The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan connected Monday, marking the extremity of a warfare that has outgo tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars implicit the span of 20 years.
In the aftermath of U.S. forces departing, the Taliban seized power of the state and the Afghan authorities collapsed, sparking panic successful Kabul and a unreserved to evacuate U.S. Embassy personnel, foreigners and Afghan allies.
The two-week airlift brought scenes of desperation and horror. Massive crowds of Afghan citizens hopeless to fly the Taliban descended onto Kabul's main airdrome successful the waning days of the U.S.-led evacuation campaign. American troops faced the daunting task of getting last evacuees onto planes portion besides getting themselves and immoderate of their instrumentality out. Thirteen work members were killed successful a termination bombing astatine the airdrome connected Aug. 26.
What happened and however did we get here?
Below is simply a timeline of events successful Afghanistan that led to the Taliban's rise, autumn and recapture of powerfulness aft decades of war.
July 3, 1979 – U.S. Sets Up Proxy Against USSR
A covert CIA mission, named Operation Cyclone, funneled weapons and wealth to Pakistan's then-President Mohammed Zia-ul Hag arsenic a proxy for the U.S. against the Soviet Union’s beingness successful Afghanistan. The cognition outgo much than $2 cardinal implicit 8 years, according to the New York Times.
December 25, 1979 – USSR Invades Afghanistan
Soviet Union troops invaded Afghanistan connected Christmas arsenic portion of an alleged involution successful enactment of the Afghan communist government. The Soviets claimed that the caller Afghanistan communist leader, Babrak Karmal, invited them into the country. The Soviet Union would stay for astir a decade, until February 1989.
February 2, 1983 – Reagan Meets With Mujahadeen Fighters
On this day, President Ronald Reagan met with Afghan “freedom fighters” astatine the White House to sermon the convulsive acts carried retired by the Soviet Union successful Afghanistan. When the Soviets yet left, America was the adjacent large powerfulness to measurement in.
September 26, 1986 – U.S. Supplies Region With Anti-Aircraft Stinger Missiles
Reaching a "stalemate" successful combat, neither the U.S. nor Soviet Union gained vantage implicit the different astatine this constituent during the Afghanistan war. In response, President Ronald Reagan and White House officials turned to the stinger, a new, anti-aircraft, shoulder-launched heat-seeking missile, to people Soviet helicopters. The U.S. trained and equipped respective Afghan rebels with stingers, who successfully changeable down respective choppers from the ground, securing the archetypal large triumph for the U.S. against the aerial fleet.
February 15, 1989 – USSR Leaves Afghanistan
After 10 years successful conflict against the U.S.-backed mujahedeen, the Soviet Union negotiated its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
April 1992 – Pro-Soviet Government Collapses; Power Vacuum Sparks Civil War
The pro-Soviet Union authorities of Mohammad Najibullah collapses, making mode for mujahedeen leaders to expanse successful and instrumentality power. Najibullah is enactment nether location apprehension during this time.
In-fighting betwixt mujahedeen groups would past for 4 years from 1992-1996, sidesplitting thousands of civilians, until the Taliban took over.
Early 1990s – Taliban Emerges successful the Region
The Taliban emerged soon after the Soviet’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mullah Omar founded the extremist Islamic group, whose superior extremity was to enforce their strict mentation of Sharia that includes nationalist executions of convicted murderers and amputations for those recovered blameworthy of theft.
September 26, 1996 – Taliban Takes Control of Kabul
After hardly putting up a fight, the Taliban swept crossed Afghanistan and took power of the superior metropolis of Kabul.
President Najibullah was hanged by the insurgents 1 time aft Kabul was taken over. In the years earlier his death, Najibullah had been forced from bureau and sought refuge successful a United Nations compound, wherever was helium sheltered for 4 years.
August 20, 1998 – Clinton Launches Air Strikes connected Al-Qaeda Bases
After U.S. embassies successful Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were attacked connected Aug. 7, President Bill Clinton launched a acceptable of aerial strikes targeted astatine respective suspected Al-Qaeda bases successful Afghanistan nether "Operation Infinite Strike." The missiles deed their intended targets, but nary violent leaders were killed.
March 2001 – Taliban Destroys Buddha Statues to Global Outcry
The Taliban demolished 2 monolithic Buddha statues from the 5th period that lined the Bamiyan Valley aft declaring them to beryllium a signifier of idolatry. The incidental ignited planetary outcry and highlighted the conflict betwixt the authorities and persecuted minorities who lived successful Afghanistan, specified arsenic the Shiite Muslims residing successful Bamiyan.
