The Taliban used and exploited that same power of religion to further their narrow and zealous aims.
It was used to suppress and cow a fiercely proud people, but it wasn't what most Afghans wanted. And now that the Taliban have fallen, the face of Afghanistan's people can once again be seen.
Afghanistan is filled with generous, brave people, very friendly toward Americans. They remember the United States supported them against the Soviet invaders.
But after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan radical extremists from the outside, and some collaborators on the inside, in effect hijacked the country -- a great people, a great culture, and a great religion -- for a kind of Islamic fascism. And they did it all in the name of God.
Exposure to the outside world was forbidden and punishable by jail sentences and beatings.
Now, the Afghan people are hopeful they can once again see and be part of a world from which they had been so isolated.
Rahila Khetab says her family lived in constant fear of beatings from the Taliban. She now thanks America for, as she says, "rescuing the people of Afghanistan."
As fears of the Taliban recede, one Afghan man is concerned over the aftermath of an American victory in his country. "I hope you don't leave until a stable government, because this is the best opportunity," he says, thinking of the future of his war-torn homeland. He remembers the United States left his country once before.
America's abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviets were defeated left a vacuum. That turned Afghanistan into a killing field.
But this time, Afghans hope they can hold the world's attention and get enough help to live free, as a deeply religious people in peace.
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