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Supplemental Materials include graphic organizers, maps and photographs, online lessons that accompany the unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended books.
The United States in Afghanistan
Second edition. January 2014.
2012 Franklin Buchanan Prize Winner.
U.S. military forces entered Afghanistan in late 2001, a few months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. and its allies drove the Taliban from power, and curtailed al Qaeda's efforts to plan and execute terrorist attacks. These gains, along with the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, have come with large costs—including the death of more than two thousand U.S. soldiers.
Today, the Afghanistan War—one of the longest in U.S. history—is winding down, leaving open a host of questions. Without tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops on the ground, will Afghanistan witness a Taliban resurgence? Should some U.S. forces be kept in Afghanistan? Can the United States and Afghanistan implement a long-term security deal? What are the ripple effects of an American withdrawal for Afghanistan's security, economic development, and democratic transition? The United States in Afghanistan grapples with these questions, and introduces students to the central debates and issues facing U.S. foreign policymakers.
2014 will be critical in determining the future trajectory of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. The United States in Afghanistan takes a look at the issues at hand through primary source documents, readings, and new media sources.
Part I of the reading examines the history and culture of Afghanistan. Part II explores developments after World War II and the rise of al Qaeda. It also looks at the history of Pakistan's relationship to Afghanistan. Part III explores U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and the region since 2001.
The Choices Role Play
At the center of this curriculum is a simulation in which students debate three distinct options for U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. By exploring three clearly defined alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values underlying specific policy recommendations and the trade–offs that accompany each of the options. The role play helps students clarify their thoughts and, ultimately, articulate their own views on the future of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan.
The Geography of Afghanistan
Students practice map–reading skills and consider how geography has affected Afghan society. Students identify the location of Afghanistan and its neighbors, explore major geographical features, and analyze ethnic distribution in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Looking at Afghanistan
Students analyze photographs of present-day Afghanistan to learn about Afghan life and society. Students consider the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about Afghanistan.
Life Under the Taliban
Students consider how Afghans viewed the Taliban by examining excerpts from two memoirs written by people who lived in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.
The Cold War and the Soviet Invasion
Students examine the effects of the Cold War and the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan by analyzing letters between U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev.
Role-Playing the Three Options
Working cooperatively, students develop and present three options for U.S. policy in Afghanistan to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate.
The Costs of War
Students analyze the costs and benefits of the war in Afghanistan and consider the role of the United States in world affairs.
Voices From Afghanistan
Students use primary sources from the Afghan Women's Writing Project to understand the experience of living through the war in Afghanistan.