Where is East Timor?The Island of Timor lies atthe eastern end of theMalay Archipelago, aboutseven hundred km fromPort Darwin on the NorthWestern coast of Australia.Although the western halfof the island, with theexception of Oecussi-Ambens, has historicallybeen part of Indonesia, theeast of the island has notand has a separate historyand identity
What is the Island like?• Volcanic Island• Mostly mountainous. South’s flat and suited for farming.• Tropical climate. Very high annual rainfall.• It’s main exports are: Coffee Copra Palm Oil Rice Wax Hides• Timor ‘s seas are currently being investigated by multinationals searching for oil.
• East Timor has long been involved in international trade.• Before the Portuguese arrived, the islands woods were traded with the Chinese and the Arabs who bought them by barter; exchanging axes, pottery, lead and other goods for sandalwood.• The local population was culturally diverse and nearly thirty ethnic languages have been identified.• The Portugese encouraged the use of Tetum as a common language.
Antique HierarchyKings or Chiefs Liurai Lesser Nobles DatoFreemen, Slaves Ema- and Nomadic Ato Lutum Shepherds reino
• Timor was "discovered" by Portuguese navigators in the sixteenth century. Over the next two centuries, contact between the Timorese and the Portuguese centred around Portuguese-sponsored missionary activities. In the eighteenth century, the Portuguese stepped up the colonisation process and established a seat of government in Timor. The Portuguese were not the only colonial power in the area and found themselves in conflict with the Dutch over Timor. Shortly after establishing government in Timor, the Portuguese abandoned the western half of the island to the Dutch. The division of the island was officially set down in a treaty between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1859. This treaty was not formally ratified by the two governments until 1904.
• The local people resisted the colonisation of their island. There were armed insurrections in 1719, 1895 and 1959. Some Dominican missionaries supported these revolts against the government. Although under Portuguese influence for such a long time, the Portuguese had little direct effect on the culture. Until the nineteenth century, the liurai (traditional rulers) effectively avoided direct control, and as Portugal went into decline after the first world war, East Timor was largely neglected.
• During World War II, Japan occupied East Timor. With considerable help from the Timorese, several hundred Australian soldiers carried out a guerrilla war on the island. The cost for helping the Australians was high, villages were burned, and food supplies were seized. The number of Timorese killed by Japanese and in the allied bombing that preceded recapture is estimated at 40,000.
• Portugal was given East Timor back after the war and continued to neglect the island. But the economy began to improve and this, coupled with a general world-wide move towards decolonization, encouraged more and more Timorese to consider independence.
• Although the 1959 insurrection failed, the internal pressure for independence increased and in the 1970s a national liberation front was formed. Events in Portugal precipitated the situation, the fall of the fascist regime there in April 1974 significantly strengthened the independence movement in East Timor. The new Portuguese government legalised pro-independence groups and in September 1974 FRETELIN, the Revolutionary Front for the Independence of East Timor was founded.
• Despite its bright start, the decolonisation process was to go radically wrong. Within East Timor, the colonial administration was concerned that things were going too quickly. They helped to form UDT, the Timor Democratic Union, which campaigned for a more gradual move to independence and possible federation with Portugal. Between them, UDT and FRETELIN had the support of 90% of the Timorese population. A third force entered East Timorese politics, APODETI, the Timor Popular Democratic Association, which supported integration with Indonesia. This group had been set up by the Indonesian consulate and failed to gain significant support. Indonesia had been a Dutch colony, a large nation it was comprised of numerous islands colonised by the Dutch in the area, one of which was West Timor.
• At some point in 1974 the Indonesian generals had set up a covert intelligence operation, Operasi Komodo, which aimed to bring about East Timors integration with Indonesia by any means.
• The "excuse" for the Indonesian invasion was an armed conflict between UDT and FRETELIN, which was in fact largely engineered by the Indonesian army.• UDT attempted a coup in August 1975. A few days before this, the leaders of UDT, who had no knowledge of any ulterior Indonesian motives, were flown to Jakarta. There they were told, in confidence, by General Murtopo that FRETILIN was a communist group and that they were being trained by the North Vietnamese to take over East Timor. The UDT coup was designed to preempt this, completely fictitious, FRETILIN coup.
• FRETILIN resisted the UDT takeover and there was a brief armed conflict between the two groups. But within three weeks of the UDT coup, the conflict was over and FRETILIN was in control of the territory. The Indonesian army though continued to claim that there was an ongoing problem and the Indonesian (government controlled) national press reported increasing chaos within East Timor. With very little international press interest these stories were accepted without question.
• To give further credence to these stories, the Indonesians launched, on October 16, an attack from West Timor. They claimed that this was an attack by the UDT and that this showed the conflict was ongoing. In fact by this stage most of the leaders of the UDT were being held in a refugee camp in West Timor well out of the way. The Indonesian attack went wrong - five western journalists were killed and the Indonesians were successfully bogged down by FRETILIN resistance. There is evidence to suggest that, following the deaths of the western journalists, the Indonesian government temporarily halted the invasion, afraid of a negative reaction from western governments. There was none.
• The Indonesian government took this as a sign that their invasion would be tolerated. They began to make a series of small incursions to give support to their story that they were only going in to protect the East Timorese from an on-going civil war. In an attempt to get some international recognition, FRETILIN declared unilateral independence on November 28th 1975. The Indonesians responded with a full- scale and very public invasion on December 7th.
