Afghanistan: A Library Guide

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the constant flow of news taking over our screens minute by minute. Afghanistan is back under Taliban control as the United States withdraws after 20 years in the region. Refugees have been flooding local airports as the US tries to evacuate countless Americans and locals who helped the government. Yesterday, a series of attacks at the Kabul airport by Islamic State’s regional affiliate killed 13 US service members plus countless Afghans. We’ve gathered some resources to help you navigate current events.


Located in South Asia and bordered by six countries, Afghanistan lies at the crossroads of major north-south and east-west trading routes. Because of its importance for trade, Afghanistan has attracted invaders throughout its long history and has been ruled by many foreign powers, including the Achaemenid, Mongol, and British empires. Since the late twentieth century, the country has been besieged by a series of wars and invasions. Additionally, the country faces extreme poverty and corruption while experiencing only limited access to social services, natural resources, and foreign investment.

“Afghanistan.” Gale Global Issues Online Collection, Gale, 2020. Gale In Context: Global Issues, Accessed 19 Aug. 2021.

Brief History


  1. The Taliban are a group largely consisting of Islamist students and soldiers. They gained influence in, and later control of, Afghanistan in the 1990s.
  2. Support for the Taliban surged among members of the conservative Islamic community as, once in power, the group established its interpretation of Sharia as law in Afghanistan.
  3. The Taliban attracted global attention once intelligence reports revealed they were granting shelter to Osama bin Laden and members of the terrorist group al-Qaeda.
  4. Attacks mounted by the United States and other forces drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan in late 2001. The group maintains a presence in other areas, primarily Pakistan.
  5. Since their removal from power, the Taliban have worked from exile to destabilize the existing government of Afghanistan and maintain a presence in the Middle East.

From Gale Global Issues Online Collection


Understanding the U.S. War in Afghanistan

What’s Happening in Afghanistan?

Additional Resources

To search for titles, visit our catalog.
To access NYT, check out our e-sources.
BPL offers ecards to MA residents and you can access WSJ through their online sources.

NOTE: These are ongoing events and likely to change as time passes. For more information, ask a reference librarian or use our online resources.

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