The history of Afghanistan

Below is a table outlining the turbulent and troubled history of Afghanistan, once the cradle of Gandharan civilisation,
who's influence stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to the deserts of Serindia.

Chronological table showing important events throughout the history of Afghanistan

Date
Description
50,000 BC -
20,000 BC
Archaeologists have identified evidence of stone age technology in Aq Kupruk, and Hazar Sum. Plant remains at the foothill of the Hindu Kush mountains indicate, that North Afghanistan was one of the earliest places to domestic plants and animals together with Iraq.
3000 BC -
2000 BC
First true urban centres rise in two main sites in Afghanistan, Mundigak, and Deh Morasi Ghundai. Mundigak near modern day Kandahar, had an economic base of wheat, barley, sheep and goats. Evidence indicates that Mudigak could have been a provincial capital of the Indus valley civilization. Ancient Afghanistan emerges as a crossroads between Mesopotamia, and other ancient civilizations.
2000 BC -
1500 BC
The City of Kabul is thought to have been established during this time. Evidence of early nomadic iron age in Aq Kapruk IV.
Circa 600 BC Zoroaster introduces a new religion in Bactria, Zoroastrianism a Monotheistic religion which worships fire, and is still practised today in Iran. Zoroaster dies during nomadic invasion near Balkh.
522 BC -
486 BC
Darius the Great expands the Persian empire to its peak, taking most of Afghanistan, including Aria (Herat), Bactriana (Balk, and present-day Mazar-i-Shariff, Margiana (Merv), Gandhara (Kabul, Jalalabad and Peshawar), Sattagydia (Ghazni to the Indus river), Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta), and Drangiana (Sistan). The Persian empire was plagued by constant bitter and bloody tribal revolts from Afghans living in Arachosia (Kandahar, and Quetta)
329 - 326 BC Greeks rule Bactria (Northern Afghanistan)
170 BC -
160 BC
Bactrian - Parthian
50 AD Kushan rule, under King Kanishka Graeco-Buddhist Gandharan culture reach its height.
220 AD Kushan empire fragments into petty dynasties.
400 AD Invasion of the White Huns. demise of the Buddhist culture, most of the country left in ruins.
425 - 550 Independent Yaftalee rule in Afghanistan.
550 AD Persians reassert control over all of what is now Afghanistan. Various Afghan tribes revolt.
652 AD Arabs introduce Islam
962 - 1030 Islamic era established with the Ghaznavid Dynasty (962-1140) Afghanistan becomes the centre of Islamic power and civilization.
1030 Mahmud Ghazni dies. Conflicts between various Ghaznavid rulers arise and as a result the empire starts to crumple.
1140 Ghorid leaders from central Afghanistan capture and burn Ghazni, then move on to conquer India.
1219 - 1221 Invasion of Afghanistan by Genghis Khan and the destruction of Irrigation systems, which turned fertile soil into permanent deserts.
1273 Marco Polo crossed Afghan Turkistan.
1332 - 1370 Descendants of earlier Ghorid rulers reassert control over Afghanistan.
1370 - 1404 The rule of Timour-i-Lang (Tamerlane) Afghan resistance
1451 An Afghan named Buhlul invades Delhi, and seizes the throne.
1504 - 1519 Babur, founder of the Moghul dynasty takes control of Kabul
1520 - 1579 Bayazid Roshan (Afghan intellectual) revolts against the power of the Moghul government. Roshan was killed in a battle with the Moghuls in 1579, his struggle for independence continued.
1613 - 1689 Khushhal Khan Khattak (Afghan warrior & poet) initiates a national uprising against the foreign Moghul government.
1708 Mir Wais (forerunner of Afghan independence) makes Kandahar independent of Safavid Persia that had ruled it since 1622.
1715 Mir Wais dies peacefully, and lies in a mausoleum outside of Kandahar.
1722 Mir Wais' son, Mir Mahmud, invades Persia and occupies Isfahan. At the same time, the Durranis revolt, and terminate the Persian occupation of Herat.
1725 Mir Mahmud is mysteriously killed and Afghans start to lose control of Persia.
1736 Nadir Shah (head of Persia) occupies southwest Afghanistan, and southeast Persia.
1738 Nadir Shah takes Kandahar.
1747 Nadir Shah is assassinated, and the Afghans rise once again. Afghans, under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Abdali retake Kandahar, and establish modern Afghanistan.
