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This lesson plan is supplemented with material from Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Discover the history of Afghanistan

Lesson Plans by subject 

October 23, 2001
Web posted at: 5:24 PM EDT (2124 GMT)

Overview: What major events have taken place in Afghanistan's history? Have students conduct further research to learn about the history of Afghanistan. Challenge students to judge which time period was the most significant in Afghanistan's history.

Curriculum connections: World History, Political Science

Students will be able to:

  • Identify major events and the economic and political structure in Afghanistan during different periods in time.
  • Judge which time period they think is the most significant in Afghanistan's history.

National Council for the Social Studies
IX Global connections, grades nine - 12
High school students are able to think systematically about personal, national, and global decisions, interactions, and consequences, including addressing critical issues such as peace, human rights, trade, and global ecology.

Afghanistan timeline 

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
Historical understanding, Standard 2, Grades nine -12
High school students should know how to perceive past events with historical empathy.

Materials article, Afghanistan's struggles have long history
Internet access
World map
Chart paper, colored pens and pencils

Suggested time
Article and questions only: 30 minutes
Full lesson plan: Two to three classroom periods

Procedure 1.Direct students to a map of Asia to locate Afghanistan. You may want to use Holt, Rinehart and Winston's World Atlas map of Asia.

2.Have students read the article Afgahnistan's struggles have long history and ask the following:

  • Why does the article state that Afhghanistan "is again at the crossroads of history"? Which great leaders or conquerors are mentioned in the article? What effect did each leader or conqueror have on Afghanistan?

  • How was Hinduism introduced to Afghanistan? When did the Afghan Communist Party come to power? How did it happen? Who are the Mujahedeen? Why do you think the United States and other nations began supporting the Mujahedeen?

  • Who are the Taliban? How did they come to power in Afghanistan? What are some examples of their implemented fundamentalist law? Who is Osama bin Laden? Of what crime does the U.S. suspect bin Laden?

3. Group students. Assign each group a time period. Refer groups to Web sites below and print resources to learn more about Afghanistan's economic and political structure, major events and conflicts during their assigned time period. Have each group create a chart explaining Afghanistan during that time. After each group has presented, hang the charts around the classroom to create a timeline of events in Afghanistan. Then ask: Which period do you think was the most significant in Afghanistan's history? Explain.

Have each student write a journal entry from a teenager's perspective during each time period in Afghanistan discussed in class. Invite students to share their journal entries.

What is the status of Afghanistan's diplomatic relations with the nations of the world? What events during the last three decades have caused Afghanistan to become diplomatically isolated from the international community? Refer students to the links below and other resources to learn more about the history of Afghanistan since 1979, when it was occupied by the former Soviet Union. Have students identify how the country's longstanding civil war and its war with the former Soviet Union affected Afghan citizens and contributed to the Taliban's rise to power. What was the role of the U.S. during the Soviet-Afghan War? To what extent did the U.S. contribute to the rise of the Taliban and the current political and economic instability that exists within the nation? Could the U.S. have done anything during the last 20 years to prevent the current crisis in Afghanistan? What do you think the future holds for the government and citizens of Afghanistan? Discuss.

Point out to your students that although the Taliban has control of Afghanistan its government is recognized by only a handful of nations. Challenge your students to find out why by conducting research to learn more about the Taliban regime. Share student findings. What factors might make for a difficult military confrontation with the Taliban? What opposition forces in Afghanistan could be useful in fighting the Taliban? Discuss.

• What is Afghanistan's future?
October 17, 2001
• Student Bureau: Life is a struggle in refugee camps
September 25, 2001
•  In-Depth Specials
Afghanistan under the Taliban

• History of Afghanistan
• Afghanistan - A-to-Z Geography -
• ThinkQuest Library of Entries
• Afghanistan - Atlapedia Online

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