Afghanistan timeline

Listed below are the key events since the attacks of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent US invasion and toppling of the Taliban government, to the first elections to be held in Afghanistan since, scheduled for 9 October 2004.

The US accused Usama bin Ladin of the 9-11 attacks
The US accused Usama bin Ladin of the 9-11 attacks



11 September: The US is attacked in New York and Washington. US President George Bush blames Usama bin Ladin and his al-Qaida group in Afghanistan. The US demands the Taliban government hand over Bin Ladin, refusing any compromise deals.


29 September: Afghan opposition led by the Northern Alliance backs former king Zahir Shah against the Taliban.


7 October: War. The US, along with its main ally Britain, launches air strikes against Afghanistan, targeting the capital, Kabul, and the cities of Kandahar and Jalabad.


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


20 November: Afghan opposition groups headed by the Northern Alliance agree to talks in Bonn, Germany, to discuss a post-Taliban government.


25 November: The strategic city of Kunduz falls to Uzbek regional commander lord General Muhammad Daud.


5 December: Afghan opposition groups agree deal in Bonn for interim government.


7 December: Taliban falls. Taliban gives up its last stronghold – and spiritual home – Kandahar, but leader Mulla Umar evades capture.


Hamid Karzai was picked as the interim Afghan president 

Hamid Karzai was picked as the 
interim Afghan president 

22 December: Hamid Karzai, an Afghan exile, member of the Pashtun tribe and consultant to Unocol, an American oil company, is sworn in as president of a 30-member interim power-sharing government.


24 December: Regional commander General Abd al-Rashid Dustum, a major opposition leader, is given a minister without portfolio role in the provisional government.




4 January: First contingent of foreign peacekeepers making up the UN-sponsored International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrives in Afghanistan as part of a post-war stabilisation force.


20 January: An international donors’ conference in Japan pledges aid of $4.5 billion for Afghanistan (Afghan experts had asked for at least $10 billion for reconstruction and development).


24 January: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visits Karzai, announcing his attention to aid democratic development and plan for elections in Afghanistan.


4 March: Intense fighting rages on in parts of Afghanistan with US forces battling Taliban remnants. Seven US soldiers killed and 10 wounded when army helicopter shot down.


17 April: Former king Zahir Shah, 87, returns to Afghanistan from exile in Italy, making no claim to his throne. Pashtun royalist Karzai calls Shah “a unifying figure”.


12 May: UN Security Council extends mandate of ISAF until December 2002.


Afghan delegates attend the Loya Jirga or Grand Assembly

Afghan delegates attend the
Loya Jirga or Grand Assembly


11 June: The (grand council) of Afghanistan convenes, officially electing Karzai as interim head of state. Karzai picks members of his administration which is to serve until elections in 2003 (later delayed to October 2004).


1 July: About 48 people are killed and more than 60 injured when a US plane drops a bomb on an Afghan wedding party. The US Air Force claims it mistook celebratory gun fire as hostile.


6 July: Vice-President Hajji Abd al-Qadir is assassinated by Taliban gunmen in Kabul.


2 September: Karzai narrowly escapes an assassination attempt in Kandahar, his home town.


8 December: Karzai and Pakistani Turkmen leaders sign agreement paving way for construction of gas pipeline through Afghanistan, carrying Turkmen gas to Pakistan.


19 December: The Asian Development Bank resumes lending to Afghanistan after 23-year suspension. The World Bank approves interim discussions to cancel debt owed by Afghanistan.




24 February: Juma Muhammad Muhammadi, Afghan minister for mines and industries, dies in a plane crash off the Arabian sea of Pakistan, along with several others.


30 March: Blast hits UN compound in Kabul, with two killed. About 5000 international peacekeepers protect the city.


Taliban begins major offensive in Afghanistan

Taliban begins major offensive 
in Afghanistan

29 April: Ousted Taliban begins major offensive against ISAF forces.


1 May: US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that major combat is over in Afghanistan (echoing President George Bush’s announcement the same day of an end to major combat operations in Iraq).


6 June: A car bomb attack against a military transport bus kills up to six international peacekeepers with more than a dozen injuried.


7 June: Fierce clashes between Taliban fighters and government forces in Kandahar province leave 49 people dead.


11 August: Nato (North American Treaty Organisation) takes over control of ISAF security from the UN in Kabul. It is Nato’s first ever operational commitment outside Europe.

November 3: Announcement of new constitution to be unveiled shortly. [Behind the scenes there is fierce infighting among ethnic groups over the provisions of the constitution].


23 November: US troops involved in heavy fighting against opposition neo-Taliban groups. Five US special forces soldiers are killed when their helicopter is shot down.


6 December: US bombing kills nine Afghan children. US later claims they were Taliban fighters.


13 December: The opening session of the second Loya Jirga since invasion, begins.




4 January: Loya Jirga finally agrees to constitution to be announced “within days”.


26 January: Loya Jirga announces new constitution which awards the president sweeping powers and allows parliament the power to appoint ministers.


15 March: Afghanistan secures $8.2 billion in aid over three years from donor countries (after failing to receive much of the original aid of $4.5 billion pledged in Japan in 2002).


Herat’s Ismail Khan has beenweakened by political moves

Herat’s Ismail Khan has been
weakened by political moves

6 April: Fighting in the north-west between a regional commander and the powerful provincial governor Ismail Khan of Herat erupts. Khan, considered a rival of Karzai’s, requests assistance from the government.


6 June: Presidential elections are delayed from June and announced for October. Because of a lack of regional candidates, parliamentary polls are delayed until next year.


2 September: Taliban begins new offensive of violence and intimidation in the country aimed at preventing or disrupting upcoming elections.


12 September: The Afghan electoral commission announces 17 candidates on the ballot to run for the office of presidency. Interim president Karzai is considered the favourite, but chief rival and former education minister Yunis Qanuni is also on the ballot.


18 September: Rockets are fired at helicopter carrying Karzai, but miss as it comes in to land at Gardez province, south-east Afghanistan.


9 October: Afghans go to the polls to elect a president.

Source : Al Jazeera

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