1992-1996 History of Afghanistan since 2001

Afghanistan 1996-2001

The Political Map of Afghanistan . In 1996, the Taliban (Taleban) took control of capital Kabul and now controlled c. 80 % of the country (all except regions on the border to Tajikistan); the remainder being controlled by the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, also called the Northern Alliance.

Foreign Policy of the Taliban Government . The Taliban administration was not recognized by the majority of nations; it received support from certain circles in Pakistan and gained official recognition from Pakistan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia (1997). The Taliban failed to find recognition for her claim to occupy Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations. Iran and Russia regarded the Taliban regime as hostile.
In 1998 the Taliban were accused of giving refuge to Osama bin Laden, suspect mastermind of acts of terror committed against US institutions, and of providing terrorists with training facilities. Other Afghan policies of international concern included the country's opium production and its treatment of women. Refusing to comply with the US demand to deny asylum to terrorists and deliver Osama bin Laden, Taliban-ruled Afghanistan found itself exposed to US missile strikes (1998) and subject to a flight embargo and financial sanctions imposed by the UN.
In March 2001, in response to Hindu fundamentalism threatening Muslim cultural heritage in India (demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992) the Taliban had the Buddha reliefs at Bamyan blown up, in disregard of worldwide protest.

Domestic Policies . The Taliban administration reintroduced the Shariah (Islamic Law), strictly enforced regulations of Islam, banned women from having an occupation and obtaining an education. Madrasas (Quranic schools) replaced secular schools as the main institutions offering education. The Taliban rejected cultural values and institutions deemed western, and banned sports.
While the Taliban administration found herself under international criticism for, among others, the treatment of women, they brought peace, law and order to the regions of the country under their control, which had suffered from decades of war.

Social History . While the Taliban had succeeded in restoring their version of law and order to most of Afghanistan, large groups of Afghan refugees chose to remain in camps across the border in Pakistan rather than to return.
The social policies of the Taliban in effect undid all achievements of modernization since 1928, with the exception of their usage of modern arms and communication technology, for their own purposes. Social groups most affected were women who were forced back into the house, leaving their role as mothers and wives the only legitimate raison d'etre, and urban society, where individual education and merit would count less than social status within tribe or military organization. Many activities, career opportunities, pastimes were no longer available to them.

The Economy . The Taliban regime did not issue banknotes of her own; notes issued under the preceding Rabbani administration continued in circulation, while the Rabbani administration in exile and the Dostum administration in the north continued to issue banknotes.
At the time the Taliban took control of Kabul (1996), Afghanistan had gone through 17 years of civil war, and that civil war was not even over; the Taliban never achieved control of all of Afghanistan. During the lengthy conflict, most legitimate industries had crumbled; the one profitable industry which had financed the Afghan resistance against the Soviets was poppy cultivation (opium), during those years tacitly tolerated by the west.
In 2000, the Taliban banned poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which in 1999 had contributed 75 % of world opium production.

September 11th 2001 and after . The US administration accused the Taliban of having aided the terrorists who struck major sites in the US on September 11th 2001 and in October that year, with the support of many other governments, began with a campaign of bombardment. The forces of the Northern Alliance, hitherto controlling c. 15 % of Afghanistan, took position after position from the weakened Taliban. The Taliban was ousted; the country came under a regime of occupation by an international alliance.

Timetable History of Afghanistan, from BBC News
Articles Taliban, Taliban Treatment of Women, United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, Buddhas of Bamyan, History of Afghanistan since 1992, Education in Afghanistan, Foreign Relations of Afghanistan, from Wikipedia
Opium Timeline, from Opioids
A Global History of Currencies : Afghanistan
DOCUMENTS Afghan Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics : Afghanistan, from Population Statistics
REFERENCE Article : Afghanistan, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1997-1998 pp.69-72, 1998-1999 pp.89-93, 2000 pp.119-123, 2001 pp.123-127 [G]
Article : Afghanistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1997 pp.388, 544 [G]
Entry : Travel Warnings - Afghanistan, pp.405 in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2000, Supplement [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 6th 2002, last revised on May 22nd 2007

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