A History of Afghanistan

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About 80 percent are Sunni, and 19 percent Shia. The final one percent includes about 20, Baha'is, 3,, Christians. Only one Bukharan Jewish man, Zablon Simintov, remained by All of the other members of the Jewish community fled when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in Until the mids, Afghanistan also had a population of 30, to , Hindus and Sikhs. During the Taliban regime, the Hindu minority was forced to wear yellow badges when they went out in public, and Hindu women had to wear the Islamic-style hijab.

Today, only a few Hindus remain. Afghanistan is a land-locked country bordering on Iran to the west, Turkmenistan , Uzbekistan , and Tajikistan to the north, a tiny border with China at the northeast, and Pakistan to the east and south.

A country named Afghanistan

Most of Afghanistan is in the Hindu Kush Mountains, with some lower-lying desert areas. The highest point is Nowshak, at 7, meters 24, feet. The lowest is the Amu Darya River Basin, at meters feet. An arid and mountainous country, Afghanistan has little cropland; a scant 12 percent is arable, and only 0. The climate of Afghanistan is very dry and seasonal, with temperatures varying by altitude. Kabul's average January temperature is 0 degrees Celsius 32 Fahrenheit , while noon temperatures in July often reach 38 Celsius Fahrenheit.

Jalalabad can hit 46 Celsius Fahrenheit in the summer. Most of the precipitation that falls in Afghanistan comes in the form of winter snow. The nation-wide annual average is only centimeters 10 to 12 inches , but snow drifts in the mountain valleys can reach depths of over 2 meters. Afghanistan is among the poorest countries on Earth. The economy of Afghanistan receives large infusions of foreign aid, totaling billions of U. It has been undergoing a recovery, in part by the return of over five million expatriates and new construction projects.

The country's most valuable export is opium; eradication efforts have had mixed success. Other export goods include wheat, cotton, wool, handwoven rugs, and precious stones. Afghanistan imports much of its food and energy. Agriculture employs 80 percent of the labor force, industry, and services 10 percent each. The unemployment rate is 35 percent. Afghanistan was settled at least 50, years ago. Early cities such as Mundigak and Balkh sprang up around 5, years ago; they likely were affiliated with the Aryan culture of India.

By , the empire had fallen to the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan. The Mongol invasion resulted in massive destruction of several cities, including Bamiyan , Herat , and Balkh , and the despoliation of fertile agricultural areas. Large numbers of the inhabitants were also slaughtered. Most major cities north of the Hindu Kush became part of the Mongol Empire. The Afghan tribal areas south of the Hindu Kush were usually either allied with the Khalji dynasty of northern India or independent.

Timur Tamerlane , incorporated much of the area into his own vast Timurid Empire. The city of Herat became one of the capitals of his empire, and his grandson Pir Muhammad held the seat of Kandahar. Timur rebuilt most of Afghanistan's infrastructure which was destroyed by his early ancestor. The area was progressing under his rule. Timurid rule began declining in the early 16th century with the rise of a new ruler in Kabul, Babur. Timur, a descendant of Genghis Khan, created a vast new empire across Russia and Persia which he ruled from his capital in Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan.

Timur captured Herat in and his son, Shah Rukh moved the capital of the Timurid empire to Herat in The Timurids, a Turkic people, brought the Turkic nomadic culture of Central Asia within the orbit of Persian civilisation, establishing Herat as one of the most cultured and refined cities in the world. This fusion of Central Asian and Persian culture was a major legacy for the future Afghanistan. A century later, the emperor Babur, a descendant of Timur, visited Herat and wrote, "the whole habitable world had not such a town as Herat. In CE, Babur was driven out of his home in the Ferghana valley.

By the 16th century western Afghanistan again reverted to Persian rule under the Safavid dynasty. In , Babur , a descendant of Timur , arrived from present-day Uzbekistan and moved to the city of Kabul. He began exploring new territories in the region, with Kabul serving as his military headquarters. Instead of looking towards the powerful Safavids towards the Persian west, Babur was more focused on the Indian subcontinent , which included the region known as Kabulistan.

