The North Atlantic Treaty Organization called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium. Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29; the most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs; the combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.
Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024. On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization, established by the Treaty of Brussels. Talks for a new military alliance which could include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Portugal, Norway and Iceland; the North Atlantic Treaty was dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans.
In 1952 the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization. Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, in turn a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War. Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966. In 1982 the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature and focus on the continent of Europe.
This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO's military spending. NATO began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not been NATO concerns. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, most of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks, after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF.
The organization has operated a range of additional roles since including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, annexation of Crimea; the first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established; the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.
Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional co
Musa Qala is a town and the district centre of Musa Qala District in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It is located at 32.4433°N 64.7444°E / 32.4433. Its population has been reported in the British press to be both 2,000 and 20,000, it is in a desolate area, populated by native Pashtun tribes. With no rainfall during the year, Musa Qala features a cold desert climate under the Köppen climate classification; the average temperature in Musa Qala is 17.6 °C. July is the warmest month of the year with an average temperature of 30.3 °C. The coldest month January has an average temperature of 4.7 °C. In February 2006 intensive fighting erupted there, leading to 28 deaths, including the Musa Qala district chief, Abdul Quddus. On March 3, 2006, the Sangin district governor, Amir Jan, was killed in Musa Qala while on vacation. British forces were deployed to defend the district offices at Musa Qala. Over several months, eight British soldiers died there during attacks by the Taliban. 23–25 July 2006, Danish troops of the "1.
Lette Opklaringseskadron" moved in to replace the British troops, but found themselves having to assist the British troops repel a major Taliban attack before they could carry out the replacement. On 28 August 2006, the Danish forces were replaced as planned, if belated, were once again replaced by the British. In late September 2006, a secret truce was made with the Taliban under which British troops would move out of Musa Qala in return for the Taliban not attacking the region; the truce had the sanction of Mohammad Daud, the governor of Helmand province, most tribal elders, who felt they could now exercise control over the Taliban themselves. It was seen as a move to help integrate the local Pashtun tribes on the side of the US-allied government. Others however, saw the move as a cop-out; the local leaders were happy with the settlement, which gave them the upper hand over the Taliban. In the long run, attempts to win over the population appear to have failed under the NATO strategy of air bombing which killed more than 4,600 Afghan noncombatants from 2001 to 2006, according to a study from University of New Hampshire.
The result has been the steady growth of anti-American sentiment in the region, focused on the US-backed regime of President Hamid Karzai. Karzai himself deplored the attacks breaking down in tears, saying that "the cruelty is too much. Are killing our children." On February 2007, a Taliban force of about a hundred or two hundred strong under Mullah Abdul Ghafoor captured the town, overran the district centre and raised their trademark white flag. All tribal leaders who had arranged the truce with the British forces were jailed; some sources report the Taliban force numbered "several hundred". The situation created a crisis for the ISAF forces in Afghanistan, on the same day that the British commanding officer General David Richards handed over charge of the ISAF team to an American, General Dan K. McNeill. On 4 February US forces claimed that an air strike near Musa Qala had killed a senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghafoor, while travelling in a truck. McNeill, the new ISAF commander, felt that "come spring, an ISAF offensive not a Taliban offensive will set the conditions to defeat the insurgents again."Eurasianet reports: "The attack laid waste to an agreement there, brokered last fall by Richards and local tribal elders, under which NATO troops agreed to withdraw from the town in return for a commitment by local Afghan leaders to oppose the Taliban."Eurasianet reports that Richards, the outgoing ISAF commander, is an expert at negotiation.
It reports that McNeill, the new ISAF commander, opposes the kind of local agreements that Richards favored, speculated that the aerial bombardment, reported to have killed Mullah Abdul Ghafour was a sign of McNeill's more aggressive, less conciliatory approach. "Officials in several European countries have expressed concern about placing an American general in charge of the NATO force. Richards tried to create a less harsh, more economic-development-oriented identity for NATO in Afghanistan, as compared to the ‘‘kicking-down-doors’’ image that US forces have. Many local analysts expect NATO forces to embrace a more aggressive stance under McNeill, believed to oppose the type of local peace arrangements that Richards promoted; the danger at this point is that an overly aggressive NATO force in Afghanistan could alienate Afghans, thus cause the Taliban’s support base to grow."The district was the scene of heavy fighting in late July 2007 after ISAF forces attacked several rebel hideouts in Helmand Province.
Coalition officials said that up to 160 Taliban fighters were killed between 22 July and 26 July in gun battles and air strikes, adding that, rather than avoiding battle, the Taliban were trying to defend the area. No civilian casualties were reported by ISAF, although a self-described resident claimed by phone that 16 civilians were killed in an air strike. In October 2007, Reuters reported that ISAF troops and Afghan National Security Forces had killed 80 Taliban insurgents in a six-hour battle there; as with the July engagement, the Taliban concentrated their forces and fought to
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry and tank forces. Known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress; the first military forces in history were infantry. In antiquity, infantry were armed with an early melee weapon such as a spear, axe or sword, or an early ranged weapon like a javelin, sling, or bow, with a few infantrymen having both a melee and a ranged weapon. With the development of gunpowder, infantry began converting to firearms. By the time of Napoleonic warfare, infantry and artillery formed a basic triad of ground forces, though infantry remained the most numerous. With armoured warfare, armoured fighting vehicles have replaced the horses of cavalry, airpower has added a new dimension to ground combat, but infantry remains pivotal to all modern combined arms operations.
