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On 18 June , President Karzai announced the launch of the fifth and final tranche of transition. Once this decision has been fully implemented, the 11 remaining provinces will fully enter into transition and Afghan forces will be in the lead for security across the whole country. For transition to be successful, the Afghan National Security Forces, under effective Afghan civilian control, need to assume their security responsibility on a sustainable and irreversible basis — albeit with some level of continued support from ISAF.

The transition implementation can take up to 18 months for each area, depending on conditions on the ground. These principles, which have since been fully incorporated in the transition implementation process, include:. PRTs have evolved, shifting their efforts from direct delivery to providing technical assistance and building the capacity of provincial and district governments to provide essential services to the Afghan people. By the time transition is completed, all PRTs will have handed over their functions to the Afghan government, traditional development actors, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and will have phased out.

President Karzai, having won a second presidential term, expresses his ambition to see the Afghan National Security Forces take the lead security responsibility across Afghanistan by the end of Afghan New Year; President Karzai announces the first set of Afghan provinces and districts to start the transition process.

President Karzai announces the second set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities to start the transition process. President Karzai announces the fourth set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities to start the transition process. Despite brewing problems, Afghanistan was at peace internally and with its neighbours until the late s. At the time, it was easy to fall in love with the striking beauty of the landscape and the populace and even the dignified poverty that existed in a country of 15 million inhabitants. Afghans themselves recall pre times as times of peace and harmony when Kabul was known as the Paris of Central Asia.

For millennia, Afghan nationalism and idiosyncrasies developed amid an unusual variety of foreign influences.

A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan

Due to a variety of invaders over the centuries, political, economic, and cultural influences Persian, Hellenistic, Mongol, Turkish, Central Asian, and Hindu and religious influences Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Islam were very much present to different degrees in different parts of modern Afghanistan.

Persian influence predominated in the area until when Ahmad Durrani, a Pashtun of the Abdali tribe, created the Afghan Durrani Empire Thus, the Afghanistan we know today only became a nation in the midth Century to the east of Persia modern Iran. Afghanistan was ruled by Emirs or Shahs until Zahir Shah was deposed after forty years of rule and the monarchy came to an end in In its heyday, the Durrani Empire extended Afghan control from Mashhad in north-eastern Iran in the west to Kashmir and Delhi in northern India in the east, and from the Amu Darya river in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south.

According to Louis Dupree, an American anthropologist and archaeologist who was a scholar of Afghan history and culture, next to the Ottoman Empire, the Durrani was the greatest Muslim empire in the second half of the 18th Century Dupree, , p. In the 80 years starting in , this led to three Anglo-Afghan wars fought at such great cost in terms of lives and treasure that they have become legendary. While Ahmad Shah created an empire, it was Abdur Rahman who is remembered as the founder of modern Afghanistan.

In , after the second Anglo-Afghan war, he became Emir and established a centralised state with control over territory covering present-day Afghanistan. This territory fell within delineated borders, which he negotiated with Russia, British India, and Persia. To eliminate the existing decentralised government system in which the regions and the tribes historically maintained a high degree of autonomy — a system that dated from the time of the Persian emperor Cyrus I — Abdur Rahman had to resort to brutal suppression of ethnic tribes including fellow Pashtuns. Upon assuming power, Abdur Rahman ceded control of the Khyber Pass and various areas of what is Pakistan today to Britain and agreed to conduct its diplomatic affairs and foreign policy in accordance with British interests.

Established at the end of the Great Game, the line in fact established Afghanistan as a buffer zone between British and Russian imperial interests in the region. The Durand Line has been a constant source of problems between the two countries. While the British continued to influence foreign affairs, Abdur Rahman focused on building the state, including the adoption of a legal and tax system, the improvement of the civil service, the manufacturing of consumer goods and of new agricultural tools, and the establishment of the first modern hospital.