September 11, 2001 – 9/11 Attacks
Nineteen terrorists hijacked 4 commercialized airplanes to transportation retired attacks against the U.S. Two of the planes were flown into the precocious floors of the Twin Towers astatine the World Trade Center successful New York City, portion different was flown into the Pentagon successful Arlington, Virginia. The 4th level crashed into an bare tract extracurricular of Washington, D.C. aft passengers fought backmost against the hijackers.
The onslaught had been coordinated and backed by Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban was supporting Al-Qaeda successful Afghanistan astatine the clip of the onslaught that killed 2,977 people.
October 7, 2001 – U.S. Invades Afghanistan
In effect to the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. launched "Operation Enduring Freedom" aft the Taliban declined to extradite members of Al-Qaeda, sparking the warfare successful Afghanistan.
Alongside the Northern Alliance, British and allied forces, the U.S. led a bid of crushed and aerial attacks with a stated ngo to guarantee that Afghanistan "is ne'er again a sanctuary to al-Qaida oregon different transnational extremists that it was anterior to 9/11."
November 13, 2001 – Taliban Flees Kabul Following U.S.-Led Airstrikes
With the assistance of 90 countries supporting the United States, “Operation Enduring Freedom” led to the autumn of Kabul connected Nov. 13, 2001. After much than 217,000 troops from the conjugation invaded Afghanistan and a full of 24,000 bombs were dropped, the Taliban fled Kabul and astir of bluish Afghanistan.
December 5, 2001 – Bonn Agreement
After the Taliban fled Kabul, Afghanistan was near without immoderate signifier of instrumentality and order. Afghan officials met with the U.N. successful Bonn, Germany, to make a program to govern the country. The Bonn Agreement laid the instauration for the U.S. and NATO-backed efforts to statesman rebuilding the state earlier a imperishable authorities was established.
December 5, 2001 – Hamid Karzai Becomes President of Afghanistan
Afghan officials alongside the planetary assemblage named Hamid Karzai seat of the interim medication implicit the country. In June 2002, a loya jirga -- a 'grand council' successful the Pashto connection -- named Karzai president of the transitional government.
December 7, 2001 – Taliban Regime Officially Collapses
Taliban forces surrendered their last grasp of power successful the metropolis of Kandahar, marking the authoritative illness of the Taliban regime.
May 1, 2003 – Bush Prematurely Claims End of Wars successful Iraq and Afghanistan
Standing nether a “Mission Accomplished” banner, President George W. Bush claimed triumph aft declaring “major combat operations successful Iraq person ended.” The code was highly criticized due to the fact that warring persisted for respective much years aft the speech.
2006 – Taliban Reemerges, Begins to Reclaim Territories
With the U.S. engaged successful Iraq, Taliban forces grew stronger and gained momentum with a deadly question of termination attacks connected NATO troops. The recuperating radical of terrorists began reclaiming territory successful parts of the South.
October 7, 2011 – Ten Year Anniversary of the 'War connected Terror'
The United States marked 10 years of concern successful Afghanistan by precocious 2011, surpassing the Soviet Union's concern of 9 years and 50 days.
December 8, 2014 – U.S., NATO Formally Ends Combat Mission
U.S. and NATO forces ended combat successful Afghanistan and transitioned efforts to a enactment and grooming role. The Afghan service took implicit each subject and information operations from NATO forces.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama gave the greenish airy for subject operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets.
July 29, 2015 – Taliban Head Mullah Omar Confirmed Dead
The U.S. confirmed the death of Mullah Omar, the begetter of the Taliban. Despite the day of confirmation, Afghan officials said Omar had been dormant for “a couple of years” by that time.
2015 to 2018
Taliban attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces accrued to astir daily, arsenic an Islamic State affiliate began to emerge. As tensions escalated, President Obama nixed his plans to retreat troops from Afghanistan by the extremity of his clip successful office.
Attacks continued to summation arsenic President Donald Trump entered office. Reneging connected his past calls to exit Afghanistan, Trump unveiled his caller strategy, saying the U.S. could not spend a hasty withdrawal from the country.
2018 to 2019
President Trump appointed Zalmay Khalilzad to negociate with the Taliban arsenic violent enactment spiked successful the region. The Taliban refused to negociate with Kabul and much attacks continued to escalate.
August 18, 2019 – Suicide Attack Kills Dozens astatine Kabul Wedding
A termination bomber detonated an explosives-filled vest successful the mediate of a wedding celebration, sidesplitting 63 radical and injuring 182 others. The Islamic State claimed work for the onslaught successful Kabul. The continued enactment of IS threatened Afghans citizens, leaving them to question their information arsenic the U.S. and Taliban negotiated a bid deal.
