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AfGhAnIsTaN

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan is an important Muslim country of Central Asia. It has an area of about 700,000sq. kms. And an estimated population of 15,000,000. It is nearly 1200 kms. Love stretching from east to west, and about 800 kms., wide at its widest.

 In shape it bears resemblance to the right hand fist, the thumb stretching northeast to touch Sinkiang.   Northern part of the country, with the exception of the northeastern corner, is flat, rarely more that 600 meters above sea-level. This is the Bactrian plain, so famous in history. It was extremely fertile and productive, and was irrigated by a fine system of irrigation canals. Even now it is the home of the famous (Karakul) sheep and fine breeds of horses.

 Situated at the centre of world and on the famous Silk-route, Afghanistan was large enough to sustain a vigorous society, and rugged enough to offer major terrain obstacles to invaders. A natural barricade wedged between Iran, Siberian, Sinkiang, and the Indian sub-continent, Afghanistan has always been a pivot point and in the worlds of Dr. Iqbal , a throbbing heart of Asia. As keepers of the crossroads, the Afghans have battled and endless stream of invaders, who have funneled into their land though the high mountain passes.

The history of Afghanistan is determined to a large extent by its environment and its geographical position.  The north is cut off by a gigantic mountain- wall of the Hindu Kush, running trough the heart of the country from northeast to southwest, the formidable barrier is pierced to by a large number of passes. All these approaches to the Indus basin have played an important part in Afghan history. It was trough them that from time immemorial migratory hordes, peaceful trades and pilgrims, and conquering armies poured over the fertile plains below.

 Afghanistan is a land of violent contrasts, More than half of it is a high plateau traveled by lofty mountains, some over 6,000 meters high, show-capped for the greater part of the year, white the other half is mostly flat and sandy, The valleys surrounded by hills, are extremely beautiful and appear like green gems set in the lap of mountains. That is why the country is often compared with Switzerland is scenic beauty .Gushing streams, with clear bubbling waters, and cool moving branches of the weeping willows and huge poplar and plane trees add to their charms. On the other hand, the deserts are mostly desolate and dusty, where e the very wind is often suffocating and poisonous.

 Similarly Afghan seasons know no moderation: winter is cold, wet and muddy: summers are hot, dry and often dusty. Such is the case with night and day , shade and sunshine, when differences of temperature are sometime breath –taking .At midday the air may thrill with day heat, while at  sunset  is falls down swiftly with the soothing effect of water after thirst. The air is clear, cool and still, vistas expand, and one can advance unhindered to any horizon. The Hindu Kush, with snow-covered peaks, looms enormous, gleaming as the full moon.

 The temperament of the Afghans, their dress, and their outlook on life could be no exception to this general rule. Like climate of his country and the structure of the land, an Afghan veera between extreme and knows no happy medium. Either he is conservative, steeped in ignorance, bigotry and superstition, or he is extremely enlightened, highly cultured and nobly broad –minded. He may be a loving friend, or an implacable enemy. He will sacrifice his all, including his life, for the sake of his friend, or he may average his grievances though it may take him years to accomplish.

  Afghan’s geographical environment, too, has had a deep and lasting effect on his customs, characters, physique, and cloths and even on his way of thinking the mountainous nature of the country and the difficult terrain presents a very serious problem in the construction of roads. This lack of means of transportation and communication, until only recently, was the different tribes. Journeys were difficult and interchanged of ideas and customs rather impossible. It resulted in dividing the people into clans and tribes, each leading for the most part and isolated independent life, preserving its peculiar dialect, culture and customs.

 There are no authentic records of the aborigines who lived in Afghanistan before the advent of the Aryans. From historical evidence it is clear that Afghanistan, which at one time was the crossroad of Asia, has seen more invasions in the course of her checkered history than any other nation in the world. Each migratory horde left its mark on the inhabitants and shaped their character and affected their way of life. The Aryans, after making Afghanistan their home for centuries, where at last forced to migrate, One branch went to India , while others took to Iran and the distant western countries. Then came the Achaemenians, followed by the Greeks, Parthians , Scythians , Yuen- chis,, Ephithalites, Turks , Arabs and Mongols , to name a few of the many races which held possession of parts of the country from time to time and left their impressions upon it. Some of these races kept apart and retained most of their original characteristics, while others merged into the general population and lost most of the traces of their remote origin. The population even today is of missed origin, yet trough all their apparent diversity, there runs ad underlying unity. In spite of differences of language, race and sect, the fundamental principles of religion and Afghan cultural heritage hold their immemorial sway over the majority of the population

 The principal races and tribes that make up the 15,000,000 population of the country are the Afghans proper or the Pashtoons, the bulk of which are derived from Indo-European stock and constitute the great majority. Next in number are the Tajeks who, too, are of Aryan origin. The rest are the Mongoloid Hazaras, the Uzbeks, The Turkomans and the Kirgiz, Other small minorities include the fair-skinned Nuristanis of pure Aryan stock, the Beside Pashto and Persian (more properly Dari), a large number of dialects are also spoken in different parts of the country.

 According to a popular legend the Pashtoons and of Jewish origin and trough Qais descended from Saul, Saul of Israel. Traditions refer to Syria as the country of their residence at the time they were carried away into captivity by Nebukhadnezzar and planted as colonists in different parts of Persia and Media. From there they, at some subsequent period, emigrated eastward into the mountainous country of Ghor, where they a where called by the neighboring peoples “Bani Afghan” and “Bani Israel” the children of Israel .In corroboration  of this we have the testimony of the Prophet Esdras to the effect that the Ten Tribes of Israel, who were carried into captivity, subsequently escaped and found refuge in the country of Arsareth , which is supposed to be identical with the Hazara country of present day., of which Ghor is a part. At the time when Mohammad announced his mission, Khalid –bin- Waleed, a chief of the Quresh tribe, came to them with the tidings of the new faith and an invitation to join the Prophet’s standard, Khalid’s mission was successful and he returned to Medina accompanied by a deputation of the Afghans numbering to seventy-six persons. They fought so well and successfully in the cause of the Prophet, which Mohammad, on dismissing them to their homes, presented then on their bravery, and giving them his blessings foretold a glorious career for their nation. As a mark of special favor and distinction, the Prophet was pleased to change the Hebrew name of Qais, they leader, to the Arab one of Abdur Rashid.Qais. As story goes, married a daughter of Khalid, and by her  he had three sons – Saraban, Batan, and Ghur Ghasht , the Progenitors of Afghans.

 Indeed, the time is past for ever to call the Afghans of Semitic origin, for Pashto, their language, does not bear any resemblance to Hebrew or any other Aramaic language. At present all agree that Pashto belongs to the Indo-Germanic family of language.

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