In building the state, Abdur Rahman was particularly keen to keep powerful neighbours — whether friends or foes — outside his kingdom, which he did by resisting railways, telegraphs, and other such innovations of the time. In this process, he managed to create some degree of stability, which his people had not known before, but it came at the cost of strong government centralisation and harsh punishments for crime and corruption. His policies were not popular, and he was assassinated in Amanullah, his favourite son, succeeded him as Emir and was the last of thirteen rulers of the Emirate of Afghanistan , since he appointed himself Shah King in , founding the Kingdom of Afghanistan Immediately upon assuming his role as Emir, Amanullah launched a surprise attack on British India, unleashing the month-long third Anglo-Afghan War in May Dupree noted that it was at that time that the Soviets started providing subsidies to Afghanistan and sent Amanullah a gift of thirteen airplanes plus pilots, mechanics, transportation specialists, and telegraph operators.

In the mids, the Soviets also laid telephone lines and started building roads Dupree, , p. To honour the triumph, Afghanistan celebrates that day as Independence Day. Amanullah was a reformer and after assuming the throne early, he pushed for reforms to modernise his country. The constitution made elementary education compulsory for all citizens, gave all subjects of Afghanistan equal rights and duties according to Sharia and the Laws of the State, and made them all eligible for employment in the civil service. The U. Army Corps of Engineers inspect several bridges being built in the Zabul province of Afghanistan.

Credit: U. At the time, about 80 percent of Afghans belonged to the Hanafi Sunni sect, the most liberal of the Sunni groups Dupree, , pp ; Rashid, a. Nadir Shah managed to pacify the south but needed to improve roads and communications to deal with hit-and-run Russian operations in Afghanistan to fight Uzbek insurgents that took refuge in Afghanistan. Afghanistan also maintained neutrality during World War Two. Given its location, between British and Soviet spheres of influence, this was understandable despite the increasingly close ties the country had with Germany.

In the aftermath of the war, Afghanistan provided an economic battleground for Cold War rivalries, with both the Soviet Union and the United States providing large amounts of aid in efforts to influence Afghan policies as discussed below.

Daoud tried to establish closer relations with the Soviet Union while also courting the United States for aid. A year later, he passed the first law encouraging foreign investment to offset the lack of internal financial and technical resources needed for the path of modernisation he was embarking on. In , Zahid Shah asked Daoud to step down. The areas on both sides of the Durand Line separating Pakistan and Afghanistan have seen a lot of history since then. They have also been areas of heavy US drone attacks, which led Pakistan once again to close the border in , after a dispute with the United States.

For the last ten years of his rule, Zahir Shah took a more active role in government. In , he promulgated a liberal constitution providing for a bicameral legislature, with one-third of the deputies appointed by the king, one-third by the people, and the remainder by the provincial assemblies Dupree, , pp. While his efforts at building democracy did not go far and unofficial extremist leftist parties thrived under his rule, his cousin and former prime minister, Mohammad Daoud, deposed Zahid Shah in and ended the monarchy. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in was allegedly at the request of, and in support of, the weak communist government in power in Kabul.

Afghanistan was to become the last political battleground of the Cold War. The mujahedeen — with heavy financing from the CIA — announced a jihad against the Soviets. The Soviet-Afghan war was fought in rural areas. This led to their destruction but did not much affect Kabul or other large cities in the country. Soviet paratrooper in Afghanistan during the Soviet Afghan War. Opium production and trade fuelled the civil war and weakened the Kabul government. These were drawn from madrassas or Islamic theology schools set up in refugee camps in Pakistan.

The Taliban grew out of Kandahar, a violent and chaotic city in the south controlled by corrupt and ruthless commanders or warlords not affiliated with the interim government set up in Kabul in after the Soviet Union collapsed and the government of Najibullah crumbled. The Taliban took power in Kabul in and served as de facto rulers of the country until the end of when they fled the city, almost three months after the start of Operation Enduring Freedom.

