From Bonn to Bonn: 10 years of war in Afghanistan
Monday's conference in Bonn on Afghanistan's future takes place exactly 10 years after a pivotal meeting in the same city that set up an interim Afghan government to replace the ousted Taliban regime.
Here are some of the key developments involving Afghanistan in the years spanning the Bonn conferences:
- September 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda hijackers fly passenger planes into locations including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States, killing nearly 3,000 people. Top Al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are known to have safe havens in Afghanistan, which is ruled by the Taliban.
- October 7, 2001: A US-led military campaign begins with air strikes against Afghanistan, followed by an invasion, to hunt down bin Laden and topple the Taliban.
- December 2001: The Taliban regime is forced from power, but bin Laden is not found.
At the first Bonn conference on December 5, plans are laid for an interim government and the deployment of a multinational force.
Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun who is later to be elected president, is appointed to lead the government, and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) begins to deploy in and around Kabul.
- January 2002: The United States begins taking suspects captured in Afghanistan to its naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba. The policy quickly becomes a major human rights scandal.
- March 2003: The United States takes on a second front by leading a massive invasion of Iraq. This reduces the resources that it and its allies can devote to Afghanistan.
- August 11, 2003: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) formally takes charge of the ISAF force, engaging in its first-ever mission outside its traditional zone of Europe.
- October 9, 2004: Afghanistan's first presidential election takes place with little bloodshed. Karzai is proclaimed the winner. He is declared to have won another term in November 2009, amid accusations of massive fraud.
- February 2007: The Taliban's growing reach is brought home when insurgents attack a giant US base as vice president Dick Cheney visits, killing 24 people. US president George W. Bush vows to further boost his country's forces.
- November 2008: Democrat Barack Obama is elected US president, vowing to end the war in Iraq and focus on Afghanistan.
- December 1, 2009: Obama orders a "surge" of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan but says withdrawals will begin in July 2011. The number of NATO-led forces rises to a peak of 150,000 in the summer of 2010.
- May 2, 2011: Osama bin Laden is killed by US special forces in a raid on a house where he has been hiding in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. The killing prompts some critics to say the war should be brought to an end.
- June 22: Obama announces the withdrawal of 33,000 US troops by the middle of 2012.
- July 2011: Western troops and officials start handing authority to Afghan forces and officials in some areas, a transition process due to be completed by 2014.
- August 6: Taliban forces shoot down a US helicopter, killing 38 people, including 25 members of the special forces.
- September 20: Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president and Karzai's peace envoy, becomes the most senior politician to be killed since the start of the conflict in an assassination blamed by Afghan officials on the Taliban.
- October 29: In the latest in a string of recent high-profile attacks in Kabul, 17 people, including 13 Americans, are killed when a car bomber blows up his vehicle next to a US-operated military bus.
- November 27: A clash around a checkpost near the Afghan-Pakistani border leads to NATO air strike killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. This causes a major crisis in relations between Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan shuts off its supply routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan and says it will boycott the December 5 Bonn conference.
There are currently 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan, around 100,000 of them from the United States. According to the independent website icasualties.org, there have been at least 2,820 foreign troop fatalities since the start of operations in 2001.
© 2011 AFP