• There was fierce resistance in Dili to this invasion but this was quelled by massive Indonesian reinforcements. On 25th and 26th of December landings at Liquica and Maubara led to more mass killings. By the end of February 1976, the Indonesian appointed government of East Timor admitted that 60,000 East Timorese had died since the invasion. Many Timorese sought refuge behind FRETILIN lines, nearly half a million people may have been displaced in the first few months after the invasion.
• By April 1976 there were 32,000 Indonesian troops in East Timor and 10,000 in West Timor. On the 31 May a peoples assembly was convened by the army. On the 2nd of June, the delegates (all 28 of them, "supervised" by the army) asked the Indonesian government to annex East Timor. On the 17th of July President Suharto signed a bill that made East Timor Indonesias 27th province. The UN has never accepted this assembly as legitimate and, under International law, the annexation of East Timor remains illegal.
• Officially, the decolonization process was never completed in East Timor and the UN recognizes Portugal as the administrative power. Portugal was suffering from internal difficulties at the time of the invasion and effectively abandoned East Timor to the Indonesians. They have, however, never accepted the annexation and the Portuguese have campaigned strongly for the East Timorese, particularly over the last few years.
• Gaining control of their new 27th province proved difficult for the Indonesian regime. The East Timorese resisted strongly and the situation only moved significantly in the Indonesians favour when they managed to acquire counter- insurgency aircraft from a number of western states (See Western Complicity below). These were used to bomb the mountainous areas, where most of the population was hiding. Casualties came not just from the bombing itself, but the attacks were so intense that it was impossible to farm and many people died from starvation.
• Finally, in 1978 and 79 what was left of the population began to return to their homes, in an attempt to escape the famine and relentless attacks. In order to further depress the people, the Indonesian army split up many communities and forcibly resettled them.• By the end of 1979, the Indonesian generals believed that they had destroyed all resistance. FRETILIN, who had led the armed resistance, had suffered huge losses and their leader, Nicolau dos Rein Lobato, had been killed in combat in December 1978. The people had also suffered, an estimated 200,000 out of a total population of 700,000 had died. (Although they had initially been enemies, UDT also joined FRETILIN in their resistance to the Indonesians.)
• But resistance continued. FRETILIN regrouped under their new leader, Xanana Gusmao, and the guerrilla war continued throughout the 1980s. (A ceasefire was negotiated between Gusmao and the head of the Indonesian forces in East Timor in 1983 but rejected by President Suharto).• In 1988 FRETILIN and UDT set up a coordinating body, CNRM - the National Council for Maubere resistance, through which they could work together for an independent East Timor. Xanana Gusmao, now a CNRM as well as Fretelin leader, was appointed head of the National Armed Forces for the Liberation of East Timor (FALINTIL). (In 1998, the CNRM became CNRT, the national council for Timorese resistance)
• Since the invasion, the Indonesian regime has acted with brutality towards the local population. The traditional community structures were destroyed by resettlement. Movement was so restricted that famine often arose simply because people could not get to the land to farm. Numerous cases of rape, murder and political imprisonment have been documented.• What has been the role of the international community in all this ?
“Western” Complicity(Western in a cultural sense, most of the countries named are in fact to the north-west, south and north-east of East Timor).
• On the 22nd of December 1975, the UN Security Council condemned the invasion of East Timor. Since then numerous resolutions supporting the East Timorese have been passed. Portugal, in 1988, managed to secure both European Commission and Parliament support. In 1989 the UN Human Rights sub- commission also expressed concern. But despite this, East Timor was effectively off the International agenda. Why ?
• Most of the major western states tacitly supported the invasion. US President Gerald Ford was in Jakarta just prior to the invasion. The Australian Government was one of the first to recognise the Indonesian takeover as legitimate and its failure to pursue the death of five journalists working for two Australian news agencies in October 1975 may have encouraged the Indonesian government to proceed.
• Sales of weapons and aid to Indonesia have been significant. Without the large supplies, including counter-insurgency aircraft bought in 1977, the Indonesian victory would have been far from inevitable. America supplied large amounts of military equipment. Both Britain and France supplied aircraft. Indonesian military personnel were trained in the west.• It is unlikely that Indonesia would have succeeded in their takeover without this support.
• Despite continuing resistance, Indonesia felt by 1989 that they were sufficiently in control of East Timor to introduce a policy of transmigration and to allow a papal visit.• At a mass by the Pope on Oct 12th 1989 in Dili in front of a number of foreign journalists, an anti- Indonesian demonstration took place. This was the start of a new direction for the resistance movement and in January and September 1990 pro-independence demonstrations were again held in Dili. Although suppressed by the regime, the non-violent and political resistance was beginning to grow. This unarmed resistance began to work closely with the armed groups.
• Initially, the Indonesians do not seem to have seen this new initiave as a major threat. A visit to East Timor by Portuguese MPs was to be allowed in early November 1991, but this was cancelled at the last minute as the Indonesians objected to the presence of an Australian journalist who was to accompany the visit.
• On November 12th 1991 Indonesian troops opened fire on a crowd of unarmed and peaceful demonstrators at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili. The demonstration followed a mass for a pro-democracy activist who had been shot by the Indonesian army. What was different about this atrocity, compared to the many which had gone on previously, was that some foreign journalists were present and managed to get much of the shooting on film.
