Sunday, October 4, 2015


Capital:  Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Population:  31,889,923 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality:    noun: Afghan(s)
adjective: Afghan

Ethnic groups:   Pashtun , Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, Baloch, others

Religions: Muslim , other 1%

Languages: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) , Pashto (official) , Turkic languages (primarily Uzbek and Turkmen) , 30 minor languages (primarily Balochi and Pashai) much bilingualism

Independence: 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)

Administrative divisions: 34 provinces (velayat, singular – velayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamian, Daykondi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghowr, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabol, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khowst, Konar, Kondoz, Laghman, Lowgar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Nurestan, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Panjshir, Parvan, Samangan, Sar-e Pol, Takhar, Vardak, Zabol

Constitution: new constitution drafted 14 December 2003-4 January 2004; signed 16 January 2004

Legal system: based on mixed civil and Shari’a law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Waterways: 1,200 km (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2007)

Natural gas – proved reserves: 47.53 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Industries: small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement; handwoven carpets; natural gas, coal, copper

Agriculture – products: opium, wheat, fruits, nuts; wool, mutton, sheepskins, lambskins

Labor force – by occupation:

agriculture: 80%
industry: 10%
services: 10% (2004 est.)

International organization participation: ADB, CP, ECO, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO……………………………………


Afghanistan regains independence after third war against British forces trying to bring country under their sphere of influence.


Afghanistan’s last monarch, Zahir Shah, came from a long line of Pashtun rulers

1933 – Ascends throne aged 19, introduces reforms

1973 – Deposed in coup

2001 – Endorses Afghan renewal plan

2007 – Dies, aged 92

Amanullah proclaims himself king and attempts to introduce social reforms leading to opposition from conservative forces.
Amanullah flees after civil unrest over his reforms.

Zahir Shah becomes king and Afghanistan remains a monarchy for next four decades.


General Mohammed Daud becomes prime minister. Turns to Soviet Union for economic and military assistance. Introduces a number of social reforms, such as abolition of purdah (practice of secluding women from public view).

Mohammed Daud forced to resign as prime minister.
Constitutional monarchy introduced – but leads to political polarisation and power struggles.

Mohammed Daud seizes power in a coup and declares a republic. Tries to play off USSR against Western powers. His style alienates left-wing factions who join forces against him.


General Daud is overthrown and killed in a coup by leftist People’s Democratic Party. But party’s Khalq and Parcham factions fall out, leading to purging or exile of most Parcham leaders. At the same time, conservative Islamic and ethnic leaders who objected to social changes begin armed revolt in countryside.


Power struggle between leftist leaders Hafizullah Amin and Nur Mohammed Taraki in Kabul won by Amin. Revolts in countryside continue and Afghan army faces collapse. Soviet Union finally sends in troops to help remove Amin, who is executed.


Babrak Karmal, leader of the People’s Democratic Party Parcham faction, is installed as ruler, backed by Soviet troops. But anti-regime resistance intensifies with various mujahideen groups fighting Soviet forces. US, Pakistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia supply money and arms.

Mujahideen come together in Pakistan to form alliance against Soviet forces. Half of Afghan population now estimated to be displaced by war, with many fleeing to neighbouring Iran or Pakistan. New Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says he will withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

US begins supplying mujahideen with Stinger missiles, enabling them to shoot down Soviet helicopter gunships. Babrak Karmal replaced by Najibullah as head of Soviet-backed regime.

Afghanistan, USSR, the US and Pakistan sign peace accords and Soviet Union begins pulling out troops.
Last Soviet troops leave, but civil war continues as mujahideen push to overthrow Najibullah
US and USSR agree to end military aid to both sides.
Resistance closes in on Kabul and Najibullah falls from power. Rival militias vie for influence.
Mujahideen factions agree on formation of a government with ethnic Tajik, Burhanuddin Rabbani, proclaimed president.
Factional contests continue and the Pashtun-dominated Taleban emerge as major challenge to the Rabbani government.
Taleban seize control of Kabul and introduce hardline version of Islam, banning women from work, and introducing Islamic punishments, which include stoning to death and amputations. Rabbani flees to join anti-Taleban northern alliance.

Taleban recognised as legitimate rulers by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Most other countries continue to regard Rabbani as head of state. Taleban now control about two-thirds of country.


Earthquakes kill thousands of people. US launches missile strikes at suspected bases of militant Osama bin Laden, accused of bombing US embassies in Africa.

UN imposes an air embargo and financial sanctions to force Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden for trial.
January – UN imposes further sanctions on Taleban to force them to hand over Osama bin Laden.
March – Taleban blow up giant Buddha statues in defiance of international efforts to save them.

