction of opium cultivation had become possible only because the Afghanistan Taliban regime, through their economic revival measures, provided better alternative economic means to Afghan masses for earning their livelihood. And then, the socio-economic devastation of Afghanistan started again because of US’ military occupation of the country; and poppy cultivation flourished again as evident from the UN recorded fact that opium cultivation jumped up again to about 328,000 hectares in 2017.
Public Pulse and Evolving Situation in Afghanistan
A careful reading of the public pulse and the evolving situation in Afghanistan is important to discern the probabilities relating to the arrangement of the Afghanistan Peace Process. In that context three aspects are specifically noteworthy, i.e. (a) human casualties of Afghans and devastation of their country due to this US’ war, (b) US’ imposed election system and mechanism, and (c) the current system and state of governance of Afghanistan Taliban in the districts controlled and influenced by them – an aspect which is increasing, albeit less reported.
According to a report by VOA of 8 November 2018, fatalities (deaths) in Afghanistan, as of October 2018, stood at about 147,000 people, including 6,334 American soldiers and contractors, and more than 1,100 allied troops (13). That meant deaths of about 140,000 Afghans including men, women and children – and, in most reports it is also mentioned that such figures are generally underestimations. That clearly means that the number of Afghans killed, wounded, maimed, and driven out of their homes must be in millions. Besides that, Afghans’ country stands vastly devastated under the military occupation of US/NATO and the US-planted governments. To add further to Afghans extreme misery is the fact that since 2018, according to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) document, reported in US’ military newspaper Stars And Stripes dated 24 February 2019, number of civilian casualties, as also children casualties, reached record height in 2018, “largely due to US airstrikes”(14). That immense human catastrophe is sure to have ingrained in the Afghan masses two strong urgings (a) extreme hatred for the US/NATO and US-planted governments, and (b) craving for the return of a government under which they may regain peace and stability in their country.
As for the US’ imposed election system and mechanism in Afghanistan, much has been published inside and outside Afghanistan that all of the repeated efforts to hold elections failed to inspire trust and confidence in Afghan masses. Extracts of just two reports of DW suffice to prove that point. Extracts of DW report dated 18 October 2018: “Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, every election there has been more fraudulent than the last. Experts say that’s a consequence of the nation’s shaky democratic foundations”. — “Allegations of fraud and irregularities marred the 2004 presidential elections and the 2005 parliamentary polls”. —“Expectations were dashed in the 2009 presidential vote, which was characterized by security issues, accusations of widespread ballot stuffing and other electoral fraud”. — “The decline in the quality of Afghan elections continued in the 2010 parliamentary polls, when many former warlords and strongmen secured seats in the legislature” (15).
And about the dissatisfaction of Afghan masses with the political process, another DW report dated 20 October highlighted, “Experts say that most Afghans have little faith in the political process, as the country’s politicians have not delivered much to the people in the past decades” (16). Even now the earlier scheduled presidential election in Afghanistan had to be delayed to April, and then further delayed to July this year. All these facts clearly prove that in Afghanistan – a country of tribal and ‘highly weaponised’ societal texture – any idea, of arranging peace in Afghanistan by forming a post-US/NATO withdrawal government through this electoral system and mechanism, is certainly futile.
Another very significant aspect which has gradually evolved in Afghanistan is that in the districts controlled or influenced by them the Afghanistan Taliban operate a system of governance of their own; either completely, or by co-opting the Kabul government’s officials in the district. Reports also indicate that their area of control or influence is also increasing, going beyond the previously reported 40% to 50%.
Out of those reports two are worthy of note from credible publication outlets. One is the latest research report, titled “One Land Two Rules (3)” dated 26 February 2019, from Afghanistan Analyst Network (AAN), which is an independent policy research and analysis organisation, registered in Germany and Afghanistan, funded in large part by Scandinavian countries, and has a core team based in Kabul, Afghanistan. It highlights: Dasht-e Archi, a district in the northeastern corner of Kunduz province is almost entirely controlled by the Taleban. They have established shadow sub-national governance structures in the district, co-opted government and non-governmental organisation (NGOs) services in the district. Taleban supervise basic service delivery, such as education and health in Dasht-e Archi (17).
The other is the report by Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which is a London (UK) based independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. Its report dated June 2018 is titled, “Life under the Taliban shadow government”. Some of the extracts of the Executive Summary which confirm the AAN’s report with more elaboration are: Based on first-hand interviews with more than 160 Taliban fighters and officials as well as civilians, this paper examines how the Taliban govern the lives of the tens of millions of Afghans living under their rule. Taliban governance is more coherent than ever before; high-level commissions govern sectors such as finance, health, education, justice and taxation, with clear chains of command and policies—-. Where the government and aid agencies provide public goods and services, the Taliban coopt and control them. Service delivery ministries have struck deals with local Taliban; most provincial or district-level government health or education officials interviewed said they were in direct contact with their Taliban counterparts, and some have even signed formal memoranda of understanding with the Taliban….. Taliban health focal points monitor clinics, checking whether staff show up for work, docking their pay when they do not and inspecting equipment and medicine stocks. They also put pressure on NGOs to expand healthcare access in rural areas and improve the quality of services. In government schools, they regulate the state curriculum, vet teachers and school staff, monitor teacher attendance and observe classes.
Justice provision has also become increasingly far-reaching. The reach of Taliban governance demonstrates that they do not have to formally occupy territory to control what happens within it. Governance does not come after the capture of territory, but precedes it. The Taliban’s influence on services and everyday life extends far beyond areas they can be said to control or contest. That the Taliban set the rules in vast swathes of the country is a reality with which few in the international community are willing to engage (18).