September 7, 2019 – Trump Attempts to Meet With Taliban Leadership
Taliban attacks continued to escalate rapidly passim 2019. President Trump attempted to covertly conscionable with Taliban enactment connected Sept. 8, 2019, 4 days earlier the 18th day of the Sept. 11 attacks. The gathering was called disconnected aft a termination onslaught killed a U.S. work subordinate successful Kabul.
February 29, 2020 – Trump Administration Brokers Deal to Withdraw Troops
The Trump Administration brokered a woody with the Taliban successful aboriginal 2020 to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, successful speech for a committedness from the Taliban to not usage Afghanistan arsenic a violent base. Troops would gradually retreat implicit the people of 14 months nether the agreement.
April 14, 2021 – Biden Announces Full Withdrawal of Troops
Officially mounting an extremity to America’s longest war, President Joe Biden announced a afloat withdrawal of the country’s subject beingness successful Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th day of the war. Biden said that the U.S. achieved the mission’s extremity 10 years agone erstwhile Osama bin Laden was killed portion hiding retired successful Pakistan.
May 1, 2021 – U.S., NATO Begins to Withdraw Troops
The U.S. and NATO participate the last signifier of ending America’s longest warfare by opening the withdrawal of their remaining troops – astir 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and astir 7,000 NATO soldiers – successful Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
April 2021 to August 2021 – Taliban Begins Massive Takeover of Afghanistan Districts
Taliban fighters seized powerfulness successful Afghanistan, sweeping crossed the state and taking power of large cities and territories arsenic Afghan officials conceded and U.S. allies evacuated.
July 2, 2021 – U.S. Relinquishes Control of Bagram Air Base
The U.S. handed implicit power of the Bagram Air Base to the Afghan military. The airfield served arsenic the halfway for American forces successful Afghanistan for 2 decades.
August 14, 2021 – Biden Sends Additional Troops to Help Evacuation and Withdrawal Efforts
To guarantee an “orderly and harmless drawdown,” President Biden authorized an additional 1,000 troops to assistance evacuate American and allied personnel from Afghanistan. The troops volition besides assistance pullout Afghans who worked with the subject passim the war.
August 16, 2021 – Kabul Falls to Taliban for a Second Time
Taliban militants overwhelm Afghanistan's cities wrong the substance of days. The Afghan authorities collapses, with the President of Afghanistan ceding powerfulness to the militants connected August 16. Kabul International Airport became a country of chaos arsenic radical go hopeless to fly Taliban rule.
The Panjshir Valley becomes the sole country not nether Taliban rule successful Afghanistan. Opposition leaders were seen gathering determination successful videos, including a apical authoritative from the erstwhile authorities and the lad of a slain rebel leader.
Photos: A Timeline of US Involvement successful Afghanistan
August 18, 2021 – Taliban Militants Violently End Afghan Protest
Taliban militants violently attacked a radical of Afghan protesters, sidesplitting 1 during the clash, aft the radical lowered the regime’s emblem successful the eastbound metropolis of Jalalabad. The onslaught came arsenic thousands of Afghans tried to fly aft the Taliban’s swift takeover, giving what galore feared to beryllium a glimpse into the country's destiny nether Taliban rule.
August 26, 2021 – Suicide Bombers Kill 13 U.S. Troops successful Afghanistan
Thirteen U.S. work members were killed extracurricular of Kabul’s airdrome aft termination bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans desperately trying to flee. The blasts came hours aft Western officials warned of a large attack, which besides killed 169 Afghans.
President Joe Biden vowed to hunt down the attackers and marque them pay. The Islamic State panic radical claimed work for the deadly attacks.
August 27, 2021 – U.S. Kills Two ‘ISIS-K Planners’ successful Retaliatory Airstrike
The U.S. launched an airstrike against the IS, sidesplitting 2 “ISIS-K planners.” The onslaught came aft what White House officials called indications of different onslaught successful the waning days of the evacuation deadline.
August 30, 2021 – Rockets Target Kabul Airport connected Eve of Evacuation Deadline
As galore arsenic 5 rockets were fired astatine Kabul’s airport conscionable 1 time earlier the deadline expired for each U.S. troops to retreat from Afghanistan. The missiles struck a adjacent vicinity and gunfire was heard afterward. ISIS-K besides claimed work for this attack.
August 31, 2021 – U.S. Completes Withdrawal, Ending 20-Year War in Afghanistan
The U.S. completed its afloat withdrawal of subject troops from Afghanistan, marking the extremity to the country’s longest warfare with a rushed and chaotic exit. Taliban militants celebrated Afghanistan’s caller “independence” with gunfire and fireworks arsenic the past acceptable of U.S. flights departed Kabul.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press. Editing by Kelly Whitney.