In , he left with his army to capture the seat of the Delhi Sultanate , which at that point was possessed by the Afghan Lodi dynasty of India. From the 16th century to the 17th century CE, Afghanistan was divided into three major areas. The north was ruled by the Khanate of Bukhara , the west was under the rule of the Iranian Shia Safavids , and the eastern section was under the Sunni Mughals of northern India, who under Akbar established in Kabul one of the original twelve subahs imperial top-level provinces , bordering Lahore, Multan and Kashmir added to Kabul in , later split-off and short-lived Balkh Subah and Badakhshan Subah only — The Kandahar region in the south served as a buffer zone between the Mughals who shortly established a Qandahar subah — and Persia's Safavids, with the native Afghans often switching support from one side to the other.

Babur explored a number of cities in the region before his campaign into India. In the city of Kandahar, his personal epigraphy can be found in the Chilzina rock mountain. Like in the rest of the territories that used to make part of the Indian Mughal Empire, Afghanistan holds tombs, palaces, and forts built by the Mughals. Under his rule the revolts were successfully suppressed and he ruled Kandahar with uncompromising severity. He began imprisoning and executing the native Afghans, especially those suspected in having taken part in the rebellions.

One of those arrested and imprisoned was Mirwais Hotak who belonged to an influential family in Kandahar. Mirwais was sent as a prisoner to the Persian court in Isfahan , but the charges against him were dismissed by the king, so he was sent back to his native land as a free man. In April , Mirwais along with his militia under Khan Nasher revolted. Southern Afghanistan was made into an independent local Pashtun kingdom. He died of natural causes in November and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Aziz Hotak.

Aziz was killed about two years later by Mirwais' son Mahmud Hotaki , allegedly for planning to give Kandahar's sovereignty back to Persia. He was known after that as Shah Mahmud. Mahmud began a short-lived reign of terror against his Persian subjects who defied his rule from the very start, and he was eventually murdered in by his own cousin, Ashraf Hotaki. Some sources say he died of madness. Ashraf was able to secure peace with the Ottoman Empire in winning against a superior Ottoman army, but the Russian Empire took advantage of the continuing political unrest and civil strife to seize former Persian territories for themselves, limiting the amount of territory under Shah Mahmud's control.

The short lived Hotaki dynasty was a troubled and violent one from the very start as internecine conflict made it difficult for them to establish permanent control. The dynasty lived under great turmoil due to bloody succession feuds that made their hold on power tenuous.

There was a massacre of thousands of civilians in Isfahan; including more than three thousand religious scholars, nobles, and members of the Safavid family. Hotaki's rule continued in Afghanistan until when Shah Hussain was defeated and banished by Nader Shah of Persia. The Hotakis were eventually removed from power in , after a very short lived reign.

They were defeated in the October by the Iranian military commander Nader Shah , head of the Afsharids , at the Battle of Damghan. He effectively reduced the Hotaki's power to only southern Afghanistan. The last ruler of the Hotaki dynasty, Shah Hussain, ruled southern Afghanistan until when the Afsharids and the Abdali Pashtuns crushed him at Kandahar. Nader Shah and his Afsharid Persian army arrived in the town of Kandahar in and defeated Hussain Hotaki , subsequently absorbing all of Afghanistan in his empire.

Nadir Shah was assassinated on 19 June by several of his Persian officers, and the Asharid kingdom fell to pieces. At the same time the year-old Ahmad Khan was busy in Afghanistan calling for a loya jirga "grand assembly" to select a leader among his people.

The Afghans gathered near Kandahar in October and chose Ahmad Shah from among the challengers, making him their new head of state. After the inauguration or coronation , he became known as Ahmad Shah Durrani. He adopted the title padshah durr-i dawran 'King, "pearl of the age" and the Abdali tribe became known as the Durrani tribe after this. In October , Ahmad Shah retired to his home in Kandahar where he died peacefully and was buried at a site that is now adjacent to the Shrine of the Cloak.

Timur died in and his son Zaman Shah Durrani took over the reign. Zaman Shah and his brothers had a weak hold on the legacy left to them by their famous ancestor. They sorted out their differences through a "round robin of expulsions, blindings and executions," which resulted in the deterioration of the Afghan hold over far-flung territories, such as Attock and Kashmir. Durrani's other grandson, Shuja Shah Durrani , fled the wrath of his brother and sought refuge with the Sikhs. Not only had Durrani invaded the Punjab region many times, but had destroyed the holiest shrine of the Sikhs — the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar , defiling its sarowar with the blood of cows and decapitating Baba Deep Singh in The Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh , eventually wrested a large part of the Kingdom of Kabul present day Pakistan, but not including Sindh from the Afghans.