By then, arms trafficking and smuggling were widespread, and the only domestically produced exports were narcotics and some illegal timber and gemstones. By , when the communist government took over, the role of the state and its interaction with the private sector had changed in fundamental ways, from the state subsidising private industries in the s at the time of Amanullah Shah, a strong reformer, to socialist policies and five-year development plans adopted in the late s by Zahir Shah, the last king.

Impressed by the economic developments in Soviet Central Asia, India, and Turkey and blaming the private sector for a lack of funding and poor technical and managerial capabilities, Daoud decided that direct government intervention was necessary to hasten economic growth. It was thus that Daoud formally introduced five-year development plans, the first one covering the years Just as it had in the private sector, poor technical and managerial skills in the government hounded both this plan and its successors spanning the period The Soviets also offered barter trade where goods rather than money were exchanged, guaranteeing higher prices for Afghan exports of wool and raw cotton.

In response to Soviet aid, the Americans increased their own assistance levels, and aid transfers from both countries then rose into the early s Dupree, , p. The five-year plans consisted of lists of projects designed to solicit foreign aid, but they did not establish priorities nor did they provide reliable cost estimates for the projects USG, , pp. In a landlocked country like Afghanistan, infrastructure is critical for its economic development, and that was the focus of development plans after World War Two. Rather than an integrated strategy for economic development — where synergies between the projects could be exploited to increase productivity — the development plans led to a fragmented strategy where isolated projects here and there had only limited impact.

While the earlier five-year development plans relied heavily on Soviet foreign aid and experts, the latter relied largely on US foreign aid and experts. In both cases, national ownership over policies and programs was limited, and Soviet and US experts designed plans with little knowledge of local conditions. By , these taxes represented just one percent of total government revenues. Tax collection was hindered by difficult geography, poor tax administration, and widespread corruption USG, , p.

Thus, the government relied mostly on taxes on exports and imports, which were easier to collect. The economic cost of the Pakistan border closure was high despite the establishment of a new Iranian transit route a year later. Prices, especially of food, increased by over percent because of this problem Dupree, , Chapter 23 and pp. Pakistan reacted by seeking Soviet assistance in the exploration of oil and gas. These policies, together with the closure of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, had all kinds of political and economic repercussions, the most important of which was the disruption of American exports of machinery and supplies to Afghanistan that rotted in Pakistani ports and largely increased Afghan trade dependence on the Soviet Union Fitzgerald and Gould, , pp.

The pendulum between state and private sector-led development shifted once again as Daoud stepped down in The new government believed that the private sector should play a larger role in industrialisation and other productive activities. The government took some measures to improve the business climate in the country, including the liberalisation of imports of intermediate and capital goods to promote local industry, and passed a foreign and domestic private investment law in He nationalised all banks, and the government assumed control of many industries previously held by Bank-i-Melli, the private development bank.

Like the first and second plans, the fourth five-year plan focused predominantly on large-scale, long-maturing projects. By — even three years before the communist coup — most industrial concerns were state owned Dupree, , pp. With several good harvests, agriculture had recovered from the drought.

Despite the emphasis of the development plans on developing infrastructure and industrialisation, agriculture production remained the engine of the Afghan economy.

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In the late s, agricultural production was vibrant and the country had achieved food security at least under normal weather conditions. Afghanistan was famous as an exporter of fresh and dried fruits, karakul skins, carpets, and cotton. In the south, Kandahar acted as the main trading centre and as a market for fresh and dried fruits, grains, sheep, wool, cotton, and tobacco. The city had plants for packing, canning, and drying fruits, and for manufacturing woollen cloth, felt, and silk. In the south, the Helmand Valley irrigation program survived after initial problems discussed below and, by the mids, had opened-up thousands of acres of land in Helmand and Kandahar provinces — where most of the opium is now produced and where most surge troops were sent to fight the resurgent Taliban in In the late s, these provinces were full of green oases with trees, vineyards, and orchards pomegranates, apricots, cherries, figs, peaches, and mulberries that bloomed in the spring, and crops mostly wheat that sprouted at that time.