1747 - 1773 Rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani). Ahmad Shah consolidates and enlarges Afghanistan. He defeats the Moghuls in the west of the Indus, and he takes Herat away from the Persians. Ahmad Shah Durrani's empire extended from Central Asia to Delhi, from Kashmir to the Arabian sea. It became the greatest Muslim empire in the second half of the 18th century.
1773 - 1793 Rule of Timur Shah Capital of Afghanistan transferred from Kandahar to Kabul because of tribal opposition. Constant internal revolts
1793 - 1801 Rule of Zaman Shah Constant internal revolts (1795) Persians invade Khurasan province
1801 - 1803 Rule of Mahmood Constant internal revolts
1803 - 1809 Rule of Shah Shujah (1805) Persian attack on Herat fails. Internal fighting
1809 - 1818 Mahmood returns to the throne. War with Persia - indecisive victory Internal fighting
1819 - 1826 Sons of Timur Shah struggle for the throne - Civil War, anarchy, Afghans lose Sind permanently
1826 Dost Mohammad Khan takes Kabul, and establishes control
1832 - 1833 Persia moves into Khurasan province, and threatens Herat. Afghans successfully defend Herat
1834 Afghans lose Peshawar to the Sikhs; later they crushed the Sikhs under the leadership of Akbar Khan who defeated the Sikhs near Jamrud, and killed the great Sikh general Hari Singh. However, they failed to retake Peshawar due to disunity and bad judgment on the part of Dost Mohammad Khan.
1836 Dost Mohammad Khan is proclaimed as Amir al-mu' minin (commander of the faithful). He was well on the road toward reunifying the whole of Afghanistan when the British, in collaboration with an ex-king (Shah Shuja), invade Afghanistan.
1839 - 1842 First Anglo-Afghan War After some resistance, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan surrenders to the British and is deported to India. Shah Shuja is installed as a 'puppet king' by the British. (1839-1842) April 1842 - Shah Shuja killed by Afghans. Afghans passionately continue their struggle against the British. Akbar Khan victorious against the British. In January 1842, out of 16,500 soldiers (and 12,000 dependants) only one survivor, of mixed British-Indian garrison, reaches the fort in Jalalabad, on a stumbling pony.
1843 After the annihilation of British troops, Afghanistan once again becomes independent, and the exiled Amir, Dost Mohammad Khan comes back and occupies the royal throne (1843-1863).
1845 Afghan hero, Akbar Khan dies
1855 Dost Mohammad Khan signs a peace treaty with India.
1859 British take Baluchistan, and Afghanistan becomes completely landlocked.
1863 - 1866 Sher Ali, Dost Mohammad Khan's son, succeeds to the throne. 1865 Russia takes Bukhara, Tashkent, and Samarkand.
1866 - 1867 Mohammad Afzal occupies Kabul and proclaims himself Amir. October 1867 Mohammad Afzal dies.
1867 - 1868 Mohammad Azam succeeds to the throne 1868--Mohammad Azam flees to Persia Sher Ali reasserts control (1868-1879).
1873 Russia established a fixed boundary between Afghanistan and it's new territories. Russia promises to respect Afghanistan's territorial integrity.
1878 Start of second Anglo-Afghan War The British invade and the Afghans quickly put up a strong resistance.
1879 Sher Ali dies in Mazar-i-Shariff, and Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan takes over until October. Amir Muhammad Yaqub Khan gives up the following Afghan territories to the British: Kurram, Khyber, Michni, Pishin, and Sibi. Afghans lose these territories permanently.
1880 Battle of Maiwand July 1880. Abdur Rahman takes throne of Afghanistan as Amir. The British, shortly after the accession of the new Amir, withdraw from Afghanistan, although they retain the right to handle Afghanistan's foreign relations. Abdur Rahman establishes fixed borders and he loses a lot of Afghan land. Nuristan converted to Islam.
1885 The Panjdeh Incident Russian forces seize the Panjdeh Oasis, a piece of Afghan territory north of the Oxus River. Afghans tried to retake it, but was finally forced toallow the Russians to keep Panjdeh, and the Russians promised to honor Afghan territorial integrity in the future.
1893 The Durand line fixes borders of Afghanistan with British India, splitting Afghan tribal areas, leaving half of these Afghans in what is now Pakistan.