Dost Mohammed Khan gained control in Kabul. Collision between the expanding British and Russian Empires significantly influenced Afghanistan during the 19th century in what was termed " The Great Game ".

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British concern over Russian advances in Central Asia and growing influence in West Asia and Persia in particular culminated in two Anglo-Afghan wars and "The Siege of Herat" —, in which the Persians, trying to retake Afghanistan and throw out the British, sent armies into the country and fought the British mostly around and in the city of Herat. The first Anglo-Afghan War — resulted in the destruction of a British army; it is remembered by first-hand account as an example of the ferocity of Afghan resistance to foreign rule.

During his reign — , the British and Russians officially established the boundaries of what would become modern Afghanistan. The British retained effective control over Kabul 's foreign affairs. Abdur Rahman's reforms of the army, legal system and structure of government were able to give Afghanistan a degree of unity and stability which it had not before known.

This, however, came at the cost of strong centralisation, harsh punishments for crime and corruption, and a certain degree of international isolation. Habibullah Khan , Abdur Rahman's son, came to the throne in and kept Afghanistan neutral during World War I, despite German encouragement of anti-British feelings and Afghan rebellion along the borders of British India. His policy of neutrality was not universally popular within the country; however, and Habibullah was assassinated in , possibly by family members opposed to British influence.

His third son, Amanullah , regained control of Afghanistan's foreign policy after launching the Third Anglo-Afghan War with an attack on India in the same year. During the ensuing conflict, the war-weary British relinquished their control over Afghan foreign affairs by signing the Treaty of Rawalpindi in August In commemoration of this event, Afghans celebrate 19 August as their Independence Day.

King Amanullah Khan moved to end his country's traditional isolation in the years following the Third Anglo-Afghan war. He fought for Article 68 of Afghanistan's first constitution declared through a Loya Jirga , which made elementary education compulsory. Faced with overwhelming armed opposition, Amanullah was forced to abdicate in January after Kabul fell to forces led by Habibullah Kalakani. He was soon declared King Nadir Khan.

He began consolidating power and regenerating the country. He abandoned the reforms of Amanullah Khan in favour of a more gradual approach to modernisation. In , however, he was assassinated in a revenge killing by a student from Kabul. Mohammad Zahir Shah , Nadir Khan's year-old son, succeeded to the throne and reigned from to In , another of Zahir Shah's uncles, Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan , became Prime Minister and began an experiment allowing greater political freedom, but reversed the policy when it went further than he expected.

In , he was replaced as Prime Minister by Mohammed Daoud Khan , the king's cousin and brother-in-law.

Feature History - Soviet-Afghan War

Daoud looked for a closer relationship with the Soviet Union and a more distant one towards Pakistan. However, disputes with Pakistan led to an economic crisis and he was asked to resign in From until , Zahir Shah took a more active role. In , King Zahir Shah promulgated a liberal constitution providing for a bicameral legislature to which the king appointed one-third of the deputies.

The people elected another third, and the remainder were selected indirectly by provincial assemblies. Although Zahir's "experiment in democracy" produced few lasting reforms, it permitted the growth of unofficial extremist parties on both the left and the right. Amid charges of corruption and malfeasance against the royal family and poor economic conditions created by the severe —72 drought, former Prime Minister Mohammad Sardar Daoud Khan seized power in a non-violent coup on July 17, , while Zahir Shah was receiving treatment for eye problems and therapy for lumbago in Italy.

Afghanistan profile - Timeline

His attempts to carry out badly needed economic and social reforms met with little success, and the new constitution promulgated in February failed to quell chronic political instability. The leaders of PDPA apparently feared that Daoud was planning to exterminate them all, especially since most of them were arrested by the government shortly after. Nonetheless, Hafizullah Amin and a number of military wing officers of the PDPA's Khalq faction managed to remain at large and organize a military coup. The coup became known as the Saur Revolution.

In March , Hafizullah Amin took over as prime minister, retaining the position of field marshal and becoming vice-president of the Supreme Defence Council. Taraki remained President and in control of the Army. On 14 September, Amin overthrew Taraki, who was killed. Amin stated that "the Afghans recognize only crude force. It moved to replace religious and traditional laws with secular and Marxist—Leninist ones. Men were obliged to cut their beards, women could not wear a chador , and mosques were placed off limits.

The PDPA made a number of reforms on women's rights , banning forced marriages, giving state recognition of women's right to vote, and introducing women to political life. A prominent example was Anahita Ratebzad , who was a major Marxist leader and a member of the Revolutionary Council. Ratebzad wrote the famous New Kabul Times editorial May 28, which declared: "Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention.