Reading of the Political Dialectic of US and Afghanistan Taliban
While US’ relentless efforts to find Afghanistan Taliban’s agreement for a peace settlement, as also Afghanistan Taliban’s positive response by continuing their dialogue with Zalmay Khalilzad continue, there are no clear announcements of any aspect of the agreement which either side has finally accepted. The only aspect which is clearly discernable by now is that both sides want to find a way to end the war. So, inference as to what aspect/aspects of a peace agreement may or may not ultimately be agreed upon can only be guesswork, albeit a ‘calculated’ one.
On the side of the Afghanistan Taliban, they are still sticking to (a) their refusal to talk to the US-planted government in Kabul, (b) their non-acceptance of the US-arranged Afghanistan constitution under which the current Kabul government was planted, and (c) their refusal to accept a cease fire before finalisation of the peace agreement and commencement of US’/NATO’s military withdrawal from the country.
Afghanistan Taliban’s firm determination, not to cease fire until their related demand is met, was demonstrated by them late on 28 February 2019 by assaulting the strategic military installation Camp Shorab in Helmand province, from where US military-assistance mission operates, killing dozens of Afghan troops (19). The significant point to note was that this deadly assault was launched during a scheduled two days break in the talks in Doha between US’ Zalmay Khalilzad and the delegation of Afghanistan Taliban, and yet it did not affect furtherance of those talks – an unmistakable sign of US’ inability to deny the ‘position of strength’ of Afghanistan Taliban.
On the part of the US-planted Kabul government, its President Ashraf Ghani continues to complain about his government being sidelined by US in the peace negotiation with Afghanistan Taliban, but at least so far of no avail.
Besides that, according to BBC News of 25 January 2019, President Ashraf Ghani has also complained about the high rate of death toll of Afghanistan Security Forces – 45,000 so far during his tenure (20). The plight of these US’ equipped and trained Afghan Security Forces has really worsened during the last few years, and is worsening further with the passage of time. A UPI report of 01 May 2018, quoting a US government watchdog mentioned that “Desertions and high casualty rates have sharply decreased the number of U.S.-funded Afghan security personnel over the past year ….. to just under 300,000” (21). Another report of The New York Times of 21 September 2018 had also corroborated that morale-lowering plight of the Afghan Security Forces by mentioning that the daily fatalities among Afghan soldiers and policemen were more than double that last week: roughly 57 a day; that the Afghan and American governments decided to keep battlefield death tolls secret; and, that by early 2017, the army was already losing 2.9 percent of its forces monthly to attrition — which includes losses from casualties, desertions and failure to re-enlist. That meant more than a third of its force had to be replaced with new recruits each year (22). That is a very important aspect to note.
It is, therefore, of high significance to note that the Afghan Security Forces and the US’ forces present in the country put together are not capable of stopping the clearly increasing sphere of Afghanistan Taliban’s control/influence in the country, as mentioned by the aforementioned AAN and ODI reports – an evolving situation which clearly indicates the fast decreasing possibility of retaining the US-planted Kabul government in place for long. That is a stark ground reality of which at least US’ President Donald Trump and his “on ground” envoy Zalmay Khalilzad cannot be expected to be oblivious.
However, the hawks in US’ ‘Establishment’ (Pentagon, CIA, etc.), still appear trying to somehow ‘drag’ US’ military tentacle in Afghanistan further. According to a report by The New York Times of 28 February 2019, “All American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan over the next three to five years under a new Pentagon plan being offered in peace negotiations that could lead to a government in Kabul that shares power with the Taliban”(23).
That Pentagon plan will obviously be out-rightly rejected by Afghanistan Taliban, because acceptance of such a long stay of foreign troops in the country and merely becoming a part of another US-imposed government will immediately break the bonds of unity of the rank and file of Afghanistan Taliban, as explained earlier in this article.
On their part, Afghanistan Taliban are likely to accept forming an inclusive government, including other Afghan factions, with the only exception of the members of the current US-planted government and their proxies. They can also cease fire completely once a formula including formation of such a government and an assured earlier withdrawal of foreign troops is agreed upon by US. Besides that Afghanistan Taliban have never had the aspiration of any attack/terrorist act against any country; and they are the only force which can root out any of the terrorist groups from Afghanistan.
Additionally, Afghanistan Taliban, in case of such an agreement, are also most likely to accept granting US economic projects in the country.
The fate of the much desired Afghanistan Peace Process however hangs in limbo between US’ President Donald Trumps’ efforts to get out of the clearly ‘loosing’ war costing heavily on US’ taxpayers’ money and US’ Establishment’s insistence to ‘linger on’.
(3). Published often in reports – one example ‘With Bags of Cash, CIA Seeks Influence in Afghanistan’ https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/world/asia/cia-delivers-cash-to-afghan-leaders-office.html
(4). Professor Rasool Amin’s interview dated 01 May 1994.
(5). Herwi, Khawaja Naimatullah. Tareekh-e-Khan Jahani wa Makhzan-e-Afghani. Urdu Science Board, Lahore. 1986. Second.
(9). The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 53, Issue 2, 1 March 2013, Pages 179–196, https://academic.oup.com/bjc/article/53/2/179/41621
(10).Afghanistan: Before and after the Taliban 2 April 2014 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26747712
(12). Impact of Soviet and US War on Afghan Society with special reference to Rural Life —– http://www.criterion-quality.com/impact-of-soviet-and-us-war-on-afghan-society-with-special-reference-to-rural-life/