(Afrika-times.com) Just weeks ahead of the planned pullout of American troops, the American flag at the U.S. embassy in Kabul had been taken down and most embassy staff had been relocated to the city’s airport. The chaotic reports emerging from Kabul cap more than two decades of American efforts in the country to root out terrorism and transform the nation into a functioning democratic state.
Thousands of American lives and nearly $830 billion in official spending, those efforts have resulted in failure.
How Afghanistan, a country that has been torn by conflict for decades, arrived at this place is a long and arduous journey.
Explained with maps and graphics Here is a timeline of Afghanistan’s more late 20th century, what led to the U.S. invasion in the first place, through the most recent action there:
April 1979: In the Saur Revolution, or April Coup, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan assassinates Afghan President Mohammed Daoud Khan.
December 1979: Soviets invaded Afghanistan in order to prop up the government, which faced internal rebellion.
Early 1989: As the Soviet Union disintegrated, the army withdrew, leaving the Afghan forces to take the lead in fighting an American-funded insurgency. US intelligence estimates over 15,000 Soviet troops died in the decade-long war. The Soviets kept advisers with the Afghans and continued financing the military.
1992: The American CIA, which backed Afghan rebel groups, withdrew its aid. The Russians also cut its funding. The pro-Russian government was overthrown, and Afghanistan was plunged into a bloody civil war, setting the stage for the Taliban to assume power four years later.
1994: The Taliban, or “students” in the Pashto language, emerges from Islamist fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan for over a decade. That conflict ended in 1989.
1996: After a two-year civil war, most of Afghanistan comes under the control of the Taliban, who institute fundamentalist policies and widespread repression of human rights.
Aug 15 (Reuters) – Taliban insurgents began entering Kabul on Sunday after taking control of all of Afghanistan’s major cities apart from the capital.
Following are some of the major milestones in the Islamist militant movement’s advance in recent months. Other deadly attacks occurred, some blamed on the Taliban and some on other jihadist groups including an offshoot of Islamic State.
Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government on a political understanding that could lead to a peace deal, backed by the United States and its allies, have failed to make significant progress.
– April 14 – President Joe Biden announces U.S. troops will withdraw from Afghanistan starting on May 1 and ending on Sept. 11, bringing America’s longest war to a close. It was an extension of the previous withdrawal deadline of May 1 agreed between the United States and the Taliban.Report ad
– May 4 – Taliban fighters launch a major offensive on Afghan forces in southern Helmand province. They also attack in at least six other provinces.
– May 11 – The Taliban capture Nerkh district just outside the capital Kabul as violence intensifies across the country.
– June 7 – Senior government officials say more than 150 Afghan soldiers are killed in 24 hours as fighting worsens. They add that fighting is raging in 26 of the country’s 34 provinces.
– June 22 – Taliban fighters launch a series of attacks in the north of the country, far from their traditional strongholds in the south. The UN envoy for Afghanistan says they have taken more than 50 of 370 districts.Report ad
– July 2 – American troops quietly pull out of their main military base in Afghanistan – Bagram Air Base, an hour’s drive from Kabul. It effectively ends U.S. involvement in the war.
– July 5 – The Taliban say they could present a written peace proposal to the Afghan government as soon as August.
– July 21 – Taliban insurgents control about a half of the country’s districts, according to the senior U.S. general, underlining the scale and speed of their advance.
– July 25 – The United States vows to continue to support Afghan troops “in the coming weeks” with intensified airstrikes to help them counter Taliban attacks
– July 26 – The United Nations says nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in May and June in escalating violence, the highest number for those months since records started in 2009.
– Aug. 6 – Zaranj in the south of the country becomes the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban in years. Many more are to follow in the ensuing days, including the prized city of Kunduz in the north.
– Aug. 13 – Four more provincial capitals fall in a day, including Kandahar, the country’s second city and spiritual home of the Taliban. In the west, another key city, Herat, is overrun and veteran commander Mohammad Ismail Khan, one of the leading fighters against the Taliban, is captured.
– Aug. 14 – The Taliban take the major northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif and, with little resistance, Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province just 70 km (40 miles) south of Kabul. The United States sends more troops to help evacuate its civilians from Kabul as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says he is consulting with local and international partners
– Aug. 15 – The Taliban take the key eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight, effectively surrounding Kabul.