The USSR also sent contractors to build roads, hospitals and schools and to drill water wells; they also trained and equipped the Afghan army. At the same time, the PDPA imprisoned, tortured or murdered thousands of members of the traditional elite, the religious establishment, and the intelligentsia. The majority of people in the cities including Kabul either welcomed or were ambivalent to these policies.

However, the Marxist—Leninist and secular nature of the government as well as its heavy dependence on the Soviet Union made it unpopular with a majority of the Afghan population. Repressions plunged large parts of the country, especially the rural areas, into open revolt against the new Marxist—Leninist government. By spring unrests had reached 24 out of 28 Afghan provinces including major urban areas. Over half of the Afghan army would either desert or join the insurrection.

Most of the government's new policies clashed directly with the traditional Afghan understanding of Islam , making religion one of the only forces capable of unifying the tribally and ethnically divided population against the unpopular new government, and ushering in the advent of Islamist participation in Afghan politics. To bolster the Parcham faction, the Soviet Union decided to intervene on December 24, , when the Red Army invaded its southern neighbor.

Over , Soviet troops took part in the invasion, which was backed by another , Afghan military men and supporters of the Parcham faction. In the meantime, Hafizullah Amin was killed and replaced by Babrak Karmal. In response to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Carter administration and Reagan administration in the U. The U. Scholars such as W. The Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan brought with them verifiable stories of murder, collective rape, torture and depopulation of civilians by the Soviet forces. Their withdrawal from Afghanistan was seen as an ideological victory in the United States, which had backed some Mujahideen factions through three U.

For this purpose the ISI masterminded an attack on Jalalabad in March , for the Mujahideen to establish their own government in Afghanistan, but this failed in three months. With the crumbling of the Najibullah-regime early in , Afghanistan fell into further disarray and civil war.

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Mujahideen did not abide by the mutual pledges and Ahmad Shah Masood forces because of his proximity to Kabul captured the capital before Mujahideen Govt was established. So the elected prime minister and warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar , started war on his president and Massod force entrenched in Kabul. This ignited civil war, because the other mujahideen parties wouldn't settle for Hekmatyar ruling alone or sharing actual power with him.

Within weeks, the still frail unity of the other mujahideen forces also evaporated, and six militias were fighting each other in and around Kabul. Subghatullah Mujadady was elected as Afghanistan's elected interim president for two months and then professor Burhanuddin Rabani a well known Kabul university professor and the leader of Jamiat - e - Islami party of Mujahiddin who fought against Russians during the occupation was chosen by all of the Jahadi leaders except Golbuddin Hikmat Yar. Professor Rabani reigned as the official and elected president of Afghanistan by Shurai Mujahiddin Peshawer Peshawer Mujahiddin Council from until when he officially handed over the presidency post to Hamid Karzai the next US appointed interim president.

During Rabbani's presidency some parts of the country including a few provinces in the north such as Mazar e - Sharif, Jawzjan, Faryab, Shuburghan and some parts of Baghlan provinces were ruled by general Abdul Rashid Dostom. During Rabbani's first five years illegal term before the emergence of the Taliban, the eastern and western provinces and some of the northern provinces such as Badakhshan, Takhar, Kunduz, the main parts of Baghlan Province, and some parts of Kandahar and other southern provinces were under the control of the central government while the other parts of southern provinces did not obey him because of his Tajik ethnicity.

During the 9 year presidency of Burhanuddin Rabani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was directed, funded and supplied by the Pakistani army. Pakistan was keen to gear up for a breakthrough in Central Asia. There was no time for the interim government to create working government departments, police units or a system of justice and accountability. Saudi Arabia and Iran also armed and directed Afghan militias. Meanwhile, the southern city of Kandahar was a centre of lawlessness, crime and atrocities fuelled by complex Pashtun tribal rivalries.

In the Hezb-i Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Iranian-backed Hezb-i Wahdat as well as Rashid Dostum's Junbish forces were defeated militarily in the capital Kabul by forces of the interim government under Massoud who subsequently tried to initiate a nationwide political process with the goal of national consolidation and democratic elections, also inviting the Taliban to join the process. This is the first time in several months that Kabul civilians have become the targets of rocket attacks and shelling aimed at residential areas in the city.

