Ted Thornton
History of the Middle East Database
Benchmarks in the History of Afghanistan

Origins of Key Geographical Terms


History by Region or State


History by Time Period


Special Topics









1030: Ghaznavids.

1747 Ahmad Shah Durrani unites Pashtun tribes to form Afghanistan.

1919: Afghanistan gains independence from the British.

1820s: Josiah Harlan, "a man who would be king."

1893: The British draw the "Durand Line."

1898: Afghanistan as part of Lord Curzon's "great game." 

1925: Afghanistan gains its independence from Great Britain.

1973: King Zahir deposed.

1974: Constitutional monarchy overthrown.

1978: Communist coup.

1979: Soviet occupation. Anti-Soviet jihad begins.

1982: By this time, the jihad is being funded in part by the CIA.

1986: Soviets install Najibullah as president.

1989: Soviets withdraw from Afghanistan.

1992: Najibullah ousted.  The "new great game."

1994: Taliban under Mullah Omar begins vying for power.  More on the Taliban.

1996: Taliban reign of terror.

1996, September: Taliban capture Kabul.

1997, July: Taliban setbacks in the north.

1997, November: U.N. presses Taliban on women's rights.

1998: Taliban bans kite flying and television.

1998, August:  U.S. missile attack.  Taliban massacre Shiites in Hazara.

2001, March: Taliban destroy "Bamiyan Buddhas."

2001, September: U.S. prepares to attack Afghanistan.

2001, October 21: U.S. launches war.

2001, November 13: Kabul falls and the Taliban are driven out.

2001, early December: Power struggles.

2001, December 9: Kandahar falls and Taliban are driven out.

2001, December 16:  U.S. forces overrun Tora Bora.

2001: December 22: Hamid Karzai assumes power.

2002, September 5: Attempt to assassinate Hamid Karzai.

2003, August: Taliban resurgence. More on the Taliban.

2004, January:  New constitution.

2004, November:  Elections

2005, May 11: Riots over alleged desecration of the Qur'an.

2005, September 18: Elections (in spite of intimidation from the Taliban).  More on the Taliban.

2006, March: Afghan man on trial for converting to Christianity.

2006, May: U.S. military officials begin describing Taliban resistance as an "insurgency."

2006, August: South Korean evangelical Christians expelled.

2007, Summer: Attacks from Taliban increasing.

2007, November 6: Suicide bomb attack in northern province shows spreading resurgent Taliban influence.

2008, Spring: Taliban steps up insurgency; President Karzai comes under fire for failing to deal with government corruption; Karzai threatens Pakistan.


BBC "Afghanistan in Depth"

Further Reading:

Barnett R. Rubin, "Saving Afghanistan," Foreign Affairs, vol. 86, no. 1, Jan.-Feb., 2007.


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email: tthornton@nmhschool.org

Last Revised: September 30, 2008