Chronological History of Afghanistan

Part IV (1978 - Present)

1978--

  • Bloody Communist coup: Mohammad Daoud is killed, Noor Mohammad Taraki is named President, and Babrak Karmal becomes his Deputy Prime Minister. Tensions rise.
  • Mass arrests, tortures, and arrests takes place.
  • Afghan flag is changed.
  • Taraki signs treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union.
  • June--Afghan guerrilla (Mujahideen) movement is born.

1979--

  • Mass killings
  • US ambassador killed
  • Noor Mohammad Taraki is killed and Hafizullah Amin takes the Presidency.
  • Amin is executed, and he is replaced with Babrak Karmal.
  • Soviet Union (Russia) invade in December.

1980--

1984--

  • UN sends investigators to Afghanistan to examine reported human rights violations.

1986--

  • Babrak Karmal is replaced by Dr. Najibullah.

1987--

  • Najibullah proposes ceasefire, but the Mujahideen refuse to deal with a "puppet government".
  • Mujahideen make great gains, defeat of Soviets eminent.

1988--1989--

  • Peace accords signed in Geneva.
  • Soviet Union defeated by Afghanistan, total withdrawal by the Soviets occurred on Feb. 15, 1989.
  • Experts agree that at least 40,000-50,000 Soviets lost their lives in action, besides the wounded, suicides, and murders.
  • Mujahideen continue to fight against Najibullah's regime.
  • May--Afghan guerrillas elect Sibhhatullah Mojadidi as head of their government-in-exile.

1992--

  • April 15--The Mujahideen take Kabul and liberate Afghanistan, Najibullah is protected by UN.
  • The Mujahideen form an Islamic State--Islamic Jihad Council--elections.
  • Iranian and Pakistani interference increases--more fighting--
  • Professor Burhannudin Rabbani is elected President.

1994--

  • The Taliban militia are born, and advance rapidly against the Rabbani government.
  • Dostum and Hekmatyar continued to clash against Rabbani's government, and as a result Kabul is reduced to rubble.

1995--

  • Massive gains by the Taliban.
  • Increased Pakistani and Iranian interference.

1996--

  • June--Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of Hezbi-Islami, having been eliminated as a military power, signs a peace pact with Rabbani, and returns to Kabul to rule as prime minister.
  • September 27--Taliban militia force President Rabbani and his government out of Kabul. After the capture of Kabul, the Taliban execute Najibullah.
  • Alliance between Government, Hezbi Wahdat, and Dostum
  • Oppression of women by the Taliban--women must be fully veiled, no longer allowed to work, go out alone or even wear white socks. Men are forced to grow beards. Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport is outlawed.
  • Tensions rise as Afghan government accuse Pakistan of aiding the Taliban.
  • Massive human rights violations by the Taliban.

1997--

  • Mass graves of Taliban soldiers containing between 1,500 and 2,000 bodies are found. The men were believed to have been captured in May by general Abdul Malik during the Taliban's brief takeover of Mazar-i-Sharif.

1998--

  • February--Earthquake strikes in northeastern Afghansitan, killing over 4,000 people, destroying villages and leaving thousands of people homeless.
  • August--Taliban finally capture Mazar-i-Sharif, and massacre thousands of innocent civilians afterwards, mostly Hazaras.
  • August 20th--United States launches cruise missles hitting Afghanistan's Khost region.  US states its intent was to destroy so called terrorist bases/training facilities used by Osama bin Laden and his followers. Some Afghan civilians are also killed.
  • September--Tensions rise between Iran and the Taliban.  Iranians are angry about the killing of their diplomats and a journalist by the Taliban when they captured Mazar-i-Sharif.  Soon they deploy 70,000 troops to carry out military exercises near the Afghan border.  In the end, no fighting occurs between the Taliban and the Iranian army.

1999--

  • February--Earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan, affecting over 30,000 people, and killing at least 60 to 70 people.
  • September--The ex-king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, calls for a grand assembly, or Loya Jirga to discuss ways of bringing peace to the country. The United Front soon welcomes the idea, but the Taliban ridicule Mohammad Zahir Shah's attempts at establishing peace.
  • October-- UN Security Council Resolution 1267 is adopted; sanctions against the Taliban on grounds that they offered sanctuary to Osama bin Ladin.

2000--

  • May--Taliban torture and kill civilians in the Robatak Pass
    (on the border between Baghlan and Samangan provinces).
  • September--Taloqan finally falls to the Taliban.
  • December-- UN Security Council Resolution 1333 is adopted; additional sanctions against the Taliban for their continuing support of terrorism and cultivation of narcotics, etc. 

2001--

  • January--Taliban torture and kill numerous civilians (Hazaras) in Yakaolang.
  • March--Despite pleas and requests from various international diplomats, Islamic scholars, the Taliban destroy ancient historical statues in the Kabul Museum, historical sites in Ghazni, and blow up the giant Bamiyan Buddhas from the 5th century. World expresses outrage and disgust against the Taliban action.
  • April--Ahmad Shah Masood visits Europe to gather support against the Taliban.
  • April--UN accuses Pakistan of not allowing adequate supply of food and medicines to displaced Afghans, at the Jalozai camp, near Peshawar.
  • April-- Mullah Rabbani, the Taliban's second-in-command dies of liver cancer.
  • May-- Taliban order religious minorities to wear tags identifying themselves as non-Muslims.
  • September 9-- Ahmad Shah Masood is killed by assassins posing as journalists. Two days later (September 11th), suicide attacks on the U.S. kill more than 3,000 people and destroy the two towers of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon.
  • October-- Abdul Haq is killed by the Taliban. The United States and UK working with the forces of the United Front (UNIFSA) launch air strikes against the Taliban. ( The Americans hold Osama bin Laden directly responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Taliban were targeted for protecting him.)
  • November: Taliban lose control of Mazar-i Sharif.
  • December 5-- Bonn Agreement. Afghan political groups come together in Bonn, Germany and form an interim government.  Hamid Karzai is chosen as Chairman.

