|Islamic Republic of Afghanistan|
د افغانستان اسلامي جمهوریتTimeline: The Dragon Splits
Da Afġānistān Islāmī Jumhoryat
جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان
Jomhūrīyyeh Eslāmīyyeh Afġānestān
OTL equivalent: Afghanistan
|Other cities||Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat|
|Official languages||Pashto, Dari|
|Government||Unitary presidential Islamic republic|
|-||First Afghan State||April 1709|
|-||Recognized||August 19, 1919|
The region in which modern day Afghanistan is situated served as a geostrategic location for merchants and travelers coming from East and South Asia on their way to the Middle East. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, is said to have crossed from South Asia to China via the Wakhan Corridor in the northeast. Because Afghanistan served as bridge from East Asia to the South and West, it has seen a diverse cultures and religions, with a blend of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic customs.
Because of its strategic location, Afghanistan has been a target of various invaders, as well as a source from which local powers invaded neighboring regions to form their own empires. Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747, which is considered the beginning of modern Afghanistan. Its capital was shifted later from Kandahar to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to neighboring empires. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" played between the British Indian Empire andRussian Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Afghanistan suffered a series of coup attempts in the 1970s. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded the country to militarily back the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. This was met with resistance from the Mujahideen, a group of insurgents which conducted guerrilla warfare against the Soviets within the mountains and desserts of Afghanistan. They were covertly backed by the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, Iran, China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. In a manner similar to the Vietnam War fought by the United States a decade prior, the Soviet Union suffered it's own "Vietnam" in Afghanistan after 10 years of fighting. In February 1989, under Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan.
The Rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda (1990s-2001)
Following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, in-fighting among various mujahideen groups continued on. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 deeply weakened the Afghan state lead by Dr. Mohammad Najibullah collapsed in April 1992. the post-communistIslamic State of Afghanistan was established by the Peshawar Accord, a peace and power-sharing agreement under which all the Afghan parties were united in April 1992, except for the Pakistani supported Hezb-e Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar started a bombardment campaign against the capital city Kabul, which marked the beginning of a new phase in the war. The Taliban was believed to have formed prior to the final stages of the Soviet invasion and has waged war against the new government. They were allegedly supported by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. In 1994, forces led by Soviet War hero Ahmad Shah Massoud held on Kabul. Massoud invited the Taliban to cooperate in Afghan politics but they refused. The same year, the Taliban would gain momentum in Afghanistan.
With military and financial support from Pakistan, the Taliban captured Kabul on September 27, 1996 while Massoud's forces retreated north. Former leader Dr. Najibullah was executed by the Taliban the following dayMassoud then formed a coalition with the northern ethnicities to form the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (a.k.a. the Northern Alliance). The Northern Alliance was supported by the new Russian Federation, Turkey, India, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. There was minimal CIA support given from the Clinton Administration at that time.
From the years 1996 to 2001, the Taliban would gain territory as the Northern Alliance was pushed back on the northeast border near Tajikistan and China. The al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri was also operating inside Afghanistan.
On September 9, 2001, Massoud was assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives disguised as Belgian journalists. Two days later, the September 11, 2001 Attacks occurred in the United States, resulting in the deaths of 2,996 people and millions of dollars in damages. The U.S. government under President George W. Bush suspected Osama bin Laden as the perpetrator of the attacks, and demanded that the Taliban hand him over. The Taliban refused and this set course for the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan.
War on Terror (2001-present)
Because the Taliban did not handover Osama bin-Laden, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. The Taliban regime was quickly disposed of and by the end of the year had retreated to the city of Kandahar up until its capture by the Northern Alliance. The U.S. also unsuccessfully tried to hunt for bin-Laden in the Tora Bora mountain range. The operation, which involved the use of bunker buster bombs and U.S. Special Forces, failed to kill or capture bin-Laden.
The U.S. and its NATO partners helped rebuild Afghanistan from war as well as training and arming its security forces in preparation for the transition. In 2004, the current Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was established with Hamid Karzai as president. However, despite the Taliban being weakened since the 2001 invasion, they manage to continue their insurgency against the U.S., ISAF, NATO, and Afghan National Army soldiers.
On May 1, 2011, Osama bin-Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in neighboring Pakistan. The raid was conducted by JSOC, the CIA, and the U.S. Navy SEALs. The SEALs came by way of stealth helicopter from neighboring Afghanistan and successfully executed the mission, at the lost of 1 prototype helicopter.
By 2014, it was estimated by President Barack Obama to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. While combat troops were withdrawn by 2015, a force of a few thousand remain in training and advising the Afghan National Army. This was increased after the possibility of ISIS fighters infiltrating Afghanistan.
As the Chinese insurgency occurred by mid-2015, the Chinese government was concerned of ISIS fighters going to take part in the Xinjiang uprising via the Wakhan corridor. In early March 2016, it was reported that PLA Armored vehicles were seen patrolling the region comprising the Afghanistan-China border. It was later confirmed by the Chinese Ministry of Defense that China did have some joint patrols with Afghan security forces in the area.
On April 13, 2017, a GBU-43/B MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast or Mother Of All Bombs) was dropped on an ISIL-Khorasan cave complex in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. It was the first operational use of the bomb. Two days later, an Afghan army spokesman said that the strike killed 94 ISIS-K militants, including four commanders, with no signs of civilian casualties.
MilitaryThe Afghan National Army is the military of Afghanistan. It is allied with the United States and its NATO forces, which is the primary provider of training, arms, and military equipment. In addition, Afghanistan also cooperates with the Central Asian republics, Russia, and China for other military hardware.