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Pakistan

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Afghanistan is a geographically and geopolitically strategic nation in central Asia. Six countries share its borders: Pakistan, China, Iran and three former Soviet Republics, now independent but heavily Russian-influenced Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. From Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul, the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, is only 235 miles away, via the famous Khyber Pass. The capital of Delhi, India is just 624 miles away, closer to Kabul, Afghanistan than Dallas, Texas is to New York City. Pakistan’s road network reaches from Islamabad, along the Indus River Valley, and connects with the ancient Silk Road. China is just a few hours away, bordering both Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Karakorum Mountain Range. Along many of these same roads however, Pakistan’s central government controls just the roadway itself, the areas to the right and left of the tarmac have never been controlled, they have and remain the domain of local Tribal governance. Afghanistan’s recent history has been one of terrible war and strife. In 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan to prop up the crumbling Soviet puppet-government. American President Carter reacted by boycotting the Soviets through the Olympics and US grain contracts, but President Reagan armed the Afghans to drive the Soviets out. The Soviet Union withdrew, its economy collapsing under the last straw of an expensive and brutal war. The Afghan warlords, seeing a central government power vacuum began a bloody civil war in 1989 vying for dominance. One faction, Islamofascists called the Taliban, by 1992 began asserting dominance with the help of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who’d been searching for a safe haven and base since being booted from his home country of Saudi Arabia and then from Sudan. Secure in his new home and envisioning the rebirth of the Islamic Caliphate from Spain to China, Bin Laden perceived America as the most serious military threat to his vision, and gave material and planning support to...

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