Infantry have much greater local situational awareness than other military forces, due to their inherent intimate contact with the battlefield. Infantry can more recognise and respond to local conditions and changing enemy weapons or tactics, they can operate in a wide range of terrain inaccessible to military vehicles, can operate with a lower logistical burden. Infantry are the most delivered forces to ground combat areas, by simple and reliable marching, or by trucks, sea or air transport, they can be augmented with a variety of crew-served weapons, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. In English, use of the term infantry began about the 1570s, describing soldiers who march and fight on foot; the word derives from Middle French infanterie, from older Italian infanteria, from Latin īnfāns, from which English gets infant. The individual-soldier term infantryman was not coined until 1837. In modern usage, foot soldiers of any era are now considered infantrymen. From the mid-18th century until 1881 the British Army named its infantry as numbered regiments "of Foot" to distinguish them from cavalry and dragoon regiments.
Infantry equipped with special weapons were named after that weapon, such as grenadiers for their grenades, or fusiliers for their fusils. These names can persist long after the weapon speciality. More in modern times, infantry with special tactics are named for their roles, such as commandos, snipers and militia. Dragoons were created. However, if light cavalry was lacking in an army, any available dragoons might be assigned their duties. Conversely, starting about the mid-19th century, regular cavalry have been forced to spend more of their time dismounted in combat due to the ever-increasing effectiveness of enemy infantry firearms, thus most cavalry transitioned to mounted infantry. As with grenadiers, the dragoon and cavalry designations can be retained long after their horses, such as in the Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Lancers, King's Royal Hussars. Motorised infantry have trucks and other unarmed vehicles for non-combat movement, but are still infantry since they leave their vehicles for any combat.
Most modern infantry have vehicle transport, to the point where infantry being motorised is assumed, the few exceptions might be identified as modern light infantry, or "leg infantry" colloquially. Mechanised infantry go beyond motorised, having transport vehicles with combat abilities, armoured personnel carriers, providing at least some options for combat without leaving their vehicles. In modern infantry, some APCs have evolved to be infantry fighting vehicles, which are transport vehicles with more substantial combat abilities, approaching those of light tanks; some well-equipped mechanised infantry can be designated as armoured infantry. Given that infantry forces also have some tanks, given that most armoured forces have more mechanised infantry units than tank units in their organisation, the distinction between mechanised infantry and armour forces has blurred; the terms "infantry", "armour", "cavalry" used in the official names for military units like divisions, brigades, or regiments might be better understood as a description of their expected balance of defensive and mobility roles, rather than just use of vehicles.
Some modern mechanised infantry units are termed cavalry or armoured cavalry though they never had horses, to e
The Pashtuns known as ethnic Afghans and Pathans, are an Iranian ethnic group who live in Pakistan and Afghanistan in South-Central Asia. They speak the Pashto language and adhere to Pashtunwali, a traditional set of ethics guiding individual and communal conduct; the ethnogenesis of the Pashtun ethnic group is unclear but historians have come across references to various ancient peoples called Pakthas between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC, who may be their early ancestors. Their history is spread amongst the present-day countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centred on their traditional seat of power in that region. Globally, the Pashtuns are estimated to number around 50 million, but an accurate count remains elusive due to the lack of an official census in Afghanistan since 1979; the majority of the Pashtuns live in the region regarded as Pashtunistan, split between the two countries since the Durand Line border was formed after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. There are significant Pashtun diaspora communities in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan, in particular in the cities of Karachi and Lahore.
A recent Pashtun diaspora has developed in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in the United Arab Emirates. The Pashtuns are a significant minority group in Pakistan, where they constitute the second-largest ethnic group or about 15% of the population; as the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, Pashtuns have been the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years. During the Delhi Sultanate era, the 15th–16th century Lodi dynasty replaced the preexisting rulers in North India until Babur deposed the Lodi dynasty. Other Pashtuns fought the Safavids and Mughals before obtaining an independent state in the early 18th century, which began with a successful revolution by Mirwais Hotak followed by conquests of Ahmad Shah Durrani; the Barakzai dynasty played a vital role during the Great Game from the 19th century to the 20th century as they were caught between the imperialist designs of the British and Russian empires. The Pashtuns are the world's largest segmentary lineage ethnic group. Estimates of the number of Pashtun tribes and clans range from about 350 to over 400.
