Socialist Worker

Afghan timeline

Issue No. 2272

  • 1747 Kingdom of Afghanistan was founded.
  • 1836 Lord Auckland, the British governor of India, wrote “It is not the practice of the British government to interfere with the affairs of other independent states.”
  • 1838 Britain invaded using forged documents as an excuse.
  • 1842 Urban riots erupted and the British withdraw.
  • 1868 The British invade. They were met with a general uprising in Kabul.
  • 1881 Britain withdraws again.
  • 1919 War led by King Amanullah drives back British again.
  • After 1945 Britain declined as an imperial power and was forced to grant India independence. Both US and Russia try to influence Afghanistan.
  • 1978 Communist coup leads to civil war.
  • 1979 Pro-Russian government collapses and Russians invade. During nine years of occupation, roughly a million Afghans died. The US supported elements of the Afghan resistance.
  • 1989 Russian troops leave. Around six million Afghans are in refugee camps.
  • 1994 The Taliban, which had grown up in the refugee camps, invaded from Pakistan, supported by the US.
  • 1996 Taliban take Kabul
  • 1998 US bombs Afghanistan.
  • 2001 October US and Britain launch air strikes.
  • 2001 November Taliban abandon Kabul.
  • 2002 First British soldier killed—shot by a colleague.
  • 2003 US air raid in Uruzgan kills 48, at a wedding party.
  • 2004 Presidential elections held after being delayed twice. Hamid Karzai is declared the winner.
  • 2005 Harsh winter leaves hundreds of people dead. Taliban launches an offensive.
  • 2006 British troops are in charge of Helmand province. Success against the Taliban declared
  • 2009 Obama sets a deadline of July 2011 for US forces to start withdrawing. British declare successful operation in Helmand.
  • 2010 British, US and Afghan troops launch yet another offensive in Helmand. David Cameron announces the troops won’t stay longer than necessary.


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