Afghanistan Since 1700

Timeline of Afghanistan since 1700.

1709: Gilzai Pashtun tribal leader Mirwais Khan (1673-1715) wrests control of Kandahar from Persian Safavid dynasty; establishes Hotaki dynasty.

1747: Pashtun commander Ahmad Shah Durrani (1722-1772) establishes the modern Afghan state with the capital in Kandahar; the Durrani dynasty eventually controls an area from Persia to India.

1803: Shah Shuja Durrani (1780-1842), brother of former rulers Zaman Shah and Shah Mahmoud, becomes leader amid civil tensions.

1809: Shah Shuja signs a treaty of alliance with the British East India Company against a possible Franco-Russian invasion of India; weeks later Shah Shuja is deposed by Shah Mahmoud and the rival Barakzai clan.

1826: Dost Mohammad Khan (1793-1863) assumes rule in Kabul as the Barakzai clan defeats the Durrani clan.

1839: British forces occupy Afghanistan, oust Dost Mohammad and restore Shah Shuja as ruler; First Anglo-Afghan War ensues as rebellion spreads across the country; Dost Mohammad surrenders and is exiled to India.

1842: Afghan fighters loyal to Dost Mohammad kill 4,500 British and Indian troops as they retreat from Kabul; Shah Shuja is assassinated and the Barakzai clan takes power.

18781880: British forces invade Afghanistan in the Second Anglo-Afghan War after Emir Sher Ali Khan (1825-1879) strengthens ties with Russia; after Sher Ali flees and dies, his son and successor Mohammad Yaqub Khan (1849-1923) signs the Treaty of Gandamak giving Britain control over Afghan foreign affairs; Yaqub Khan abdicates and Sher Ali’s cousin Abd Al-Rahman (1844-1901) becomes emir.

1919: Emir Amanullah Khan (1892-1960) declares independence from Britain; Third Anglo-AfghanWar erupts after Afghan troops cross border into British-ruled India; fighting ends with the Treaty of Rawalpindi granting Afghanistan independence and giving Britain friendly relations with the country.

1923: Amanullah Khan promulgates Afghanistan’s first constitution, establishing a monarchy and limiting powers of tribal leaders.

19261929: Political and social reforms trigger popular unrest; a tribal revolt forces Amanullah Khan to abdicate.

1929: British-backed former general Mohammad Nadir Shah (1883-1933) of the Barakzai clan declares himself king; adopts a new constitution in 1931 granting tribal leaders more authority.

1933: Nadir Shah is assassinated in a family feud; his son Mohammad Zahir Shah (1914-2007) is crowned king; during a forty-year reign he maintains Afghan unity against foreign threats and develops the country with aid from the United States and the Soviet Union.

1953: General Mohammad Daoud Khan (1909-1978) becomes prime minister and strengthens relations with the Soviet Union; he introduces controversial social reforms such as abolishing the practice of keeping women from public view.

1963: Daoud Khan resigns after his vision for a Greater Pashtunistan prompts tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

1965: Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) holds first congress.

1973: Daoud Khan overthrows Zahir, abolishes the Afghan monarchy and declares himself president of the Afghan Republic; aims to limit dependency on the Soviet Union and weaken the country’s leftist groups.

April 27, 1978: PDPA coup d’etat overthrows and kills Daoud Khan in the Saur Revolution; Nur Mohammad Taraki (1917-1979) becomes president; new regime is paralyzed by infighting and violent opposition from mujahideen rebels.

February 14, 1979: Gunmen kidnap and kill U.S. Ambassador Adolph Dubs; soon afterwards the U.S. cuts all assistance to the Afghan government.

July 3, 1979: President Jimmy Carter authorizes Operation Cyclone, providing non-military support for the mujahideen including aid for propaganda and medical supplies.

December 1979: Following internal coups, an assassination attempt on a PDPA president and growing resistance to the PDPA across the country, Soviet forces eventually numbering 100,000 invade Afghanistan to stabilize the regime and bolster the communist government against the mujahideen; Babrak Karmal (1929-1996) becomes president.

1980: Disparate mujahideen militias attack Soviet forces; Carter authorizes the CIA to deliver arms to the mujahideen, who also receive military support from Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia and European states, among others.

January 1981: President Ronald Reagan increases aid to the mujahideen, totaling more than $3 billion over the next six years.

1982: The number of Afghan refugees fleeing to Pakistan and Iran reaches nearly 4.5 million.

1983: Congress passes joint Resolution 237 calling on the president to “support the people of Afghanistan in their struggle to be free from foreign domination” and “provide the Afghans, upon request, with material assistance” and pursue a negotiated settlement for an end to war.

