Afghanistan: Past & Present

Afghanistan, land of the Afghans, more than two millennia ago, this may surprise you, was a major center of Buddhism. Situated on the fabled Silk Road this mountainous landlocked country has an old and rich history and culture with great poets like Raabia Balkhi, Khushal Khattak, and most renowned of all, Rumi. Afghanistan has been called “the graveyard of empires.” Just ask the British, the Russians and the Americans. Today, it is ruled by the Taliban, notorious for their rigid brand of Islam. The situation in the country is bleak. It is under sanctions. Hunger and poverty are widespread. Violence, though reduced, continues. Education for girls is limited. Ahmed Rashid, author of the bestseller Taliban warns, “Unless the Taliban are prepared to moderate their policies Afghanistan will remain the fulcrum of unrest and turbulence in Central Asia for years to come.”

Speaker: Rangina Hamidi

Rangina Hamidi was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 1981, she emigrated to Pakistan and then to the U.S. in 1988 with her family. She returned to Afghanistan in 2003 and took up residence in Kandahar. She worked to better the lives of Afghans, particularly women and girls through development projects and most importantly, education. She served as Minister of Education of Afghanistan until August 15, 2021. She is co-author of the book Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future.

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