April – Mullah Mohammad Rabbani, the second most powerful Taleban leader after the supreme commander Mullah Mohammad Omar, dies of liver cancer.


May – Taleban order religious minorities to wear tags identifying themselves as non-Muslims, and Hindu women to veil themselves like other Afghan women.


September – Eight foreign aid workers on trial in the Supreme Court for promoting Christianity. This follows months of tension between Taleban and aid agencies.


Ahmad Shah Masood, legendary guerrilla and leader of the main opposition to the Taleban, is killed, apparently by assassins posing as journalists.


October – US, Britain launch air strikes against Afghanistan after Taleban refuse to hand over Osama bin Laden, held responsible for the September 11 attacks on America.


November – Opposition forces seize Mazar-e Sharif and within days march into Kabul and other key cities.

5 December – Afghan groups agree deal in Bonn for interim government.
7 December – Taleban finally give up last stronghold of Kandahar, but Mullah Omar remains at large.
22 December – Pashtun royalist Hamid Karzai is sworn in as head of a 30-member interim power-sharing government.
January – First contingent of foreign peacekeepers in place.
April – Former king Zahir Shah returns, but says he makes no claim to the throne.

May – UN Security Council extends mandate of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) until December 2002. Allied forces continue their military campaign to find remnants of al-Qaeda and Taleban forces in the south-east.


June – Loya Jirga, or grand council, elects Hamid Karzai as interim head of state. Karzai picks members of his administration which is to serve until 2004.

July – Vice-President Haji Abdul Qadir is assassinated by gunmen in Kabul.
September – Karzai narrowly escapes an assassination attempt in Kandahar, his home town.

December – President Karzai and Pakistani, Turkmen leaders sign deal to build gas pipeline through Afghanistan, carrying Turkmen gas to Pakistan.


August – Nato takes control of security in Kabul, its first-ever operational commitment outside Europe.

January – Grand assembly – or Loya Jirga – adopts new constitution which provides for strong presidency.
March – Afghanistan secures $8.2bn (£4.5bn) in aid over three years.

September – Rocket fired at helicopter carrying President Karzai misses its target; it is the most serious attempt on his life since September 2002.


October-November – Presidential elections: Hamid Karzai is declared the winner, with 55% of the vote. He is sworn in, amid tight security, in December.

February – Several hundred people are killed in the harshest winter weather in a decade.
May – Details emerge of alleged prisoner abuse by US forces at detention centres.
September – First parliamentary and provincial elections in more than 30 years.
December – New parliament holds its inaugural session.

Militants change tactics and follow the lead of Iraqi insurgents

64 suicide attacks January 2005 – August 2006

181 deaths (not including suicide bombers)

August 3, 2006 – 21 killed when suicide car bomber rams a Nato convoy in Kandahar

June 1, 2005 – Suicide bomber in police uniform kills 20 in a Kandahar mosque

February – International donors meeting in London pledge more than $10bn (£5.7bn) in reconstruction aid over five years.
May – Violent anti-US protests in Kabul, the worst since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, erupt after a US military vehicle crashes and kills several people.
May-June – Scores of people are killed in battles between Taleban fighters and Afghan and coalition forces in the south during an offensive known as Operation Mountain Thrust.
July onwards – Nato troops take over the leadership of military operations in the south. Fierce fighting ensues as the forces try to extend government control in areas where Taleban influence is strong.
October – Nato assumes responsibility for security across the whole of Afghanistan, taking command in the east from a US-led coalition force.
March – Pakistan says it has arrested Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, the third most senior member of the Taleban’s leadership council. Nato and Afghan forces launch Operation Achilles, said to be their largest offensive to date against the Taleban in the south. There is heavy fighting in Helmand province.
Controversy over Italian deal with Taleban, which secures the release of five rebels in exchange for kidnapped reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo. His Afghan driver and translator are beheaded.
May – Taleban’s most senior military commander, Mullah Dadullah, is killed during fighting with US, Afghan forces. Afghan and Pakistani troops clash on the border in the worst violence in decades in a simmering border dispute.
July – Former king Zahir Shah dies
August – Opium production has soared to a record high, the UN reports.
October – Fifteen are put to death in the second confirmed set of executions since the fall of the Taleban in 2001.
November – A suicide attack on a parliamentary delegation kills at least 41 in northern town of Baghlan, in the country’s worst such attack.
December – Two senior EU and UN envoys are accused by Afghan officials of making contact with the Taleban and expelled from the country.
February – Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is pulled out of Afghanistan after serving 10 weeks in action in Helmand province.