In terms of Afghanistan, how would geography help us understand the nation?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Afghanistan’s geography can help us to understand the country in at least three ways.

First, Afghanistan’s location can help us to understand the country.  Afghanistan is located between what was once the Soviet Union and what was once British India.  In the 1800s, this meant that Russia and Britain competed for Afghanistan and both tried to control the country.  Its proximity to the USSR caused Afghanistan to be invaded by that country in 1979.  The fact that Afghanistan has been invaded and fought over to such a large degree helps make its people very suspicious of foreign intervention.

Second, Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain helps us to understand why it was been hard for anyone to actually conquer and control the country.  Many invaders, like Great Britain, the USSR, and more recently the United States have been unable to gain control over the whole country.  This is, in large part, because of the difficulty of the terrain.

Finally, the mountainous terrain helps us to understand why it has been hard for Afghan governments to unify and control their own country.  Afghanistan’s rugged terrain divides the country up into many little areas that are inhabited by different tribes of people.  These people do not really see themselves as Afghans first but rather as members of their tribes before all else.  This makes it very hard for Afghanistan to be united as a country even when it is not being fought over by foreigners.

In all of these ways, Afghanistan’s geography can help us to understand the country.

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