- Title: File of key events in the modern history of Afghanistan
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: The 2014 presidential election was locked in bitter contest between candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah's support is mainly in the north, among the Tajik minority, while Ghani is supported by Pashtun tribes in the east and south. U.S. State Secretary John Kerry convinced the two feuding candidates to agree to a total recount of April's presidential election, which threatened to split the country along ethnic lines and sign a deal to share power, ending months of turmoil over a disputed election that destabilised the country. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - APRIL 5, 2014) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ASHRAF GHANI PUTTING HIS BALLOT INTO THE BOX PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ABDULLAH ABDULLAH PUTTING HIS BALLOT IN THE BOX KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - JULY 12, 2014) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE, JOHN KERRY, AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ABDULLAH ABDULLAH AND ASHRAF GHANI SHAKING HANDS AND HUGGING AND RAISING THEIR HANDS UP TOGETHER ON PODIUM
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 11:19
- Keywords: 9/11 Afghanistan September 11 Soviet Union U.S. withdrawal attacks country file the Taliban
- Location: SEE SCRIPT BODY FOR LOCATIONS
- City: SEE SCRIPT BODY FOR LOCATIONS
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA00AEQYQ72F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
Thursday (August 19) marks Afghanistan's independence from British control in 1919.
The modern history of the landlocked and mountainous country has seen chronic conflict and instability that left its economy and infrastructure in ruins.
The last battle of the Cold War was fought on Afghan soil between Soviet soldiers and U.S.-backed guerrillas.
When the Soviet troops pulled out of Afghanistan on February 15, 1989, many had hoped the end of the nine-year military involvement would bring peace to the country ravaged by years of war. But conflict has marred those hopes as Afghans continued to fight against themselves. Outside forces have joined in to curb the rise of Muslim insurgents.
The Taliban, which means "students" in the Pashto language, emerged in 1994 around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. It was one of the factions fighting a civil war for control of the country following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union and subsequent collapse of the government.
It originally drew members from so-called "mujahedeen" fighters who, with support from the United States, repelled Soviet forces in the 1980s.
Within the space of two years, the Taliban had gained sole control over most of the country, proclaiming an Islamic emirate in 1996 with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Other mujahedeen groups retreated to the north of the country.
Following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in the United States by al Qaeda, U.S.-backed forces in the north swept into Kabul in November under the cover of heavy U.S. airstrikes.
The Taliban melted away into remote areas, where it began a 20-year-long insurgency against the Afghan government and its Western allies.
Taliban insurgents made rapid advances across Afghanistan in recent months as U.S. and other foreign forces withdrew, following President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw U.S. forces after 20 years of war - the nation's longest - that he described as costing more than $1 trillion.
The Taliban seized the capital on Sunday (August 15), taking control in Afghanistan two decades after they were forced out by U.S.-backed forces.
It took the Taliban just over a week to seize control of the whole country after a lightning sweep as government forces, trained for years and equipped by the United States and others, melted away.
Many Afghans fear the Taliban will return to past harsh practices. During their 1996-2001 rule, women could not work and punishments such as public stoning, whipping and hanging were administered.
Now, the group is seeking to present a more moderate face.
The Taliban said on Tuesday (August 17) they wanted peaceful relations with other countries and would respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law. But many remain skeptical.
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