This chronology traces the major events that are covered in the FRONTLINE films. For additional background, see the chronology of Osama bin Laden's political life on the "Hunting bin Laden" website and the timeline of terrorist attacks against Americans (from 1979-1988) on the website for "Target America."
Soviets invade Afghanistan; U.S. supports the mujahedeen in war against Soviets. (Osama bin Laden leaves Saudi Arabia to join the Afghan resistance.)
After more than two years of negotiations between Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, and U.S. representatives, Egypt and Israel sign peace treaty.
Fifty-two Americans are taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran.
American hostages in Iran are released.
Islamists assassinate Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
Marine barracks in Lebanon are bombed. U.S. responds by shelling hills above Beirut.
Marines pull out of Lebanon.
U.S. Embassy and several other targets in Kuwait are bombed.
In Aukar, northeast of Beirut, a truck bomb explodes outside the U.S. Embassy annex killing 24 people, two of whom are U.S. military personnel.
CIA Station Chief William Buckley is kidnapped. Over the next decade, 30 Westerners are kidnapped; the ransom demand is usually the release of the Al Dawa 17.
TWA Flight 847 is hijacked en route from Athens to Rome and forced to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where the hijackers hold the plane for 17 days. They demand the release of the Kuwait 17 as well as the release of 700 fellow Shiite Muslim prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.
The "arms for hostages" deal, which eventually becomes known as the Iran-Contra affair, begins. In August 1985, the first consignment of arms -- 100 anti-tank missiles provided by Israel -- is sent to Iran. Another 408 are sent the following month.
Four gunmen hijack the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro and demand the release of Palestinian prisoners in Egypt, Italy, and elsewhere.
Attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
President Reagan orders retaliatory air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya.
Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland; U.S. blames Libya.
National Islamic Front takes control of Sudan in a military coup.
Soviets pull out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia as a hero and opposition leader.
Osama bin Laden flees Saudi Arabia for Sudan, where he operates several businesses.
World Trade Center is bombed.
U.S. troops are killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, as they attempt to capture Mohammed Farah Aidid, a Somali warlord. (For more information, see FRONTLINE's website for "Ambush in Mogadishu," as well as the companion teachers guide.)
In Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a truck bomb explodes outside the Khobar Towers, which are home to nearly half of the 5,000-member military force in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen U.S. servicemen are killed and more than 500 others are injured, 240 of whom are American.
Al Jazeera, an Arab satellite TV channel, begins broadcasting from Qatar.
U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, are simultaneously bombed. The bomb in Nairobi, Kenya, kills 213 people, including 12 U.S. nationals, and injures more than 4,500. The bomb in Dar es Salaam kills 11 and injures 85. No Americans die in the Tanzania bombing.
The U.S. retaliates by bombing the Al Shifa chemical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
USS Cole is attacked in Yemeni harbor. Al Qaeda operatives are implicated.
U.S. gives Taliban more than $240 million to repress drug trade.
On Sept. 11, hijackers commandeer four commercial airliners. The twin towers at the World Trade Center are destroyed and the Pentagon is badly damaged. The fourth plane crashes in Pennsylvania. Thousands are killed.
U.S. launches an offensive against Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai becomes interim leader of Afghanistan.