The United States in Afghanistan helps students consider the issues surrounding the U.S. role in Afghanistan.

Videos for Readings: The videos below follow the outline of the curriculum unit. The headings correspond to the headings in the student readings.

Videos for Lessons accompany lessons in the teacher's guide of the curriculum unit.

Scholars Online: Videos for Readings

The United States in Afghanistan


David B. Edwards
Williams College


Jennifer L. Fluri
Dartmouth College


Benjamin Hopkins
George Washington University


Mark Garrison
Brown University


Paula Newberg
Georgetown University


Catherine Lutz
Brown University


David Rohde
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Introduction: Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

What are the most common misunderstandings about Afghanistan? [Jennifer Fluri - 2:17]

What are the most common misunderstandings about Afghanistan? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:05]

Part I: Afghanistan's People and History

The Regions of Afghanistan

How has Afghanistan's geography affected its history? [Jennifer Fluri - 2:00]

A Brief History of Afghanistan

How was Afghanistan affected by more powerful countries and empires on its borders? [Benjamin Hopkins - 1:43]

Why did the British Empire want to control Afghanistan's rulers? [Benjamin Hopkins - 2:24]

What was the relationship between Afghanistan's rulers and the British Empire? [Benjamin Hopkins - 1:55]

How did Afghanistan's rulers try to maintain autonomy and control over Afghanistan? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:20]

What was "The Great Game"? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:14]

How do the historical legacies of imperialism affect Afghanistan today? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:51]

The Cold War and Afghanistan

What was the Cold War? [Mark Garrison - 2:07]

Why did the United States and the Soviet Union compete in Afghanistan? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:03]

Part II: The Soviet Invasion and the Rise of the Taliban

The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan in 1979? [David Edwards - 1:22]

How did President Carter react to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? [Mark Garrison - 1:58]

What were the effects of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan? [Benjamin Hopkins - 4:08]

What were the social effects of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan? [David Edwards - 1:36]

Was the U.S. response a surprise to the Soviet government? [Mark Garrison - 1:32]

The Rise of the Taliban

Why was President Najibullah able to remain in power after the departure of the Soviet military? [David Edwards - 2:08]

How did the Taliban come to power? [David Edwards - 3:15]

How did rule by the Taliban in the 1990s affect the lives of Afghans? [Jennifer Fluri - 2:27]

What are the most important things to understand about the rule of the Taliban? [David Edwards - 1:37]

Part III: Afghanistan and Pakistan After 9/11/2001

The Overthrow of the Taliban

Reconstructing Afghanistan

How has the presence of international organizations affected the lives of Afghans? [Jennifer Fluri - 2:18]

What are some of the positive effects of the foreign presence in Afghanistan? [Paula Newberg - 1:24]

Pakistan and its Role in Afghanistan

Why does Pakistan want to play an influential role in Afghanistan? [Benjamin Hopkins - 3:30]

The Taliban Return

Why is there an insurgency in Afghanistan? [David Edwards - 3:03]

What are the divisions in Afghanistan today? [David Edwards - 2:23]

What role might the Taliban play in the future of Afghanistan? [David Edwards - 1:18]

What is the difference between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban? [David Rohde - 1:21]

Obama's War

What is the status of U.S. relations with Pakistan? [David Rohde - 1:20]

Why is security an important issue for Afghans? [Jennifer Fluri - 2:04]

What is daily life like in Afghanistan? [Jennifer Fluri - 1:53]

What have been the largest costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? [Catherine Lutz - 3:15]*

*The statistics mentioned in this video are from late 2011.

What are the costs of the war in Afghanistan? [Paula Newberg - 2:37]

The Drone War

Are drones effective? [David Rohde - 3:00]

Why are drones controversial? [David Rohde - 2:10]

Looking Ahead

Does Pakistan remain key to U.S. strategy to prevent terrorism against the United States? [David Rohde - 3:08]

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