A combination of higher cotton exports, a reduction of food imports, and the export of labour to the oil-rich countries in the Persian Gulf greatly improved the balance of payments of Afghanistan in the lates — that is, the net monetary transactions between the country and the rest of the world.

As a result, the central bank was accumulating international reserves and the national currency, the afghani , appreciated in value relative to other currencies USG, , pp. Despite the many economic and social achievements, the overall development effort was disappointing and the economy remained largely dependent on traditional agriculture in small plots of land and livestock production often carried out by nomadic people.

Productive investment, with the exception of cotton, cement, and a few other industries, was limited. At the same time, most large infrastructure projects had long gestation periods, without a noticeable impact in increasing production and trade in the short run. During the decade-long Soviet occupation , the rural population bore the brunt of the war.

In addition, four years of serious drought had, by , decimated agriculture and livestock production. After the Soviet invasion of December , and with the mujahedeen waging jihad against the occupiers, the war was fought mostly in rural areas. The laying of 10 million landmines destroyed agricultural life and production, which had major and grave consequences.

While the rural sector suffered greatly from Soviet attacks, Kabul was destroyed physically and economically by the brutal civil war that followed Soviet withdrawal in and lasted until the Taliban took over Kabul in Political and economic events and consequences are often intertwined in complex and unexpected ways, both across borders and spilling over to countries well beyond borders. Great powers often make unilateral decisions that other countries, which have political and economic agendas of their own, may find difficult to support. For more than three decades, Afghanistan has been both a pawn and a major protagonist of international political and economic events.

In revising US policies towards Afghanistan in August , President Trump should have considered that present-day Afghanistan, just as ancient Afghanistan, is not only moulded by wars and foreign intervention but is itself an influencer, not only over countries in the region, but even over faraway parts of the world. At the same time, while many projects led by foreign interveners stumbled, others under Afghan leadership and entrepreneurship proved able to achieve success without, or with minimal, foreign intervention.

An understanding of the economic consequences of 20th Century events is important, not only for improving policymaking in the future, but also because they set up the initial conditions for the economic reconstruction of the country in the new millennium. Initial conditions are not only the benchmark against which to measure progress. It was most unfortunate that little attention was paid to the mistakes incurred in prior development and aid policies throughout the s and s. It would have saved much blood and treasure. Lives of US and NATO troops and foreign contractors, and billions of taxpayer dollars in donor countries, were wasted to carry out counterinsurgency policies to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan population, despite the failure of similar attempts by the Soviets and even by the Americans in the s and s Kalinovsky, ; Dupree, Four types of Afghan economic projects in the 20th Century are particularly relevant to an analysis of the adequacy of aid and reconstruction policies in the new millennium.

The first one is the Spinzar Cotton Company built in the s, allegedly utilising 5, full-time employees and financed by Bank-i-Melli National Bank , acting as a private investment bank Dupree, , ; Barfield, , p. By then, however, the Spinzar plant was in state hands; and the government, with support from the Bretton Woods institutions — the International Monetary Fund IMF and the World Bank — wanted to set up a perfect neo-liberal economic framework, in which state-owned enterprises would be closed or privatised.

Getting peace right in Afghanistan: A political solution to a military problem

The second type included two large irrigation projects of critical importance to a country like Afghanistan, where irrigation is key to agriculture. The rural sector employed 75—80 percent of the labour force and accounted for 90 percent of exports. Half of the investment of the five-year development plans in agriculture went to these two projects, one led by the United States and the other by the Soviet Union. Experimental agriculture farm in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province. Contrary to the situation in the new millennium, it was widely recognised at the time that agricultural exports were the primary source of foreign exchange earnings, and that to expand exports, it was necessary to reclaim new lands, construct new and reconstruct existing irrigation systems, and introduce mechanisation, the use of fertilisers and better seeds Chandrasekaran, , pp.

The first irrigation project was in the Helmand and Arghandab valleys. To carry out his vision, Zahir Shah looked to the United States to launch an enormous development project to transform the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar through irrigation, to settle about 5, nomadic and landless families Dupree, , pp.