2002--

  • April-- Former King Mohammad Zahir returns to Afghanistan (April) -- does not claim throne.
  • War continues against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
  • June-- Loya Jirga elects Hamid Karzai as President of a Transitional Government. Karzai picks members of his administration to serve until elections are held in 2004
  • July-- Haji Abdul Qadir (brother of Abdul Haq) is killed. US air raid in Uruzgan province kills approximately 48 civilians, many of them members of a wedding party

2003--

  • War against Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue -- further weakened.
  • August - NATO takes control of security in Kabul.

2004--

  • January-- Afghanistan adopts a new constitution.  The country is now a republic with 3 branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary).
  • 2004 October/November - Presidential elections are finally held after being delayed twice.  Hamid Karzai is declared the winner, with 55.4% of the votes. He is sworn in December. Karzai's strongest challenger, Yunis Qanuni, came in second with 16.3% of the votes. The elections were not without controversy; allegations of fraud and ballot stuffing were brought up by many of the presidential candidates including Yunis Qanuni. Many felt that Hamid Karzai had an unfair advantage over the other candidates as he had access to financial and logistical resources that many of the other candidates did not have. A panel of international experts was setup to investigate the matter. The panel did find evidence of voting irregularities, however, they said that it was not enough to affect the outcome of the elections.

2005--

  • Harsh winter leaves hundreds of people dead.
  • Major advances in the disarmament process announced.
  • March-- Dostum appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Commander of the Armed Forces. Yunis Qanuni announces new political alliance (March 31st). 
  • April-- Karzai welcomes the formation of Qanuni's political alliance.

2006--

  • March 1st- US President George Bush and the First Lady visit Kabul and inaugurate the newly renovated Embassy of the United States of America.

2007--

  • August- United Nations report: Opium production in Afghanistan has hit an unprecedented high.

2008--

  • July- A suicide bomb goes off at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing over 50 people.

2009--

  • February- NATO countries pledge to increase troop numbers after U.S sends an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan.
  • November- Hamid Karzai is re-elected as president - winning against Dr. Abdullah Abdullah after he withdrew from the race. The election was wrought with fraud.

2010--

  • US President Obama sends 33,000 more U.S soldiers to Afghanistan bringing the total of international troops to 150,000.
  • July- Wikileaks website publishes classified documents about the U.S military involvement in Afghanistan.
  • August- All Dutch troops pull out.
  • November- At a conference in Lisbon, NATO decides to hand over security control to Afghan forces by 2014.

2011--

  • The Afghanistan National Front, or the Jabh-e-Milli, is created by Ahmad Zia Massoud, Mohammed Mohaqiq and Abdul Rashid Dostum, their major goal being to abolish the Taliban.
  • February- The number of civilians killed hits an all time high since 2001.
  • April- A U.S pastor leads a burning of the Quran, resulting in widespread protests. UN workers and civilians are killed.
  • May - Osama bin Laden is killed in Pakistan. Afterwards, many Afghan officials are assassinated such as Mohammed Daud Daud, Ahmed Wali Karzai (President Karzai's brother), Jan Mohammed Khan, Ghulam Haider Hamidi and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.
  • October- Afghanistan and India sign a co-operation agreement as relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan worsen.
  • December- 58 people are killed in attacks at two Shi'a shrines in the country, in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif.
  • Karzai signs a pact with tribal elders and the US for US troops to stay on past 2014.
  • Over 500 prisoners, mostly Taliban members, break out of a Kandahar prison.

2012--

  • January- The Taliban opens an office in Dubai.
  • February- After the burning of Qurans at the U.S airbase in Bagram, 30 people are killed in protests. US officials say they were burned because they were being used to relay messages between Taliban prisoners.
  • March- 16 civilians are killed in a U.S rampage in Kandahar.
  • April- The Taliban announces their "Spring Offensive". Security forces kill 38 militants.
  • May- President Hollande decides to withdraw his troops early, by 2012.
  • Arsala Rahmani is assassinated. A member of the High Peace Council and former Taliban minister, he was crucial in talks between the government and the Taliban.
  • July- At a donor conference in Tokyo, $16 billion is pledged.
  • September- Bagram jail is given to the Afghan government to control, though the U.S still has control over some prisoners until 2013.

2013--

  • March- Sherkhan Farnood and Khalilullah Ferozi, two former chiefs of Kabul Bank are put in prison for their multi-million dollar fraud that nearly collapsed the entire country's economy in 2010.
  • June- Afghan army takes control over almost all NATO operations.
  • Karzai boycotts security talks with the U.S after the U.S government announces to hold direct talks with the Taliban.

2014--

  • January- The Taliban attacks a restaurant in Kabul, killing 13 foreigners (becoming the most deadly attack on foreigners since 2001).
  • February- Start of the Presidential election campaign.
  • March- The Serena Hotel is infiltrated by gunmen who kill 9 people.
  • June- The second round of voting begins, as the election between Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani are marked with fraud and deemed inconclusive.
  • September- Dr. Ghani and Dr. Abdullah sign a power sharing agreement and Dr. Ghani is sworn into office.

By Abdullah Qazi on April 10, 2005
Updated by S. Ghilzai on February 6, 2016

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