There have been many notable Pashtun people throughout history: Ahmad Shah Durrani is regarded as the founder of the modern state of Afghanistan, while Bacha Khan was a Pashtun independence activist against the rule of the British Raj. Some others include Malala Yousafzai, Shah Rukh Khan, Zarine Khan, Imran Khan, Farhad Darya, Abdul Ahad Mohmand, Ahmad Zahir, Zakir Husain, Hamid Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Mullah Mohammed Omar; the vast majority of the Pashtuns are found in the traditional Pashtun homeland, located in an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and west of the Indus River in Pakistan, which includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the northern part of Balochistan. Additional Pashtun communities are located in Western and Northern Afghanistan, the Gilgit–Baltistan and Kashmir regions and northwestern Punjab province, Pakistan. There are sizeable Muslim communities in India, which are of Pashtun ancestry. Throughout the Indian subcontinent, they are referred to as Pathans. Smaller Pashtun communities are found in the countries of the Middle East, such as in the Khorasan Province of Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, North America and Australia.
Important metropolitan centres of Pashtun culture include Peshawar, Quetta, Mardan and Jalalabad. In Pakistan, the city of Karachi in Sindh province has the largest Pashtun diaspora communities in the world, with as much as 7 million Pashtuns living in Karachi according to some estimates. Several cities in Pakistan's Punjab province have sizeable Pashtun populations, in particular Lahore. About 15% of Pakistan's nearly 200 million population is Pashtun. In Afghanistan, they are the largest ethnic group and make up between 42–60% of the 32.5 million population. The exact figure remains uncertain in Afghanistan, affected by the 1.3 million or more Afghan refugees that remain in Pakistan, a majority of which are Pashtuns. Another one million or more Afghans live in Iran. A cumulative population assessment suggests a total of around 49 million individuals all across the world. A prominent institution of the Pashtun people is the intricate system of tribes; the Pashtuns remain a predominantly tribal people, but the trend of urbanisation has begun to alter Pashtun society as cities such as Kandahar, Peshawar and Kabul have grown due to the influx of rural Pashtuns.
Despite this, many people still identify themselves with various clans. The tribal system has several levels of organisation: the tribe, tabar, is divided into kinship groups called khels, in turn divided into smaller groups, each consisting of several extended families called kahols. Pashtun tribes are divided into four'greater' tribal groups: the Sarbani, the Bettani, the Gharghashti, the Karlani. Excavations of prehistoric sites suggest that early humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago. Since the 2nd millennium BC, cities in the region now inhabited by Pashtuns have seen invasions and migrations, including by Ancient Indian peoples, Ancient Iranian peoples, the Medes and Ancient Macedonians in antiquity, Hephthalites, Turks and others. In recent times, people of the Western world have explored the area as well. Most historians acknowledge that the origin of the Pashtuns is some
Wakhan District is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province in eastern Afghanistan. The total population for the district is about 13,000 residents; the district has three international borders: Tajikistan to the north, Pakistan to the south, Afghanistan's only border with China to the east. The capital of the district is the village of Khandud, which has a population of 1,244. Wakhan Wakhan Corridor Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services
Afghanistan the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, while the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get hot in summers. Kabul serves as its largest city. Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, the country's strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia; the land has been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Muslim Arabs, British and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries. It has been called "unconquerable" and nicknamed the "graveyard of empires"; the land served as the source from which the Kushans, Samanids, Ghaznavids, Khaljis, Hotaks and others have risen to form major empires.
The political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the "Great Game" between British India and the Russian Empire, its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter's independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until 50 years when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and a Soviet Union protectorate; this evoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years.
The Taliban were forcibly removed by the NATO-led coalition, a new democratically-elected government political structure was formed, but they still control a significant portion of the country. Afghanistan is a unitary presidential Islamic republic with a population of 31 million composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks and Uzbeks, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan's economy is the world's 108th largest, with a GDP of $64.08 billion. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, documented in the 10th-century geography book Hudud ul-'alam; the root name "Afghan" was used in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, the suffix "-stan" means "place of" in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more in a historical sense, to land of the Pashtuns. However, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that "he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan."
Excavations of prehistoric sites by Louis Dupree and others suggest that humans were living in what is now Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, that farming communities in the area were among the earliest in the world. An important site of early historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites; the country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and fought. It has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Islamic Empire. Many empires and kingdoms have risen to power in Afghanistan, such as the Greco-Bactrians, Hephthalites, Kabul Shahis, Samanids, Ghurids, Kartids, Timurids and the Hotak and Durrani dynasties that marked the political origins of the modern state.
Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the geographical area of Afghanistan has been connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east and north. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Iron ages have been found in Afghanistan. Urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan and India. In more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well. After 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic
Khwahan District, is one of the 28 districts of Badakhshan Province, located in northeastern Afghanistan. The district capital is Khwahan; the population of the district is 27,000. The district borders Raghistan to the southwest, Kuf Ab in the northeast, the Panj River in the northwest, Shuro-obod district, Khatlon Province, of Tajikistan. Kuh-e kallat List of villages and places, of Khwahan District in alphabetical order Darwaz Map at the Afghanistan Information Management Services Its coordinates are 37°53'19" N and 70°13'10" E in DMS or 37.8886 and 70.2194. Its UTM position is XG09 and its Joint Operation Graphics reference is NJ42-11khwahan