• Between those killed in the initial shooting and those who were arrested and have never been seen since, an estimated 200 - 300 people were killed.• The world wide outcry was intense and the Indonesian regime had to set up a commission of inquiry. Some soldiers were sentenced for a few months, however captured demonstrators received sentences from 10 years to life.
• The Santa Cruz massacre provided the impetus necessary to restart action on the diplomatic front. The UN made a concerted effort to get Portugal and Indonesia around a table to discuss solutions. They hoped to eventually include Timorese leaders: Xanana Gusmao, head of CNRM and FALINTIL; and Bishop Belo, the spiritual leader of Timorese catholics. But before the talks took place, on the 20th December 1992, Xanana was arrested. Shortly afterwards he appeared on television and denounced his fight for independence.
• In 1993 Xanana Gusmao received a life sentence in a trial that was condemned as unjust by observers. He was only allowed to read 2 pages of a 28 page defence. From prison, a number of smuggled interviews reached the outside and it became clear that Xananas denouncement was forced, and that he still supported independence. If anything, his imprisonment gave Xanana much greater influence and a higher profile internationally. (His life sentence was commuted to 20 years as part of a "good will" gesture to celebrate one of Suhartos birthdays.)
• 1995 saw the 20th anniversary of the invasion, and the fourth anniversary of the Dili massacre. Around this time there was considerable unrest in East Timor and the Indonesian regime arrested and detained large numbers of young men. 1995 saw a return to oppression in East Timor. The number of disappearances increased and there were many reports of detainees being tortured in prison. At the same time as the situation in East Timor was deteriorating, resistance was moving to Jakarta.
• Young East Timorese had been encouraged to go to Jakarta to study, the regime hoping to weaken the traditional culture further and strengthen their ties to Indonesia. But many of these Timorese had links to the resistance movement. As the anniversaries approached there were demonstrations outside foreign Embassies in Jakarta. The demonstrations usually ended with a number of the protesters jumping into the embassy walls and pleading for asylum. (A number of Timorese simply jumped into embassys without prior demonstration.) The countries involved did not have to worry about embarassing the Indonesian government by accepting them as Portugal automatically agreed to take them.
• The largest demonstration in Jakarta, on the anniversary of the invasion, involved not only Timorese but Indonesian pro-democracy activists. This was the first time there had been such a link and was regarded as an extremely positive move by many observers.
• Since the massacre at Santa Cruz the international community was more active on East Timor and some "appropriate noises" were made. This was largely as a result of growing number of individuals and groups who campaigned in their own countries on this issue. Yet the international response was still disappointing. In their 1994 report to the UN, Amnesty International criticised governments who professed concern but then sold Indonesia military equipment.
• The British government was and remains particularly bad for this sort of double standard. It granted export licenses for 44 Hawk aeroplanes, which are eminently suitable for counter-insurgency use. The British claimed that they were to be used for training purposes and that they had assurances from the Indonesian government that they would not be used in Timor. (Aid and training were given to Indonesia on the same grounds that it would not be used to support its occupation of East Timor). The British government though was highly selective about who it believed, when Hugh OShaughnessy, a British Journalist, saw Hawks over Dili on Sunday the 12th of November 1995, the Government chose to believe the blanket denial by the Indonesians.
• But, although, the British set a bad example, Australias record at this time was even worse. Australia was one of the few countries to have recognised the invasion and annexation as legitimate. In 1991, it signed an agreement with Jakarta to allow exploration and extraction of the oil reserves in the Timor Sea. Under International law this area still belongs to the Portuguese government who were outraged at the move. Australia also signed in 1995, a security treaty with Indonesia.
• It should be noted though that Australia has the largest number of Timorese refugees and that there is strong grassroots support for East Timor. Due to this, the Australian government was under constant pressure to change and the Australian press kept the issue in the public arena. Equally, the US also sold weapons to the Suharto regime and was reluctant to criticise its actions.
• 1996/1997 followed 1995 in being a time of continued repression and increasing resistance. Frequently human rights groups reported arbitrary arrests and widespread human rights abuses. The resistance of the local population increased, perhaps encouraged by the award of the Nobel Peace prize to two East Timorese, Bishop Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta.
• Internationally, there was increased activity. The new Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, appointed a special envoy to East Timor to try and regenerate the cancelled tri-partite talks. Jamsheed Markers first visit to East Timor proved controversial. A group of students, frustrated at being denied access to the UN envoy, demonstrated outside his hotel. The demonstration was broken up violently. There were unconfirmed reports of deaths. Nearly 40 people were arrested and human rights groups received reports of abuse in prison. Despite this unpromising start, the tri- partite talks were restarted and the Portuguese and Indonesian governments agreed to increase the number of meetings to try and find a solution to the problem.
• One of the most positive developments on the international front came at the end of the year when Nelson Mandela was allowed to meet Xanana Gusmao. Mandela offered to work as a mediator in the conflict and called for Xananas release.
• The last few months of 1997 were very difficult for Indonesia, huge forest fires raged uncontrollably throughout Sumatra, causing an environmental disaster that affected most of South East Asia. The Indonesian economy was affected by the sudden and unexpected downturn in the South East Asian economies. This latter factor was to make 1998 one of the most dramatic years in recent Indonesian history.
• 1998 started out uneventfully. The situation in East Timor worsened as the government and army responded harshly to continued resistance. The drought in the region which had exacerbated the forest fires in Sumatra, led to fears of widespread famine to which East Timor was particularly vulnerable.