It was in this area where decades later President Obama sent most surge troops to fight the resurgent Taliban in These two provinces provided an early record of US foreign assistance gone sour in Afghanistan. It is not possible to discuss all the aspects that went wrong with the project in the Helmand and Arghandab Valley, but the details are provided elsewhere Dupree, , pp. Among the most notorious American mistakes was ignoring the fact that policies that worked in the United States were not necessarily best for Afghanistan. In fact, some could even be counter-productive.

However, the conditions — including human skills and government administrative capabilities — were strikingly different. Zahir Shah hired Morrison-Knudsen, the giant US engineering firm that had constructed the Hoover Dam and the San Francisco Bay Bridge but who had not as much experience in irrigation in countries at low levels of development and with difficult terrain. Dreyfus, Jr. In response, Morrison-Knudsen recommended expanding the project despite reservations from the government Chandrasekaran, , p.

This was very much also the approach of foreign contractors in both Afghanistan and Iraq in the new millennium when things did not go right — as if enlarging something that was not working was going to solve the problem. The financing and implementation of the Helmand and Arghandab Valley Project was also negatively affected by the lack of transparency and accountability of US contractors in Afghanistan in the s and s and the incompetence of the U. International Cooperation Agency, a predecessor of U. It was not until USAID was created in the early s that new experts discovered that the design of the main canal had been fatally flawed from the very beginning Chandrasekaran, , p.

The second irrigation project in the Nangarhar Valley near Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan — led by the Soviets — did not perform much better. The project contemplated the creation of canals and drains, as well as a dam and a reservoir. This project was also affected by some of the poor-design problems of the US irrigation project as Soviet experts also lacked an understanding of local conditions and local materials, and neither were they aware of the nature of the soil and of the spring floods.

This impeded improvement in agriculture and required large quantities of topsoil to be trucked in at high cost. Thus, despite these two large investments, production of wheat common among most Afghan farmers and a main staple of the Afghan diet, was growing only 1. With the food situation greatly deteriorating with the drought of , an estimated 80, people starved to death before any assistance could reach them Brant, , pp.

By the end of the s, US government USAID experts believed that they could solve the problem of anaemic farm production by introducing high-yield varieties of wheat. They introduced seeds that would ripen in half the time, allowing farmers to plant two crops a year with each one expected to yield twice as much wheat as before. Some have noted that these problems were also present with other donors and with other sectors. He mentioned as an example that these donors had constructed collapsible small dams and bridges that washed away at the first big spring floods Dupree, , p.

The third type of project that would have been relevant to improving aid policies in the new millennium referred to various projects that ignored local realities and offended national sensibilities and were therefore not sustainable over time. Throughout Afghan history, different emperors, kings, and even the communist leaders in the early s made efforts at rapid modernisation of the economy and society that failed.

By consisting simply of lists of projects to request foreign financing without establishing priorities, these plans led to a fragmented strategy where unconnected projects had only limited impact. Just like following the Bonn Agreement of , an integrated strategy for economic development — where synergies between the projects could be exploited to increase their effectiveness and productivity — was lacking.

While the earlier development plans relied heavily on Soviet foreign aid and experts, the latter relied largely on US foreign aid and experts. In both cases, national ownership over policies and programs was limited, which made the strategy unsustainable over time. Within two hours, the two towers had collapsed, as had other buildings in the World Trade Center and the vicinity.

For a while, this attack seemed to have broken the spirit of New Yorkers — largely believed to be unbreakable. Other terrorist attacks followed the same day with a third plane crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth one, heading for Washington DC, crashing in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers confronted the terrorists. The US government had evidence that these groups had been behind the attacks. On that October day, American and British forces started an aerial bombing campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda targets.

Ground troops from the Northern Alliance were able to intensify their fighting protected by US-led air force strikes. The Northern Alliance, officially known as the United Islamic Front, consisted of a group of former mujahedeen commanders allied to fight the Taliban that had taken Kabul in Although in the early period most commanders were Tajik, by , commanders from other ethnic groups had also joined the Alliance.

