(this post taken from tsenft's LJ)
I'm not sure about all this but, I might add that, as far as I know:
For the last 4 years, Afghanistan has suffered from a drought. The only way that anyone has survived, is because of help from Pakistan, and huge efforts from Rescue Organisations such as The Red Cross/Halfmoon, UN etc etc. In fact, I think Afghanistan is about number one in a lot of Rescue Organisation's lists of countries in the most need of help.
Some 20 - 25 (?) years ago, a civil war started in Afghanistan, with the result that the Soviet Union went in on request from one side in that war. In a way, which very much resembles USA stepping in when Iraq invaded Kuwait. In fact, USA was very involved, through Bin Ladin, in Afghanistan. Basically only short of sending in troops. Soviet retreated, and later fell apart. I'm not sure what USA did. USA were still friendly with Bin Ladin until after the Gulf War, at least. Whatever. The civil war in Afghanistan continued, but since Soviet had retreated, it was back to obligation. Nobody cared about Afghanistan before, and when USA (and the western world) didn't had the Soviet to complain about any longer, lost all interest in what happened there. At least it didn't made the news anymore. What was left, was a country in total chaos, and among the poorest countries in the world. It was easy for all kinds of people afraid of the light, to step in. To call Afghanistan a country, is a slight exaggeration. It's a country suffering from total anarchy, without anyone having anything resembling control.