Afghanistan: 40 years of conflict
KABUL: The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 40 years ago kicked off decades of war that endured long after the Red Army’s retreat, which ended on February 15, 1989.
Here is a timeline.
In December 1979, at the height of the Soviet-US Cold War, Moscow invades the country – which is poor and mountainous, but also strategically situated – to prop up a communist regime.
Moscow eventually withdraws after a decade of fighting.
From 1994 the Taliban movement begin to emerge in the south.
The Taliban, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, seize power in 1996 and install a regime based on their hardline interpretation of Islamic law. They forbid women from working, close girls’ schools, and ban music and other entertainment.
Under severe United Nations sanctions, the regime becomes close to the Al-Qaeda militant network and shelters its leader, Saudi national Osama bin Laden.
Washington and its NATO allies drive out the Taliban regime and bring Hamid Karzai to power, funnelling in billions of dollars of aid to rebuild the war-ravaged country. They deploy up to 150,000 soldiers to help the government assert control and bring security.
The Taliban go into hiding or flee to neighbouring countries, and then launch an insurgency against Kabul and NATO.
The Taliban continue to make gains, while carrying out major deadly attacks, as the Islamic State group begins to make inroads in Afghanistan in 2015.
Afghan Peace Process
Washington steps up negotiations with the Taliban to end the conflict, with both the militants and US officials touting ‘progress’ after Pakistan-sponsored talks culminate in a six-day meeting in Qatar in January.
Russia and Iran also hold talks with the militants.