A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan | PBS NewsHour

On September 26, , as the Taliban, with military support by Pakistan and financial support by Saudi Arabia, prepared for another major offensive, Massoud ordered a full retreat from Kabul. They imposed on the parts of Afghanistan under their control their political and judicial interpretation of Islam, issuing edicts forbidding women from working outside the home, attending school or leaving their homes unless accompanied by a male relative.

To PHR's knowledge, no other regime in the world has methodically and violently forced half of its population into virtual house arrest, prohibiting them on pain of physical punishment. After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on September 27, , [] Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostum , two former enemies, created the United Front Northern Alliance against the Taliban, who were preparing offensives against the remaining areas under the control of Massoud and Dostum.

According to a page report by the United Nations , the Taliban, while trying to consolidate control over northern and western Afghanistan, committed systematic massacres against civilians. Others were kidnapped by the Taliban, touching off a hostage crisis that nearly escalated to a full-scale war, with , Iranian soldiers massed on the Afghan border at one time. The documents also reveal the role of Arab and Pakistani support troops in these killings. State Department confirms that "20—40 percent of [regular] Taliban soldiers are Pakistani.

Massoud remained the only leader of the United Front in Afghanistan. In the areas under his control Ahmad Shah Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women's Rights Charter. The only thing standing in the way of future Taliban massacres is Ahmad Shah Massoud. The Taliban repeatedly offered Massoud a position of power to make him stop his resistance. Massoud declined for he did not fight to obtain a position of power. He said in one interview:. The Taliban say: "Come and accept the post of prime minister and be with us", and they would keep the highest office in the country, the presidentship.

But for what price?! The difference between us concerns mainly our way of thinking about the very principles of the society and the state. We can not accept their conditions of compromise, or else we would have to give up the principles of modern democracy. We are fundamentally against the system called "the Emirate of Afghanistan". There should be an Afghanistan where every Afghan finds himself or herself happy. And I think that can only be assured by democracy based on consensus.

Massoud wanted to convince the Taliban to join a political process leading towards democratic elections in a foreseeable future. The Taliban are not a force to be considered invincible. They are distanced from the people now. They are weaker than in the past. There is only the assistance given by Pakistan, Osama bin Laden and other extremist groups that keep the Taliban on their feet. With a halt to that assistance, it is extremely difficult to survive. In early Massoud employed a new strategy of local military pressure and global political appeals. At the same time he was very wary not to revive the failed Kabul government of the early s.

In early Massoud addressed the European Parliament in Brussels asking the international community to provide humanitarian help to the people of Afghanistan. Two days later about 3, people became victims of the September 11, , attacks in the United States, when Afghan-based Al-Qaeda suicide bombers hijacked planes and flew them into four targets in the Northeastern United States.

When the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden to US authorities and to disband al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in which teams of American and British special forces worked with commanders of the United Front Northern Alliance against the Taliban. These actions led to the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif in the north followed by all the other cities, as the Taliban and al-Qaeda crossed over the porous Durand Line border into Pakistan. While the Taliban began regrouping inside Pakistan, the rebuilding of war-torn Afghanistan kicked off in see also War in Afghanistan —present.

NATO is training the Afghan armed forces as well its national police. By , a Taliban-led shadow government began to form in many parts of the country complete with their own version of mediation court. President Barack Obama announced the deployment of another 30, soldiers in for a period of two years, Der Spiegel published images of the US soldiers who killed unarmed Afghan civilians.

In , the United States resettled refugees from Afghanistan. In October U. Defense Secretary Gates had asserted that a political settlement with the Taliban was the endgame for the Afghanistan war. In early January, Taliban commanders held secret exploratory talks with a United Nations special envoy to discuss peace terms. Regional commanders on the Taliban's leadership council, the Quetta Shura , sought a meeting with the UN special representative in Afghanistan, Kai Eide , and it took place in Dubai on January 8.

It was the first such meeting between the UN and senior members of the Taliban. Supported by NATO, Karzai called on the group's leadership to take part in a loya jirga meeting to initiate peace talks. These steps have resulted in an intensification of bombings, assassinations and ambushes. Abdullah Abdullah believe that Karzai plans to appease the insurgents' senior leadership at the cost of the democratic constitution, the democratic process and progress in the field of human rights especially women's rights.