1984: Osama bin Laden (1957-2011) joins fellow Saudis and other Arabs in Afghanistan to fight alongside the mujahideen.

1985: Mujahideen factions in Peshawar form alliance against Soviet forces; approximately half of the Afghan population is now displaced by the war.

1986: CIA provides mujahideen with Stinger missiles to shoot down Soviet helicopter gunships, shifting the balance of the war.

November 1986: Afghan secret police head Mohammad Najibullah (1947-1996) replaces Babrak Karmal as PDPA leader; becomes Afghan president the following year.

1988: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev announces the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan;Soviet Union, Afghanistan, the U.S. and Pakistan reach a peace accord in Geneva; bin Laden forms Al-Qaeda at a meeting of jihadists in Peshawar, Pakistan.

1989: Soviet troop withdrawal is complete in mid-February; an estimated 1.5 million Afghans and 25,000 Soviet troops were killed during the ten-year occupation; war continues as the mujahideen push to defeat Najibullah; bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia and resettles in Sudan in 1991.

1992: Guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud (1953-2001) leads mujahideen into Kabul and deposes President Najibullah.

19921995: A power-sharing agreement makes Burhanuddin Rabbani (1940-2011) president; Afghanistan collapses into civil war amid fighting between mujahideen factions loosely pitting Islamist group Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1947-) against Massoud’s fighters.

November 1994: The Taliban, a mainly Pashtun mujahideen faction headed by spiritual leader and commander Mullah Omar, rise to prominence when it enters Kandahar to fight criminal gangs.

1996: Bin Laden is expelled from Sudan and relocates to Jalalabad, forges close relations with the Taliban against Massoud’s Northern Alliance and issues a declaration of war against the U.S. for basing troops in Saudi Arabia; Taliban forces capture Kabul, execute Najibullah, and establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan; Taliban impose draconian Islamic law, including banning women from public life and reintroducing stoning and amputation as punishments.

1997: Pakistan recognizes the Taliban government, which controls nearly two-thirds of Afghanistan; Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates follow suit.

1998: Taliban massacre at least two thousand civilians of the Hazara ethnic minority in Mazar-e-Sharif and kill seven Iranian diplomats stationed in the city; Tehran moves troops to the Afghan border; bin Laden and Egyptian militant Ayman Al-Zawahiri announce formation of World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders; in a coordinated attack, Al-Qaeda terrorists bomb U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; President Bill Clinton retaliates with cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist compounds in Afghanistan and Sudan; bin Laden is indicted in the U.S. for his role in the Africa bombings.

1999: United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 1267 imposing financial sanctions on the Taliban regime.

March 2001: Taliban destroy sixth-century Great Buddhas of Bamiyan statues as “gods of infidels.”

September 9, 2001: Two suspected Al-Qaeda operatives posing as a TV crew assassinate Ahmad Shah Massoud in a suicide bombing.

September 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four commercial airliners and crash them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people; President George W. Bush blames Al-Qaeda for the deadliest attack on American territory in history.

October 7, 2001: U.S. and British forces invade Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom after the Taliban refuse to extradite bin Laden; the military coalition expands to include Turkey, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, France and others.

November 13, 2001: Airstrikes and ground attacks by coalition forces enable the Northern Alliance to capture Kabul and topple the Taliban regime.

December 5, 2001: Afghan leaders meeting in Germany adopt the Bonn Agreement forming an interim Afghan administration with Hamid Karzai (1957-) as chairman.

December 7, 2001: Kandahar falls to the Northern Alliance, followed by Zabul province two days later; Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces retreat to the Tora Bora mountain range and eventually to Pakistan; bin Laden’s whereabouts are unknown.

December 20, 2001: UN Security Council Resolution 1386 establishes the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), tasked with helping an Afghan interim government maintain security.

2002: A loya jirga appoints Karzai interim president of the Afghan Transitional Administration; high-ranking Taliban officials surrender to the new government, and are granted amnesty.

March 20, 2003: U.S. launches invasion of Iraq after accusing Saddam Hussein of amassing weapons of mass destruction and coordinating with Al-Qaeda.

May 1, 2003: U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declares an end to “major combat” in Afghanistan.

August 11, 2003: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) takes control of the international peacekeeping force in Kabul.

January 26, 2004: Karzai ratifies Afghanistan’s new constitution after it is drafted and adopted by a loya jirga.

October 9, 2004: Karzai wins the first direct presidential election in Afghan history with 55.4 percent of the vote from a field of eighteen candidates.

May 23, 2005: George W. Bush and Karzai sign the Joint Declaration of the United States—Afghan Strategic Partnership, which commits the U.S. to long-term security, reconstruction and democracy building in Afghanistan.