• Indonesia continued to suffer from the impact of the economic downturn. The rupiah lost 80 percent of its value in a matter of months. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. The Indonesian people began to openly demand the end of the Suharto regime. In february tens of thousands of Indonesians took to the streets. The demonstrations become riots, with the anger of the crowds directed their anger, possibly encouraged by the police, at the Chinese minority. Suharto was re-elected by the peoples consultative assembly in April for another five years but lasted less than five weeks. In May he was forced to resign and was replaced by his close colleague, B. J. Habibie.
• Java is the most densely populated area in the world with 120 million people or 890 per square kilometre - 11 million more than the land can sustain. This was the increasingly pressing reason behind the Suharto governments transmigration policy. In 1997, the government planned to encourage 350 thousand people, 1000 a day, to leave Java. Concerns were raised about where they were going. The Indonesian equivalent of green belt sites included areas of virgin rain forest and also a number of politically sensitive areas where it has been argued that transmigration was being used as a way of swamping local cultures with Javanese culture.
• Despite the continued resistance to their rule, the Suharto regime actively encouraged Indonesians to emigrate to East Timor by giving them money incentives. It has also made it clear that opportunities for East Timorese on the island would be limited. Civil servants appointments were often made to non-Timorese and non- Timorese businesses were given preference over Timorese ones. The best agricultural land available was given to the newcomers. In turn, East Timorese were encouraged to move to other parts of Indonesia with promises of land when they get there.
• The inevitable result was a population shift, but the numbers are staggering. Between 1992 and 1997, 100,000 Indonesians moved to East Timor (out of a 1995 population of 800 000.) At its height the influx reached 1,000 people a week. (Reliable figures are not available for the movement of Timorese in the other direction.)
• The Indonesian family planning programme won support from the World Bank. But in East Timor it appeared to be being seriously abused.There were anecdotal reports that throughout the 80s and 90s, women were being injected with what they thought were vitamins or tetanus injections. The injections were only given to women, with sometimes whole classes of schoolgirls being injected. Refugees have claimed that they took part in or witnessed such incidents. The women who had had such injections afterwards suffered menstrual problems and had problem conceiving.
• Rumours spread to the large cities that the injections were Depo-Provera, a contraceptive. Interestingly, according to the Indonesian governments own figures, Depo- Provera is the most popular form of birth control in East Timor. In 1987, 60% of all women using contraception in East Timor used Depo-Provera in comparison to 19% in the rest of Indonesia. By 1990, the figure had risen to 66%
The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peaceand securityTOPIC #2
Where is Afghanistan?Landlocked andmountainous country, withplains in the north andsouthwest, Afghanistan isvariously described asbeing located within SouthAsia, Central Asia andsometimes WesternAsia (or the Middle East).Afghanistans highest pointis Nowshak, at 7,485 m(24,557 ft) above sea level.
1953 Prince MohammadDaoud becomesPrime Minister.
1954 The U.S. rejectsAfghanistans request tobuy military equipmentto 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 enroll in theUniversity which has become co- educational. • Women begin to enter theworkforce, and the government.
1961 Pakistan andAfghanistan comeclose to war over Pashtunistan.
1963, 1964Zahir Shah demandsDaouds 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
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---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. Womens 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 (Russia) invade in December.
1980•Dr. Najibullah isbrought 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 Feb. 15, 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 Najibullahs 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 Rabbanis 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.• September 27--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 Talibans 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 20th--United States launches cruise missles hitting Afghanistans Khost region. US states its intent was to destroy so called terrorist bases/training facilities used by Osama bin Laden and his followers. Some Afghan civilians are also killed.• 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 Shahs 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 (Hazaras) in Yakaolang.• 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 from the 5th century. 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.• April-- Mullah Rabbani, the Talibans second-in-command dies of liver cancer.• May-- Taliban order religious minorities to wear tags identifying themselves as non-Muslims.• September 9-- Ahmad Shah Masood is killed by assassins posing as journalists. Two days later (September 11th), suicide attacks on the U.S. kill more than 3,000 people and destroy the two towers of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon.• October-- Abdul Haq is killed by the Taliban. The United States and UK working with the forces of the United Front (UNIFSA) launch air strikes against the Taliban. ( The Americans hold Osama bin Laden directly responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center, and the Taliban were targeted for protecting him.)• November: Taliban lose control of Mazar-i Sharif.• December 5-- Bonn Agreement. Afghan political groups come together in Bonn, Germany and form an interim government. Hamid Karzai is chosen as Chairman.
2002• April-- Former King Mohammad Zahir returns to Afghanistan (April) -- does not claim throne.• War continues against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.• June-- Loya Jirga elects Hamid Karzai as President of a Transitional Government. Karzai picks members of his administration to serve until elections are held in 2004• July-- Haji Abdul Qadir (brother of Abdul Haq) is killed. US air raid in Uruzgan province kills approximately 48 civilians, many of them members of a wedding party
2003• War against Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue -- further weakened.• August - NATO takes control of security in Kabul.