Abdullah stated:. I should say that Taliban are not fighting in order to be accommodated. They are fighting in order to bring the state down. So it's a futile exercise, and it's just misleading. There are groups that will fight to the death. Whether we like to talk to them or we don't like to talk to them, they will continue to fight. So, for them, I don't think that we have a way forward with talks or negotiations or contacts or anything as such.

Then we have to be prepared to tackle and deal with them militarily. In terms of the Taliban on the ground, there are lots of possibilities and opportunities that with the help of the people in different parts of the country, we can attract them to the peace process; provided, we create a favorable environment on this side of the line. At the moment, the people are leaving support for the government because of corruption. So that expectation is also not realistic at this stage. Afghan President Hamid Karzai told world leaders during the London conference that he intends to reach out to the top echelons of the Taliban within a few weeks with a peace initiative.

The Taliban declined to participate, saying "The Islamic Emirate has a clear position. We have said this many, many times. There will be no talks when there are foreign troops on Afghanistan's soil killing innocent Afghans on daily basis. In September General David Petraeus commented on the progress of peace talks to date, stating, "The prospect for reconciliation with senior Taliban leaders certainly looms out there In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan's opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence.

They may believe that by using these proxies, they are hedging their bets or redressing what they feel is an imbalance in regional power. But in reality, they have already lost that bet. Ambassador to Pakistan , Cameron Munter , told Radio Pakistan that "The attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago, that was the work of the Haqqani network.

There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop. Afghan Defense Minister , Abdul Rahim Wardak , explained that the operation will "help eliminate the insurgents before they struck in areas along the troubled frontier". In , Ashraf Ghani was elected to be the president of Afghanistan. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on the. Kabul Shahi — Principality of Chaghaniyan 7th—8th centuries Rashidun Caliphate — Umayyads — Abbasids — Tahirids — Saffarids — Samanids — Ghaznavids — Ghurids before — Seljuks — Khwarezmids — Qarlughids — Ilkhanate — Chagatai Khanate — Khaljis — Karts — Timurids — Arghuns — Book Category Portal.

Main article: Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan. Main article: Indus Valley Civilization. Main article: Bactria—Margiana Archaeological Complex. Further information: Medes. Main article: Achaemenid Empire. Main article: Wars of Alexander the Great. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. The United Nations punishes Afghanistan with sanctions restricting trade and economic development. Ignoring international protests, the Taliban carry out their threat to destroy Buddhist statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, saying they are an affront to Islam.

A month after arresting them, the Taliban put eight international aid workers on trial for spreading Christianity. Under Taliban rule, proselytizing is punishable by death. The group is held in various Afghan prisons for months and finally released Nov. Days later, U. Following unanswered demands that the Taliban turn over bin Laden, U.

American warplanes start to bomb Taliban targets and bases reportedly belonging to the al-Qaida network. The Taliban proclaim they are ready for jihad. After weeks of intense fighting with Taliban troops, the Northern Alliance enters Kabul. The retreating Taliban flee southward toward Kandahar. Hamid Karzai, a royalist and ethnic Pashtun, is sworn in as the leader of the interim government in Afghanistan. Karzai entered Afghanistan after living in exile for years in neighboring Pakistan.

At the U. In June, the Loya Jirga, or grand council, elects U. Karzai chooses the members of his government who will serve until , when the government is required to organize elections. The Loya Jirga adopts a new constitution following input from nearly , Afghans, some of whom participate in public meetings in villages. The new constitution calls for a president and two vice presidents, but the office of prime minister is removed at the last minute. The official languages, according to the constitution, are Pashto and Dari.

Also, the new constitution calls for equality for women. Presidential elections are held. More than Karzai is elected with 55 percent of the vote. The nation holds its first parliamentary elections in more than 30 years. Amid continuing fighting between Taliban and al-Qaida fighters and the Afghan government forces, NATO expands its peacekeeping operation to the southern portion of the country. After the forces take over from American-led troops, Taliban fighters launch a bloody wave of suicide attacks and raids against the international troops.

Obama announces a new strategy for the Afghanistan war that would dispatch more military and civilian trainers to the country, in addition to the 17, more combat troops he previously ordered. The strategy also includes assistance to Pakistan in its fight against militants.

President Barack Obama accepts Gen. David Petraeus, head of U. Central Command, as his replacement. President Hamid Karzai calls for American forces to leave Afghan villages and pull back to their bases after a U. Ashraf Ghani becomes president of Afghanistan in September after two rounds of voting, claims of election fraud and a power-sharing agreement with main rival Abdullah Abdullah.

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