This would be achieved by targeting Taliban military installations and terrorist training camps. Two months later, the Northern Alliance — with strong air support — captured the important city of Mazar-i-Sharif, gained control of northern Afghanistan, and took over Kabul after the Taliban saw mass defections and fled the capital.

In the south, the Taliban retreated to its base in Kandahar and were defeated in December The most publicised battles against remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda took place in the eastern part of Afghanistan, on the Afghan side of the Durand Line on the border with Pakistan. It is from this territory, claimed by Afghanistan over the years, that the Taliban and al-Qaeda attacked the military and police in Afghanistan from As Michael Ignatieff argued in the New York Times magazine in , the way you win a war determines what kind of peace you can build. Thus, it was not surprising that the proxy forces that won the war — the leaders of the Northern Alliance — would take a prominent role in the emerging government.

Those leaders were, by then, referred to as warlords and most of them had their own militias Ignatieff interviewed by Nolan, Four groups met under the auspices of the UN to forge a future for their country: The Northern Alliance; the Rome group of former King Zahir; the Peshawar group in Pakistan; and the Cyprus group of exiles in that country.

Among them, these groups represented all major ethnic groups — Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazara. US Lt. Credit: The U. Moreover, Bonn made no provision for a ceasefire or for the demobilisation of forces. Lakhdar Brahimi and Francesc Vendrell, from the UN, which had sponsored the agreement, were later to regret that there were no Taliban present in Bonn. Neither did the UN make any effort to organise subsequent talks at which the Taliban would be represented Vendrell, Yet, as Rashid noted, given the quick, unexpected end to the war, the dangerous political vacuum in Kabul, the late realisation in Washington that an interim government would be necessary and the desire by outside players to prevent a full-scale foreign occupation, the Bonn agreement was the best and least contentious compromise possible Rashid, a.

The Bonn Agreement may well have been the best agreement that could be reached at the time but was not a good harbinger for a successful war-to-peace transition. Governments can only make peace with enemies.

Nation-Building in Afghanistan

The Bonn Agreement not only legitimised the position of the warlords, but it also legislated what was to be an unworkable relationship between the warlords and the central government, which was indeed difficult to change Vaishnav, , p Ignatieff argued that despite the rich heritage of inter-ethnic hatred, most Afghans feel they are Afghans first and Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks, or Pashtuns second.

While the Afghan warlords often get their cash and guns from neighbouring countries like Iran, Pakistan and Uzbekistan, none of them really wanted to dismember the country. In his view, the warlords did not threaten the cohesion of Afghanistan as a nation; they threatened its existence as a state Ignatieff, As discussed later, warlords appropriated a large part of the border import taxes from the very beginning, depriving the central government of its only income, increasing corruption, and making good governance impossible.

Notwithstanding the serious shortcomings of the Bonn Agreement, Afghanistan embarked on a complex and multi-pronged war-to-peace transition, with the specific challenges of the Afghan context del Castillo, Thus, the repressive and militaristic theocracy of the Taliban, as well as the ruthless warlords of different ethnicities and other groups that had been involved in the long and ever-changing civil war, were expected to give way to the rule of law, inclusive and participatory government, and respect for human, gender, and property rights the political transition.

Crime and violence were expected to lead to improved public security and adequate enforcement institutions had to be built the security transition. Ethnic, religious, sectarian, or ideological confrontations that led to civil war and the fragmentation of the country, with serious regional implications, were expected to give way to national reconciliation.

This was necessary so that enemy factions could live again with each other and in peace with their neighbours, and address future grievances through peaceful means the social transition. In addition, the war-and drought-ravaged, mismanaged, subsistence, and largely illicit economy was projected to become a stable, functioning, and inclusive economy so that the country could stand on its own feet, and those affected by the conflict, as well as ordinary people, could have jobs and earn a decent and legal living the economic transition.