1895 Afghanistan's northern border is fixed and guaranteed by Russia
1901 Abdur Rahman dies, his son Habibullah succeeds him. Slows steps toward modernization
1907 Russia and Great Britain sign the convention of St. Petersburg, in which Afghanistan is declared outside Russia's sphere of influence.
1918 Mahmud Tarzi (Afghan Intellectual) introduces modern Journalism into Afghanistan with the creation of several newspapers.
1919 Habibullah is assassinated, and succeeded by his son Amanullah 'The reform King' The first museum in Afghanistan is instituted at Baghe Bala.
1921 Third Anglo-Afghan war Once again, the British are defeated, and Afghanistan gains full control of her foreign affairs. Amanullah Khan initiates a series of ambitious efforts at social and political modernization.
1923 Amanullah Khan changes his title from Amir to Padshah (King).
1929 Amanullah Khan is overthrown by Habibullah Kalakani. After the fall of Amanullah Khan, Mahmud Tarzi seeks asylum in Turkey. The Rise and Fall of Habibullah Kalakani, popularly known as "Bache Saqao" Nadir Khan takes the throne; his tribal army loots government buildings and houses of wealthy citizens because the treasury was empty. Habibullah Kalakani, along with his supporters, and a few supporters of Amanullah Khan are killed by Nadir Khan. Now Nadir Khan establishes full control.
1930 Pro-Amanullah Khan uprising put down by Nadir Khan. Nadir Khan abolishes reforms set forth by Amanullah Khan to modernize Afghanistan.
1933 Nadir Khan assassinated by a college student, and his son, Zahir, inherits the throne. He rules until 1973. Zahir Shah's uncles serve as prime ministers and advisors until 1953. Mahmud Tarzi dies in Turkey at the age of 68 with a heart full of sorrow and despair toward his country.
1934 The United States of America formally recognizes Afghanistan
1940 Zahir Shah proclaims Afghanistan as neutral during WW2
1947 Britain withdraws from India. Pakistan is carved out of Indian and Afghan lands.
1949 Afghanistan's Parliament denounces the Durand Treaty and refuses to recognize the Durand line as a legal boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pashtuns in Pashtunistan (Occupied Afghan Land) proclaim an independent Pashtunistan, but their proclamation goes unacknowledged by the world community.
1953 Prince Mohammad Daoud becomes Prime Minister.
1954 The U.S. rejects Afghanistan's request to buy military equipment to modernize the army.
1955 Daoud turns to the Soviet Union (Russia) for military aid. The Pashtunistan (occupied Afghan land) issue flares up.
1956 Kruschev and Bulgaria agree to help Afghanistan. Close ties between Afghanistan and USSR.
1959 The Purdah is made optional, women begin to enrol in the University which has become coeducational. Women begin to enter the workforce, and the government.
1961 Pakistan and Afghanistan come close to war over Pashtunistan.
1963 - 1964 Zahir Shah demands Daoud's resignation. Dr. Mohammad Yusof becomes Prime Minister.
1965 The Afghan Communist Party was secretly formed in January. Babrak Karmal is one of the founders. In September, first nationwide elections under the new constitution. Karmal was elected to the Parliament, later instigates riots. Zahir and Yussof form second government.
1969 Second nationwide elections. Babrak and Hafizullah Amin are elected.
1972 Mohammad Moussa becomes Prime Minister.
1973 July 17th: Zahir Shah is on vacation in Europe, when his government is overthrown in a military coup headed by Daoud Khan and PDPA (Afghan Communist Party). Daoud Khan abolishes the monarchy, declares himself President and the Republic of Afghanistan is established.
1974 UNESCO names Herat as one of the first cities to be designated as a part of the worlds cultural heritage
1975 - 1977 Daoud Khan presents a new constitution. Women's rights confirmed. Daoud starts to oust suspected opponents from his government.
1978 Bloody Communist coup: Daoud is killed, Taraki is named President, and Karmal becomes his deputy Prime Minister. Tensions rise. Mass arrests, tortures, and arrests takes place. Afghan flag is changed. Taraki signs treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union. June, Afghan guerrilla (Mujahideen) movement is born.
1979 Mass killings US ambassador killed Taraki is killed and Hafizullah Amin takes the Presidency. Amin is executed, and he is replaced with Babrak Karmal. Soviet Union invade in December.