September 18, 2005: Six million Afghans vote in elections for parliament and provincial councils; despite allegations of fraud, U.N. monitors confirm the validity of the results; 27 percent of the members of parliament are women.

December 8, 2005: NATO agrees on an expanded role for the ISAF, enabling it to take over full command of international military forces from the U.S.-led coalition.

April 15, 2007: Human Rights Watch says nearly 670 Afghan civilians were killed in armed attacks by Taliban insurgents and 230 by NATO airstrikes in 2006, making it the “deadliest year” since the 2001 invasion.

July 11, 2008: U.S. airstrike kills forty-seven Afghans in a wedding party, prompting Afghan government anger over rising collateral civilian deaths.

September 9, 2008: Bush announces an additional 4,500 U.S. troops to respond to the uptick in Taliban-related violence and roadside bombs.

February 17, 2009: President Barack Obama orders the deployment of an additional 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

March 27, 2009: Obama announces a new Afghanistan strategy that links success in Afghanistan to stabilization in Pakistan; it includes an increase in U.S. security assistance to Pakistan and deployment of an additional 4,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

August 20, 2009: Allegations of fraud delay the results of presidential elections; preliminary results show Karzai winning with 54.6 percent; Independent Election Commission (IEC) declares Karzai the winner in November after his rival, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah (1960-) withdraws before runoff balloting.

December 1, 2009: Obama announces the temporary “surge” deployment of an additional 30,000 U.S. troops for a total of 100,000 to slow Taliban insurgents.

December 30, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber, posing as an informant, infiltrates Forward Operating Base Chapman near Khost, killing at least eight people including seven CIA officers.

February 13, 2010: Fifteen thousand NATO and Afghan troops launch Operation Moshtarak against Taliban strongholds in Helmand province, the biggest offensive since the start of the war.

November 20, 2010: NATO Lisbon Summit Declaration envisions Afghan security forces “assuming full responsibility for security” in the country.

May 2, 2011: U.S. Navy SEAL team kills bin Laden at a hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan; Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri (1951-) is later declared Al-Qaeda’s new leader.

June 22, 2011: Obama announces a U.S. pullout from Afghanistan by 2014; an estimated 1,500 American soldiers have died in the war.

September 20, 2011: Taliban suicide bomber assassinates Burhanuddin Rabbani, leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a key mediator in talks with the Taliban.

October 4, 2011: Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sign a strategic partnership agreement in New Delhi that outlines India’s financial, development and security commitment in Afghanistan.

November 19, 2011: A loya jirga agrees to peace talks with the Taliban and endorses a strategic agreement with the U.S. that would maintain some U.S. forces beyond 2014.

January 3, 2012: Taliban announce they will open a political office in Qatar for future negotiations, dropping a demand that U.S. troops withdraw before the start of peace talks.

March 11, 2012: U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales kills sixteen civilians, including nine children, in Kandahar; a U.S. military court later sentences him to life in prison.

May 13, 2012: Unknown gunman assassinates Arsala Rahmani (1937-2012), a former Taliban leader and member of the High Peace Council.

May 21, 2012: ISAF member countries meeting at a NATO summit in Chicago reaffirm the Lisbon timetable to withdraw foreign troops by the end of 2014.

February 4, 2013: Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari agree to cooperate against Taliban resurgence.

June 18, 2013: NATO forces hand over command of military and security operations in the country to the Afghan army; an estimated 3,400 foreign troops and 20,000 Afghan civilians have died in the 2001 to 2013 period.

June 19, 2013: Karzai suspends talks on a security agreement with the U.S. after the Obama administration and the Taliban announce direct talks in Qatar excluding the Afghan government.

April 5, 2014: Afghans vote in presidential and provincial elections.

April 26, 2014: IEC declares Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani (1949-) as top vote-getters in presidential elections to compete in a second-round runoff; commission estimates nearly seven million Afghans voted, with nearly 45 percent for Abdullah and 31.5 percent for Ghani.

May 27, 2014: Obama announces that 9,800 American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to support Afghan and NATO allies, and will withdraw by 2016.

June 14, 2014: Amid violence Afghans vote in a second round of presidential elections; IEC estimates voter turnout at seven million; results are inconclusive as accusations of vote fraud emerge.

September 21, 2014: Ghani and Abdullah sign a power-sharing deal brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry that names Ghani president and Abdullah the country’s chief executive officer.

September 29, 2014: Ghani is sworn in as Afghanistan’s second elected president.

September 30, 2014: U.S. and Afghanistan sign long-term security agreement allowing American and NATO troops to remain in the country after the formal end of the international combat mission at end of year.