2004• January-- Afghanistan adopts a new constitution. The country is now a republic with 3 branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary).• 2004 October/November - Presidential elections are finally held after being delayed twice. Hamid Karzai is declared the winner, with 55.4% of the votes. He is sworn in December. Karzais strongest challenger, Yunis Qanuni, came in second with 16.3% of the votes. The elections were not without controversy; allegations of fraud and ballot stuffing were brought up by many of the presidential candidates including Yunis Qanuni. Many felt that Hamid Karzai had an unfair advantage over the other candidates as he had access to financial and logistical resources that many of the other candidates did not have. A panel of international experts was setup to investigate the matter. The panel did find evidence of voting irregularities, however, they said that it was not enough to affect the outcome of the elections.
2005• Harsh winter leaves hundreds of people dead.• Major advances in the disarmament process announced.• March-- Dostum appointed as the Chief of Staff to the Commander of the Armed Forces. Yunis Qanuni announces new political alliance (March 31st).• April-- Karzai welcomes the formation of Qanunis political alliance.
October 15, 1999The Al-Qaeda and TalibanNexusThe United Nations SecurityCouncil adopts Resolution 1267,creating the so-called al-Qaedaand Taliban Sanctions Committee,which links the two groups asterrorist entities and imposessanctions on their funding, travel,and arms shipments. The UNmove follows a period ofascendancy for al-Qaeda and itsleader, Osama bin Laden, whoguided the terror group fromAfghanistan and Peshawar,Pakistan, in the late 1980s, toSudan in 1991, and back toAfghanistan in the mid-1990s. TheTaliban, which rose from theashes of Afghanistans post-Sovietcivil war, provides al-Qaedasanctuary for operations.
September 09, 2001A Norther AllianceAssassinationAhmad Shah Massoud, commander ofthe Northern Alliance, an anti-Talibancoalition, is assassinated by al-Qaedaoperatives. The killing of Massoud, amaster of guerilla warfare known asthe Lion of the Panjshir, deals a seriousblow to the anti-Taliban resistance.Terrorism experts believe hisassassination assured Osama binLaden protection by the Taliban afterthe 9/11 attacks. Expert Peter Bergenlater calls Massouds assassination "the curtain raiser for the attacks onNew York City and Washington, DC."
September 11, 2001Terrorists Strike theUnited StatesAl-Qaeda operatives hijack fourcommercial airliners, crashing theminto the World Trade Center in NewYork and the Pentagon in Washington,DC. A fourth plane crashes in a field inShanksville, Pennsylvania. Close tothree thousand people die in theattacks. Although Afghanistan is thebase for al-Qaeda, none of thenineteen hijackers are Afghannationals. Mohammed Atta, anEgyptian, led the group, and fifteen ofthe hijackers originated from SaudiArabia. President George W. Bushvows to "win the war againstterrorism,", and later zeros in on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden inAfghanistan. Bush eventually calls onthe Taliban regime to "deliver to theUnited States authorities all theleaders of al-Qaeda who hide in yourland," or share in their fate.
September 18, 2001A War FootingPresident George W. Bush signs intolaw a joint resolution authorizing theuse of force against those responsiblefor attacking the United States on9/11. This joint resolution will later becited by the Bush administration aslegal rationale for its decision to takesweeping measures to combatterrorism, from invading Afghanistan,to eavesdropping on U.S. citizenswithout a court order, to standing upthe detention camp at GuantanamoBay, Cuba.
October 07, 2001The Opening SalvoThe U.S. military, with British support,begins a bombing campaign againstTaliban forces, officially launchingOperation Enduring Freedom. Canada,Australia, Germany, and France pledgefuture support. The wars early phase(PDF) mainly involves U.S. air strikes onal-Qaeda and Taliban forces that areassisted by a partnernship of aboutone thousand U.S. special forces, theNorthern Alliance, and ethnic Pashtunanti-Taliban forces. The first wave ofconventional ground forces arrivestwelve days later. Most of the groundcombat is between the Taliban and itsAfghan opponents.
November,2001The Taliban in RetreatThe Taliban regime unravels rapidlyafter its loss at Mazar-e-Sharif onNovember 9, 2001, to forces loyal toAbdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbekmilitary leader. Over the next weekTaliban strongholds crumble aftercoalition and Northern Allianceoffensives on Taloqan (11/11),Bamiyan (11/11), Herat (11/12), Kabul(11/13), and Jalalabad (11/14). OnNovember 14, 2001, the UN SecurityCouncil passes Resolution 1378, callingfor a "central role" for the UnitedNations in establishing a transitionaladministration and inviting memberstates to send peacekeeping forces topromote stability and aid delivery.
December 05, 2001An Interim GovermentAfter the fall of Kabul in November2001, the United Nations invites majorAfghan factions, most prominently theNorthern Alliance and a group led bythe former king (but not the Taliban),to a conference in Bonn, Germany. OnDecember 5, 2001, the factions signthe Bonn Agreement, endorsed by UNSecurity Council Resolution 1383. Theagreement, reportedly reached withsubstantial Iranian diplomatic helpbecause of Irans support for theNorthern Alliance faction, installsHamid Karzai as interim administrationhead, and creates an internationalpeacekeeping force to maintainsecurity in Kabul. The Bonn Agreementis followed by UN Security CouncilResolution 1386 on December 20,which establishes the InternationalSecurity Assistance Force, or ISAF.
December 09, 2001The Taliban CollapsesThe end of the Taliban regime isgenerally tied to this date, when theTaliban surrender Kandahar (PDF) andTaliban leader Mullah Omar flees thecity, leaving it under tribal lawadministered by Pashtun leaders.Despite the official fall of the Taliban,however, al-Qaeda leaders continue tohide out in the mountains.