1980 Dr. Najibullah is brought back from USSR to run the secret police.
1984 UN sends investigators to Afghanistan to examine reported human rights violations.
1986 Babrak Karmal is replaced by Dr. Najibullah.
1987 Najibullah proposes ceasefire, but the Mujahideen refuse to deal with a 'puppet government'. Mujahideen make great gains, defeat of Soviets eminent.
1988 - 1989 Peace accords signed in Geneva. Soviet Union defeated by Afghanistan, total withdrawal by the Soviets occurred on 15 February 1989. Experts agree that at least 40,000-50,000 Soviets lost their lives in action, besides the wounded, suicides, and murders. Mujahideen continue to fight against Najibullah's regime. May, Afghan guerrillas elect Sibhhatullah Mojadidi as head of their government-in-exile.
1992 April 15, The Mujahideen take Kabul and liberate Afghanistan, Najibullah is protected by UN. The Mujahideen form an Islamic State, Islamic Jihad Council, elections. Iranian and Pakistani interference increases, more fighting, Professor Burhannudin Rabbani is elected President.
1994 The Taliban militia are born, and advance rapidly against the Rabbani government. Dostum and Hekmatyar continued to clash against Rabbani's government, and as a result Kabul is reduced to rubble.
1995 Massive gains by the Taliban. Increased Pakistani and Iranian interference.
1996 June, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of Hezbi-Islami, having been eliminated as a military power, signs a peace pact with Rabbani, and returns to Kabul to rule as prime minister. 27 September Taliban militia force President Rabbani and his government out of Kabul. After the capture of Kabul, the Taliban execute Najibullah. Alliance between Government, Hezbi Wahdat, and Dostum Oppression of women by the Taliban, women must be fully veiled, no longer allowed to work, go out alone or even wear white socks. Men are forced to grow beards. Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport is outlawed. Tensions rise as Afghan government accuse Pakistan of aiding the Taliban. Massive human rights violations by the Taliban.
1997 Mass graves of Taliban soldiers containing between 1,500 and 2,000 bodies are found. The men were believed to have been captured in May by general Abdul Malik during the Taliban's brief takeover of Mazar-i-Sharif.
1998 February, Earthquake strikes in northeastern Afghansitan, killing over 4,000 people, destroying villages and leaving thousands of people homeless. August, Taliban finally capture Mazar-i-Sharif, and massacre thousands of innocent civilians afterwards, mostly Hazaras. August 20 United States launches cruise missiles hitting Afghanistan's Khost region. US states its intent was to destroy terrorist bases/training facilities used by Osama bin Laden and his followers. September, Tensions rise between Iran and the Taliban. Iranians are angry about the killing of their diplomats and a journalist by the Taliban when they captured Mazar-i-Sharif. Soon they deploy 70,000 troops to carry out military exercises near the Afghan border. In the end, no fighting occurs between the Taliban and the Iranian army.
1999 February, Earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan, affecting over 30,000 people, and killing at least 60 to 70 people. September, The ex-king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, calls for a grand assembly, or Loya Jirga to discuss ways of bringing peace to the country. The United Front soon welcomes the idea, but the Taliban ridicule Mohammad Zahir Shah's attempts at establishing peace. October, UN Security Council Resolution 1267 is adopted; sanctions against the Taliban on grounds that they offered sanctuary to Osama bin Ladin.
2000 May, Taliban torture and kill civilians in the Robatak Pass (on the border between Baghlan and Samangan provinces). September, Taloqan finally falls to the Taliban. December, UN Security Council Resolution 1333 is adopted; additional sanctions against the Taliban for their continuing support of terrorism and cultivation of narcotics, etc.
2001 January, Taliban torture and kill numerous civilians in Yakaolang (Hazaras). March, Despite pleas and requests from various international diplomats, Islamic scholars, the Taliban destroy ancient historical statues in the Kabul Museum, historical sites in Ghazni, and blow up the giant Bamiyan Buddhas. World expresses outrage and disgust against the Taliban action. April, Ahmad Shah Masood visits Europe to gather support against the Taliban. April, UN accuses Pakistan of not allowing adequate supply of food and medicines to displaced Afghans, at the Jalozai camp, near Peshawar. June - All female foreign aid workers banned from driving.

Image, top: Bamiyan photographed in 1963

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