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Week of 7.18.08

Timeline: War in Afghanistan

September 2001: Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, is assassinated in a bombing.

In early 2001, the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues dating back to the first century. (Photo: UNESCO)
In early 2001, the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues dating back to the first century. (Photo: UNESCO)
Following the Sept 11 attacks, President Bush delivers list of demands to Taliban, including the demand that they turn over al-Qaeda leadership or face destruction.

October 2001: The U.S., with British support, commences the bombing of Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom begins.

November 2001: The Northern Alliance breaks through Taliban positions at Mazar-e Sharif. The Afghan capital, Kabul, is taken by Coalition forces.


The Taliban Falls

December 2001: The battle of Tora Bora leaves an estimated 200 al-Qaeda fighters dead, but Osama bin Laden is nowhere to be found.

The Taliban give up their stronghold of Kandahar.

Hamid Karzai is sworn in as head of an interim power-sharing government.

February 2002: The new Afghan national army begins its training with assistance from U.S. forces.

July 2002: Karzai escapes an assassination attempt in his hometown of Kandahar.

An Australian soldier and a young girl in a poppy field in southern Afghanistan. The country accounts for over 90% of the world's illegal opium production. (Photo: Australian Defense Department)
An Australian soldier and a young girl in a poppy field in southern Afghanistan. The country accounts for over 90% of the world's illegal opium production. (Photo: Australian Defense Department)
November 2002: The U.S. Congress passes legislation calling for $2.3 billion in reconstruction funds and an additional $1 billion to expand the NATO-led International Security Force.

January 2003: Unsafe conditions for more than 4 million Afghan refugees keep them out of their homes and in refugee camps, according to the U.N.

February 2003: Afghanistan remains the world's largest producer of opium poppy, according to the U.N.

April 2003: NATO agrees to take over command of security forces in Afghanistan, its first operational commitment outside of Europe.


Karzai Elected President

Hamid Karzai is sworn in on December 7, 2004, after winning the presidential election. (Photo: Defense Department)
Hamid Karzai is sworn in on December 7, 2004, after winning the presidential election. (Photo: Defense Department)
October 2004: Hamid Karzai becomes the first democratically-elected leader of Afghanistan.

January 2004: Afghanistan's new constitution is approved, which includes a strong presidential system.

May 2005: Allegations emerge of prisoner abuse by U.S. forces at detention centers in Afghanistan.

September 2005: The first parliamentary and provincial elections are held in more than three decades.


Violence Increases

May 2006: Violent anti-U.S. protests erupt in Kabul after a U.S. military vehicle crashes and kills several people.

May - June 2006: Scores of people are killed in fighting between Taliban fighters and Afghan and coalition forces in the south.

U.S. forces fire on an insurgent position in Kunar Province, Afghanistan in October 2007. (Photo: Defense Department)
U.S. forces fire on an insurgent position in Kunar Province, Afghanistan in October 2007. (Photo: Defense Department)
July 2006: NATO troops take over military operations in the south. There is severe fighting in the region as the Taliban presence remains strong.

May 2007: The Taliban's most senior military commander, Mullah Dadullah, is killed during fighting with U.S. and Afghan forces.

August 2007: Opium production doubles in past two years, according to UN.

November 2007: Taliban forces kill six Americans, bringing the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan for 2007 to 100, the highest for any year since the beginning of the war.

June 2008: Taliban fighters free 1200 prisoners, including 400 Taliban prisoners-of-war, in an assault on a Kandahar jail.

July 2008: A bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul kills more than 40 people. Days later insurgents kill nine American soldiers in a single attack.

Sources: BBC, Eurasianet, The Newshour, The Washington Post