December, 2001Bin Laden EscapesAfter tracking al-Qaeda leader Osamabin Laden to the well-equipped ToraBora cave complex southeast of Kabul,Afghan militias engage in a fierce two-week battle (December 3 to 17) withal-Qaeda militants. It results in a fewhundred deaths and the eventualescape of bin Laden, who is thought tohave left for Pakistan on horseback onDecember 16--just a day beforeAfghan forces capture twenty of hisremaining men. Despite intelligencepointing to bin Ladens presence inTora Bora, U.S. forces do not lead theassault, which is carried out by aragtag Afghan contingent led by HazratAli, Haji Zaman, and Haji Zahir. Somecritics will later question why U.S.forces did not take a more assertiverole in the engagement.
March, 2002Mixed SignalsOperation Anaconda, the first majorground assault and the largestoperation since Tora Bora, is launchedagainst an estimated eight hundred al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in theShah-i-Kot Valley south of the city ofGardez (Paktia Province). Nearly twothousand U.S. and one thousandAfghan troops battle the militants.Despite the operations size, however,Anaconda does not represent abroadening of the war effort. Instead,Pentagon planners begin shiftingmilitary and intelligence resourcesaway from Afghanistan in the directionof Saddam Husseins Iraq, which isincreasingly mentioned as a chief U.S.threat in the "war on terror."
April 17, 2002ReconstructingAfghanistanPresident George W. Bush calls for thereconstruction of Afghanistan in aspeech at the Virginia MilitaryInstitute. "By helping to build anAfghanistan that is free from this eviland is a better place in which to live,we are working in the best traditionsof George Marshall," he says, evokingthe post-World War II Marshall Planthat revived Western Europe. But theUnited States and the internationalcommunity do not come close toMarshall Plan-like reconstructionspending for Afghanistan. The U.S.Congress appropriates over $38 billionin humanitarian and reconstructionassistance to Afghanistan from 2001 to2009.
June, 2002Transitional GovermentNamedHamid Karzai, chairman of Afghanistansinterim administration since December2001, is picked to head the countrystransitional government. His selectioncomes during an emergency loya jirgaassembled in Kabul, attended by 1,550delegates (including about 200 women)from Afghanistans 364 districts. Karzai,leader of the powerful Popalzai tribe ofDurrani Pashtuns, returned toAfghanistan from Pakistan after the 9/11attacks to organize Pashtun resistance tothe Taliban. Some observers allege Karzaitolerates corruption by members of hisclan and his government. The NorthernAlliance, dominated by ethnic Tajiks, failsin its effort to set up a primeministership, but does succeed inchecking presidential powers by assigningmajor authorities to the electedparliament, such as the power to vetosenior official nominees and to impeach apresident.
November, 2002Establishing aReconstruction ModelThe U.S. military creates a civil affairsframework to coordinate redevelopmentwith UN and nongovernmentalorganizations and to expand the authorityof the Kabul government. These so-calledprovincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs,are stood up first in Gardez in November,followed by Bamiyan, Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kandahar, and Herat. Commandfor individual PRTs is eventually handedover to NATO states. While credited withimproving security for aid agencies, themodel is not universally praised. Concernmounts that the PRT system lacks centralcontrolling authority, is disorganized, andcreates what a U.S. Institute of Peacereport calls "an ad hoc approach" tosecurity and development. Such criticismgrows beyond the PRT program andbecomes a common theme in the NATOwar effort, as a maze of “nationalcaveats” restricts the activities ofmember forces. Critics contend this limitsthe coalitions effectiveness.
May 01, 2003“Major Combat” OverDuring a briefing with reporters inKabul, Secretary of Defense DonaldRumsfeld declares an end to "majorcombat." The announcement coincideswith President George W. Bushs"mission accomplished" declaration ofan end to fighting in Iraq. Rumsfeldsays President Bush, U.S. CentralCommand Chief Gen. Tommy Franks,and Afghan President Hamid Karzai"have concluded that we are at a pointwhere we clearly have moved frommajor combat activity to a period ofstability and stabilization andreconstruction and activities." Thereare only eight thousand U.S. soldiersstationed in Afghanistan. It is predictedthat the transition from combat toreconstruction will “open the door formany aid organizations, particularlyEuropean groups, that had balked atsending troops, supplies, or otherassistance.
August, 2003An International MissionThe North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) assumes control ofinternational security forces (ISAF) inAfghanistan, expanding NATO/ISAFsrole across the country. It is NATOsfirst operational commitment outsideof Europe. Originally tasked withsecuring Kabul and its surroundingareas, NATO expands in September2005, July 2006, and October 2006.The number of ISAF troops growsaccordingly, from an initial fivethousand to around sixty-fivethousand troops from forty-twocountries (PDF), including all twenty-eight NATO member states. In 2006,ISAF assumes command of theinternational military forces in easternAfghanistan from the U.S.-ledcoalition, and also becomes moreinvolved in intensive combatoperations in southern Afghanistan.
January, 2004A Constitution forAfghanistanAn assembly of 502 Afghan delegatesagrees on a constitution forAfghanistan (PDF), creating a strongpresidential system intended to unitethe countrys various ethnic groups.The act is seen as a positive steptoward democracy. "Afghans haveseized the opportunity provided by theUnited States and its internationalpartners to lay the foundation fordemocratic institutions and provide aframework for national elections,"declares U.S. Ambassador toAfghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.
