of Afghanistan has always been determined by Afghanistan's geographic
location and ethnic population. SAARC Tourism is providing here
chronological information on the country's history.
Early humans lived in what is today called Afghanistan at least 50,000
Before Islamic Conquest
Aryans invaded Afganistan around 2000 BC. Other phases of this period were
Persian, Median, Greek, Mauryan and Bactrian. Greek Emperor Alexander the
Great entered the Afghan territory to take hold of Bactria. Chandragupta,
Maurya Emperor of India, took over Kabul valley and present Kandahar after
subjugating Selecus. The Mauryans, under Ashoka, introduced Buddhism.
succeeding centuries, the territory was under the control of Indo Greeks,
Scythians, Kushans, White Huns and Parthians. In first century AD, Buddhas
of Bamiyan were carved out.
Post Islamic Conquest
Arabs invaded Afghanistan in 7th century and introduced Islam. The invasion
was followed by several short-lived Muslim dynasties. Mahmud of Ghazni, one
of these rulers, launched military attacks on several lands and brought back
huge chunks of booty. Timur (late 14th century) also subjugated plenty of
territories. Mughal ruler Babar used Kabul as the base camp of his military
compaigns in India. In 18th century Persian ruler Nadir Shah took hold of
territories north of Hindu Kush mountains. Another Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah
brought most part of present day Afghanistan under his control. His dynasty
was known as Durrany dyansty.
Under European Influence
Period of 1826 to 1919 is usually termed the period of European influence.
This phase witnessed the conflict between the expanding British and Russian
empires. The rivalry culminated in two Anglo-Afghan wars. The British
succeeded in putting their puppets on Afghan throne. However, Amanullah Khan
tried to break free of British control, triggering the third Anglo Afghan
War. Both sides signed the Treaty of Rawalpindi in August 1919. In
accordance with the treaty, the British agreed to leave control of Afghan
King Amanullah: Reforms and Abdication
King Amanullah was the man of modern and secular ideas. He implemented the
policy of modernisation in Afganistan. Elementary education was made
compulsory. Power of religious leaders was curtailed, traditional veil for
women was abolished and co-educational schools were introduced. This led to
lot of resentment against the government and forced Amanullah to abdicate in
Pre Soviet Era
After the fall of Amanullah Khan, Kabul came under control of Habibullah
Kalakani. However, Nadir Khan, a cousin of Amanullah, ovethrew and killed
him. He assumed the title of King Nadir Shah and slowed the process of
modernisation. His reign did not last long and he was assasinated by a Kabul
student. He was succeeded by his son Mohammad Zahir Shah, 19-year old son of
Nadir Khan. He ruled from 1933 to 1973. However actual power under him moved
to the office of Prime Minister. Both Left and Right wing political groups
grew under Zaheer Shah. Prime Minister Daoud Khan overthrew Zaheer Shah in a
military coup in 1973. Zaheer Shah took refuge in Italy. Daoud Khan
abolished monarchy, abrogated the constitution promulgated by Zaheer Shah,
and declared Afghanistan a Republic. He assumed both the offfices of the
President and the Prime Minister. However he failed to control political
of Soviet Intervention
Afghan communist party, known as People's Democratic Republic of
Afghanistan (PDPA), overthrew Daoud Khan on April 27, 1978 and took the
reigns of the country. Acting in accordance with Marxist principles, the
PDPA implemented a liberal and socialist agenda, which the traditional
society of Afghanistan could not digest. The policies of the government were
met with stiff resistance. The government tried to quell the resistance, but
failed. It was forced to ask the Soviet Union (USSR) for military and
financial help. Soviet army entered Kabul on December 25, 1979.
This was followed by 9 years of confrontation between the Soviet troops and
mujahideen rebels backed by the USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which were
trying to protect their interests in the region. Soviet Union withdrew its
troops from Afghanistan in 1989, but continued to support the government.
However after the disintegration of Soviet Union, the communist government
of Afghanistan could not last long and collapsed on April 18, 1992. The
mujahedin took control of Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic state.
Differences between the various factions of the mujahedin surfaced after
the demise of their common enemy, the communists. Fighting among rival
mujahedin factions intensified. The result was anarchy and warlordism in the
country. The country was torn due to internal strife. All warring groups
controlled one or the other part of Afghanistan.
Rise and Fall of Taliban
Taliban, a movement of religious Islamic scholars, emerged from the
southern Afghan state of Kandahar. By the end of 2000, the Taliban took
approximate 90% of Afghanistan under their control and cornered the
mujahedin warlords in the northern part of the country. Fearing for life,
the opposition formed the Afghan Northern Alliance.
Retaliating to September 11, 2007 attacks on its homeland, the United
States invaded Afghanistan with its allies to topple the Taliban government.
The Taliban were ousted and Hamid Karzai was elected the president in the
first ever presidential elections in Afghanistan.