Afghanistan in the past For thousands of years, Afghanistan has been used as a battleground. Some armies have come to conquer the coun­try itself. Others have passed through on their way to fight other countries. One reason for this is the Khyber Pass. The Khyber Pass is a fairly low and level gap in the giant Hindu Kush mountains, whose highest peaks are al­most five miles high. That has made the Khyber Pass the only way to reach India from the west. Alexander the Great, the king who almost conquered the world more than 2,000 years ago, marched his armies through Afghanistan, and he was only one of the great conquerors who have ruled the land. https://kischmisch.de/

The Mongols led by Genghis Khan did so much damage, burning villages and towns and killing the people, that Afghanistan did not re­cover for hundreds of years. Its people became wild and warlike. Raiding par­ties of fierce Afghans used to ride through the Khyber Pass and swoop down on the British settlements in India, killing and robbing. Finally the British, in 1878, sent armies into Afghanistan. There were several bloody battles, but the British won them and took charge of Afghanistan’s affairs. Afghanistan became fully independ­ent again in 1907. A few years after World War I, a very modern king named Amanullah came to the throne. He was too modern for the people, who did not want to change their old way of living. They made King Amanullah ab­dicate. After him came Nadir Shah, who had been a great warrior. He became king in 1931 but was assassinated two years later because he was just as modern as Amanullah was.

The present king, Unations This cow in Afghanistan has just been in­oculated against a contagious disease of cattle. Mohammed Zahir Shah, was Nadir Shah’s son. He is a modern ruler too, but the people have finally come to like modern ways and he has not had trouble with them. Today, Afghanistan lives at peace with its neighbors and is respected as a country that is rapidly improving itself. In 1946 it joined the United Nations. The United States has lent it some money ($21,000,000 in 1949) to use for improvements such as irrigation of the farms and machines for the factories. One measure of advancement in Af­ghanistan is that thirty years ago four out of five Afghans could not read or write; today four out of five can read and write. Afghanistan. Area, 253,250 square miles. Population (1953 estimate), 12,000,000. Language, Pushtu. Religion, Mohammedan. Government, constitutional monarchy. Mone­tary unit, the afghani, worth 6 cents (U.S.). Flag, three bars, black, red, green; in the center (red) bar, two ears of wheat around a mosque (church).

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