It was not anticipated that, by failing in any of these areas, the others would be put at risk. Otherwise, the distribution of resources would have been different as discussed below. Despite the ambitious and costly agenda, promises by President Bush in April to help rebuild Afghanistan in the tradition of the Marshall Plan created both surprise and strengthened the high expectations for the transition. As an editorial in the New York Times commented at the time, for a man who ran for president dismissing nation-building, George W. Bush surprisingly vowed to lead an international effort to rebuild Afghanistan on the model of the Marshall Plan.

Combined with his pledge a month earlier in Monterrey, Mexico, to boost American aid to poor countries by 50 percent over three years, the Afghanistan offer suggested a sharp turnaround of his early thinking about development aid New York Times, 19 April For Leader and Atmar, the multipronged transition that Afghanistan was embarking on would mean nothing less than changing the political economy of the country from one based on unaccountable and arbitrary military rule, oppression, predation, and illicit economic activity to one based on democratic civilian governance, rule-based authority, a thriving and legal private sector, and political freedom Leader and Atmar, , pp.

Khan is killed in a communist coup. Nur Mohammad Taraki, one of the founding members of the Afghan Communist Party, takes control of the country as president, and Babrak Karmal is named deputy prime minister. They proclaim independence from Soviet influence, and declare their policies to be based on Islamic principles, Afghan nationalism and socioeconomic justice.

Taraki signs a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union. But a rivalry between Taraki and Hafizullah Amin, another influential communist leader, leads to fighting between the two sides. At the same time, conservative Islamic and ethnic leaders who objected to social changes introduced by Khan begin an armed revolt in the countryside.

In June, the guerrilla movement Mujahadeen is created to battle the Soviet-backed government. American Ambassador Adolph Dubs is killed. The United States cuts off assistance to Afghanistan. Taraki is killed on Sept. On Dec.

Introduction and summary

Deputy Prime Minister Babrak Karmal becomes prime minister. Widespread opposition to Karmal and the Soviets spawns violent public demonstrations. Some 2. Afghan guerrillas gain control of rural areas, and Soviet troops hold urban areas. Although he claims to have traveled to Afghanistan immediately after the Soviet invasion, Saudi Islamist Osama bin Laden makes his first documented trip to Afghanistan to aid anti-Soviet fighters. The U. Following Soviet withdrawal, the Mujahadeen continue their resistance against the Soviet-backed regime of communist president Dr.

Mohammad Najibullah, who had been elected president of the puppet Soviet state in Afghan guerrillas name Sibhatullah Mojadidi as head of their exiled government. The Mujahadeen and other rebel groups, with the aid of turncoat government troops, storm the capital, Kabul, and oust Najibullah from power. Ahmad Shah Masood, legendary guerrilla leader, leads the troops into the capital.

The United Nations offers protection to Najibullah.

Getting peace right in Afghanistan: A political solution to a military problem - Atlantic Council

The Mujahadeen, a group already beginning to fracture as warlords fight over the future of Afghanistan, form a largely Islamic state with professor Burhannudin Rabbani as president. Newly formed Islamic militia, the Taliban, rises to power on promises of peace. Most Afghans, exhausted by years of drought, famine and war, approve of the Taliban for upholding traditional Islamic values. The Taliban outlaw cultivation of poppies for the opium trade, crack down on crime, and curtail the education and employment of women.

Women are required to be fully veiled and are not allowed outside alone. Islamic law is enforced via public executions and amputations. The United States refuses to recognize the authority of the Taliban. Continuing drought devastates farmers and makes many rural areas uninhabitable.

More than 1 million Afghans flee to neighboring Pakistan, where they languish in squalid refugee camps. The attacks miss the Saudi and other leaders of the terrorist group. By now considered an international terrorist, bin Laden is widely believed to be hiding in Afghanistan, where he is cultivating thousands of followers in terrorist training camps. The United States demands that bin Laden be extradited to stand trial for the embassy bombings. The Taliban decline to extradite him. 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.