– Aug. 15 – Taliban insurgents enter Kabul, an interior ministry official says, as the United States evacuate diplomats from its embassy by helicopter.
In 2015, ISIS was believed to be holding 3,500 people as slaves, according to a United Nations report. Most of the enslaved were women and children from the Yazidi community, but some were from other ethnic and religious minority communities.
ISIS’s revenue comes from oil production and smuggling, taxes, ransoms from kidnappings, selling stolen artifacts, extortion and controlling crops.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS from April 2010 until his death in October 2019. After his death, ISIS announced its new leader would be Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.
2006 – Under Zarqawi, al Qaeda in Iraq tries to spark a sectarian war against the majority Shia community.
June 7, 2006 – Zarqawi is killed in a US strike. Abu Ayyub al-Masri takes his place as leader of AQI.
October 2006 – Masri announces the creation of Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and establishes Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as its leader.
April 2010 – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi becomes leader of ISI after Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Masri are killed in a joint US-Iraqi operation.
April 2013 – ISI declares its absorption of an al Qaeda-backed militant group in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. Baghdadi says that his group will now be known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).
January 2014 – ISIS takes control of Falluja.
February 3, 2014 – Al Qaeda renounces ties to ISIS after months of infighting between al-Nusra Front and ISIS.
August 6, 2014 – ISIS fighters attack the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, home of a religious minority group called the Yazidis. More than 30,000 Yazidi families are stranded in the Sinjar Mountains. A Yazidi lawmaker says that 500 men have been killed, 70 children have died of thirst and women are being sold into slavery.
June 14, 2015 – A British teen, Talha Asmal, is reportedly one of four ISIS suicide bombers who attack the headquarters of a Shia militia group in Iraq, killing at least 11. Before the bombing, ISIS posted photos of Asmal, 17, posing next to their black flag on social media. According to the BBC, Asmal left England in March to join the Islamic fundamentalists.
June 19, 2015 – The US State Department issues its annual terrorism report, declaring that ISIS is becoming a greater threat than al Qaeda. The frequency and savagery of ISIS attacks are alarming, according to the report.
June 24, 2015 – The Syrian government reports that ISIS militants have destroyed two Muslim holy sites in Palmyra. The group attacked a 500-year-old shrine and a tomb where a descendent of the Prophet Mohammed’s cousin was reportedly buried.
June 28, 2016 – At least 44 people die and more than 230 are injured when three attackers arrive at Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport in a taxi, then open fire before blowing themselves up. US officials believe the man who directed the three attackers is Akhmed Chatayev, a terrorist from Russia’s North Caucasus region and a well-known ISIS lieutenant.
September 16, 2016 – Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook says a US air strike targeted and killed Wael Adel Salman, akaAbu Muhammad al-Furqan, ISIS’s chief spokesman. Salman was the ISIS minister of information, responsible for overseeing the production of “terrorist propaganda videos showing torture and executions,” Cook says.
July 25, 2018 –At least 166 people are killed in a suicide bombing and other attacks in the southern Syrian province of Suwayda, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Syria says. ISIS claims responsibility.
August 23, 2018 – ISIS releases what it says is an audio message from Baghdadi. In the 55-minute recording, a man admits that ISIS groups are losing and urges his followers to carry on with the fight.
December 19, 2018 –US President Donald Trump sets the stage for a rapid withdrawal of American troops from Syria with a tweet falsely claiming that ISIS has been defeated. Although coalition forces have been successful taking back territory that was once part of the ISIS caliphate, militants continue to control a small swath of land near the Euphrates River. Estimates vary as to how many ISIS fighters are left in Syria. A Defense Department inspector general report puts the number of ISIS members in Iraq and Syria as high as 30,000.
January 16, 2019 – A deadly explosion kills four Americans and at least 10 other people in the Syrian city of Manbij. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
August 6, 2019 – The Pentagon issues a report saying that ISIS is “re-surging” in Syria, less than five months after Trump declared the terror group’s caliphate there had been 100% defeated. An accompanying message to the report, written by Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general, notes that, “The reduction of US forces has decreased the support available for Syrian partner forces at a time when their forces need more training and equipping to respond to the ISIS resurgence.”