October 09, 2004A New President forAfghanistanIn historic national balloting, Karzaibecomes the first democraticallyelected head of Afghanistan. Votersturn out in high numbers despitethreats of violence and intimidation.Karzai wins with 55 percent of thevote, while his closest rival, formereducation minister Younis Qanooni,polls 16 percent. Karzais electionvictory is marred by accusations offraud by his opponents and by thekidnapping of three foreign UNelection workers by a militant group.But the election is nonetheless hailedas a victory for the fragile nation;Afghans had not gone to the pollssince 1969, when they cast ballots inparliamentary elections during thereign of King Mohammed Zahir Shah.
October 29, 2004Bin Laden SurfacesSignaling the persistent challengesfacing the U.S.-led coalition inAfghanistan, Osama bin Laden releasesa videotaped message three weeksafter the countrys presidentialelection and just days before the U.S.polls in which George W. Bush will winreelection. In remarks aired on theArab television network Al Jazeera, binLaden taunts the Bush administrationand takes responsibility for the attacksof September 11, 2001. "We want torestore freedom to our nation, just asyou lay waste to our nation," bin Ladensays.
May 23, 2005An Enduring USCommitmentAfghan President Hamid Karzai andPresident George W. Bush issue a jointdeclaration (PDF) that pronouncestheir respective countries strategicpartners. The declaration gives U.S.forces access to Afghan militaryfacilities to prosecute "the war againstinternational terror and the struggleagainst violent extremism." Thealliances goal, the agreement says, isto "strengthen U.S.-Afghan ties andhelp ensure Afghanistans long-termsecurity, democracy, and prosperity."Moreover, the agreement calls forWashington to "help organize, train,equip, and sustain Afghan securityforces as Afghanistan develops thecapacity to undertake thisresponsibility," and to continue torebuild the countrys economy andpolitical democracy.
September 18, 2005Democracy andAfghanistanMore than six million Afghans turn outto vote for the Wolesi Jirga (Council ofPeople), the Meshrano Jirga (Councilof Elders), and local councils.Considered the most democraticelections ever in Afghanistan, nearlyhalf those casting ballots are women,viewed as a sign of political progress ina highly patriarchal and conservativesociety. Sixty-eight out of 249 seats areset aside for female members ofAfghanistans lower house ofparliament and 23 out of 102 arereserved in the upper house.
July, 2006A Bloody ResurgenceViolence increases across the countryduring the summer months, withintense fighting erupting in the southin July. The number of suicide attacksquintuples from 27 in 2005 to 139 in2006, while remotely detonatedbombings more than double, to 1,677.Despite a string of recent electionsuccesses, some experts blame afaltering central government for thespike in attacks. "As with mostinsurgencies, the critical precondition[to the Afghan insurgency] is thecollapse of governance" (PDF), saysAfghanistan expert Seth G. Jones.Jones and other experts point to themany Afghans who lack basic services,the governments difficultly setting upits police forces, and the lack ofinternational forces to assist withsecurity.
November 2006Cracks in the CoalitionAt the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, riftsemerge among member states on troopcommitments to Afghanistan. NATOSecretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer setsa target of 2008 for the Afghan NationalArmy to begin to take control of security. "Iwould hope that by 2008 we will have madeconsiderable progress," he says, "with a morestable political architecture in place, and witha strong interface between NATO and thecivilian agencies and effective, trusted Afghansecurity forces gradually taking control."Leaders of the twenty-six countries agree toremove some national restrictions on how,when, and where forces can be used. Butfriction continues. With violence againstnongovernmental aid workers increasing,U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gatescriticizes NATO countries in late 2007Defense Robert Gates criticizes NATOcountries in late 2007 for not sending moresoldiers. "Our progress in Afghanistan is realbut it is fragile," Gates says. "At this time,many allies are unwilling to share the risks,commit the resources, and follow through oncollective commitments to this mission andto each other. As a result, we risk allowingwhat has been achieved in Afghanistan to slipaway"
May 2007A Taliban CommanderFallsA notorious Taliban militarycommander, Mullah Dadullah, is killedin a joint operation by Afghan, U.S.,and NATO forces in the south ofAfghanistan. Dadullah is believed tohave been a leader of guerrilla forcesin the war in Helmand Province,deploying suicide bombers andordering the kidnapping ofWesterners. He once told the BBC thathundreds of suicide bombers awaitedhis command to launch an offensiveagainst foreign troops.
August 22, 2008Collateral Killings MountAfghan and UN investigations find thaterrant fire from a U.S. gunship killeddozens of Afghan civilians in theShindand District of western HeratProvince, drawing condemnation fromPresident Hamid Karzai and bolsteringTaliban claims that coalition forces areunable to protect the population. U.S.military officials dispute the death tollin this incident as well as claims that aseparate incident in Farah Province leftas many as 140 civilians dead. Afterbeing named top U.S. commander inAfghanistan in mid-2009, Gen. StanleyA. McChrystal orders an overhaul ofU.S. air strike procedures. "We mustavoid the trap of winning tacticalvictories, but suffering strategicdefeats, by causing civilian casualtiesor excessive damage and thusalienating the people," the generalwrites.
February 17, 2009Obama Recommits toAfghanistanNew U.S. President Barack Obamaannounces plans to send seventeenthousand more troops to the war zone.Obama reaffirms campaign statementsthat Afghanistan is the more importantU.S. front against terrorist forces. He saysthe United States will stick to a timetableto draw down most combat forces fromIraq by the end of 2011. As of January2009 the Pentagon has thirty-seventhousand troops in Afghanistan, roughlydivided between U.S. and NATOcommands. Reinforcements focus oncountering a "resurgent" Taliban andstemming the flow of foreign fightersover the Afghan-Pakistan border in thesouth. Speaking on the troop increase,Secretary of Defense Robert Gatesdescribes the original mission inAfghanistan as "too broad" and calls forestablishing limited goals such aspreventing and limiting terrorist safehavens.
March 27, 2009A New American StrategyPresident Obama announces a newstrategy for the war effort, linkingsuccess in Afghanistan to a stablePakistan. The core goal of the strategy,as outlined in an interagency whitepaper, is "to disrupt, dismantle, anddefeat al Qaeda and its safe havens inPakistan, and to prevent their returnto Pakistan or Afghanistan." Thestrategy urges the passage ofincreased aid to Pakistan and a strictstandard of measuring progress infighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban.Plans also call for the deployment ofan additional four thousand soldiers tohelp train the Afghan army and policeforce. President Hamid Karzai ofAfghanistan welcomes the strategy,stating that the plan “will bringAfghanistan and the internationalcommunity closer to success.”
April 2009A Different Call to NATOSenior U.S. military officials andcommanders, altering course from theBush administration, call on NATOnations to supply non-military assetsto Afghanistan. Officials stress theneed for NATO members to step up inbuilding Afghan civil society, such asproviding resources for provincialreconstruction teams, or PRTs. A two-day NATO summit in early April endswith a promise by NATO nations tosend an additional five thousandtroops to train the Afghan army andpolice force, and to provide securityfor the countrys August presidentialelection.
May 11, 2009Command ChangeSecretary of Defense Robert Gatesreplaces the top U.S. commander inAfghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan,with counterinsurgency and specialoperations guru Gen. Stanley A.McChrystal. McKiernans removalcomes eleven months after heassumed command of NATO forces inAfghanistan. Gates says the Pentagonneeds "fresh thinking" and "fresheyes" on the Afghanistan war at a timewhen many analysts say operationsthere are spiraling out of control.Reports indicate that the appointmentof McChrystal is intended to bring amore "aggressive and innovative"approach to the Afghan war effort intune with a more focusedcounterinsurgency strategy.
July, 2009New Strategy, Old BattlesU.S. Marines launch a major offensivein southern Afghanistan, representinga major test for the U.S. militarys newcounterinsurgency strategy. Theoffensive, involving four thousandMarines, is launched in response to agrowing Taliban insurgency in thecountrys southern provinces,especially Helmand Province. Theoperation focuses on restoringgovernment services, bolstering localpolice forces, and protecting civiliansfrom Taliban incursion. By August 2009U.S. forces are to number betweensixty thousand and sixty-eightthousand.
November, 2009Afghan PresidentialElectionAfter more than two months ofuncertainty following a disputedpresidential election on August 20,President Hamid Karzai wins anotherterm. The August 20 election, whichpitted Karzai against top contendersAbdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, wasmarred by fraud allegations. Aninvestigation by the UN-backed ElectoralComplaints Commission finds Karzai wononly 49.67 percent of the vote, below the50 percent-plus-one threshold needed toavoid a runoff. Under internationalpressure, Karzai agrees to a runoff voteon November 7. But a week before therunoff, Karzais main rival Abdullah pullsout, and Karzai is declared the winner.Concerns over Karzais legitimacy grow,and the United States and otherinternational partners call for improvedgovernance. U.S. Secretary of State HillaryClinton ties all future civilian aid togreater efforts by the Karzaiadministration to combat corruption.
December 01, 2009Obama’s Afghan SurgeNine months after renewing the U.S.commitment to the Afghan war effort,President Obama announces a majorescalation of the U.S. mission. In anationally televised speech, the presidentcommits an additional thirty thousandforces to the fight, on top of the sixty-eight thousand in place. These forces,Obama says, "will increase our ability totrain competent Afghan Security Forces,and to partner with them so that moreAfghans can get into the fight. And theywill help create the conditions for theUnited States to transfer responsibility tothe Afghans." For the first time in theeight-year war effort, a time frame is puton the U.S. military presence, as Obamasets July 2011 as the start of a troopdrawdown. But the president does notdetail how long a drawdown will take.Obama says U.S. national interests arelinked to success in the Afghan war effort,and argues that this temporary surge willforce Afghan political and militaryinstitutions to assume responsibility fortheir own affairs.
June 23, 2010General McChrystal Relievedfrom Afghan CommandGen. Stanley McChrystal is relieved ofhis post as commander of U.S. forcesin Afghanistan, following acontroversial Rolling Stone article inwhich he and his aides were quotedcriticizing the administration.President Barack Obama nominatedGen. David Petraeus, head of themilitarys Central Command andarchitect of the 2007 Iraq surge, toreplace McChrystal. The change incommand comes at a crucial time inthe war, as additional surge forces arescheduled to arrive ahead of a criticaloperation in Kandahar. Obamaemphasizes that his acceptance ofMcChrystals resignation did notreflect disagreement over thecounterinsurgency strategy he hadhelped shape. "We are in fullagreement about our strategy," saysObama, "this is a change in personnel,not a change in policy."