Timeline of Afghan history

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This is a timeline of Afghan history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Afghanistan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Afghanistan. See also the list of heads of state of Afghanistan and the list of years in Afghanistan.


25th century BCE

2400-1900 BCEThe Bronze Age Oxus civilization in present-day northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan.

16th century BCE

1500 BCEThe earliest textual mention of Gandhara civilization, in ancient Indian manuscripts the Rigveda and the Zoroastrian Avesta. [1] [2]

7th century BCE

678-549 BCE Kabul valley becomes part of the Median empire.

6th century BCE

550 BCE Cyrus II captures Kabul, which becomes a center of learning for Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.
516 BCE Darius I invades Afghanistan, makes it part of the Achaemenid Empire.

4th century BCE

330-327 BCE Alexander III of Macedon conquers Afghanistan.
312 BCEAfghanistan becomes part of the Seleucid Empire after the death of Alexander III and breakup of the Macedonian Empire.
305-303 BCEThe Hindu Kush, Gandhara, Arachosia (centered around ancient Kandahar) and areas south of Bagram become part of the Maurya Empire after Chandragupta Maurya defeats Seleucus I in the Seleucid–Mauryan war.

Introduction of Buddhism to the region which becomes a major religion alongside Zoroastrianism and ancient Hinduism.

1st century BCE

15 BCEBuddhist Apracharajas dynasty with territory covering Swat, Gandhara, Taxila, and parts of eastern Afghanistan. (till 50 CE)

1st century CE

19 CE Suren kingdom founded by Gondophares with capitals in Kabul and Taxila, and territory covering southern Afghanistan, eastern Iran and northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent. (till 226 CE)
30 CE27 January Kushan Empire founded by Kujula Kadphises in the Arghandab River valley. [3] (till 375 CE)

2nd century

120 Kanishka the Great becomes emperor of the Kushan Empire. He extends his empire from present-day southern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, north of the Amu Darya (Oxus) in the north west to Northern India, as far as Pataliputra in the Gangetic Plains. A follower of Buddhism, he encourages Buddhist teachings, art and architecture.
151 Kanishka Stupa is built. Reported by modern archeologists and ancient Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang to have had a diameter of 87 metres, height of 180–210 metres and covered with jewels. [4]
191 Vasudeva I becomes emperor of the Kushan Empire. HIs reign lasts till 232 CE.

4th century

320 Kidara Huns kingdom established, lasts till about 460.

5th century

440 Hephthalite (White Huns) empire established with its capital at Kunduz. Buddhism, Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism were their major religions.

6th century

570The smaller of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, known as the "Eastern Buddha" built (approximate year based on carbon dating), during Hephthalite rule.

7th century

618The larger of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, known as the "Western Buddha" built (approximate year based on carbon dating) during Hephthalite rule.
630Chinese monk, scholar and traveler Xuanzang visits Balkh, reports about a 100 Buddhist convents, 30,000 monks, large number of stupas and other religious monuments. The most remarkable stupa was the Navbahara, which possessed a gigantic statue of the Buddha.
665Establishment of the Buddhist Turk Shahi dynasty, with its capital in Kapisi near the present-day town of Bagram.
680Establishment of the Zunbil dynasty in present southern Afghanistan region, with its capital in Ghazni.
683Turk Shahi king routs the Arab army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Yazid ibn Ziyad, who is killed in battle and an Arab invasion is decisively repulsed. [5]
698 Zunbil king defeats an Arab 'Army of Destruction' led by Ubayd Allah b. Abi Bakra, who is forced to offer a large tribute, give hostages including three of his sons and take an oath not to invade Zunbil again. Twenty five thousand of the thirty thousand strong Arab army killed. [6] [7]

9th century

815Defeat of the Turk Shahis by the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. The Turk Shah is forced to convert to Islam and pay an annual tribute.
850Overthrow of the unpopular Turk Shah Lagaturman by his minister Kallar and establishment of the Hindu Shahi dynasty.

10th century

964 Jayapala of the Hindu Shahi dynasty conducts a number of invasions of Ghazni, the capital city of the Ghaznavids.

11th century

100127 November Mahmud of Ghazni's army defeats the Hindu Shahi army of Jayapala in the Battle of Peshawar (1001)

13th century

1219-1221Mongol invasion of Afghanistan as part of the Mongol conquest of the Khwarazmian Empire, resulting in thousands killed in the cities of Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad.
1221In pursuit of the fleeing Khwarazmian king Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, Genghis Khan massacres the entire population of Bamiyan after his favorite grandson Mutukan is killed in the Siege of Bamiyan, but leaves the Buddhas of Bamiyan unharmed.
1259 Division of the Mongol Empire after Genghis's death. Afghanistan become part of the Chagatai Khanate.

14th century

1383-1385Invasion of Afghanistan by Timur, leader of neighboring Transoxiana (roughly modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and adjacent areas), becomes a part of the Timurid Empire.

16th century

1504 Babur, deposed ruler of Fergana and Samarkand captures Kabul (Siege of Kabul (1504)).

18th century

170921 April Mirwais Hotak, an influential Afghan tribal chief, gained independence at Kandahar after a successful revolution against the Persian Safavid dynasty. [8]
1709–1713The Persian government sent two large armies to regain Kandahar Province but suffered defeat by the Afghans. [8]
1715NovemberMirwais died of a natural cause and his brother Abdul Aziz inherited the throne until he was killed by Mahmud Hotaki, son of Mirwais. [8]
1722 Battle of Gulnabad : Led by Mahmud, the Afghan army captured the Safavid capital of Isfahan and Mahmad was declared Shah of Persia. [9]
172522 AprilMahmud was murdered by his cousin Ashraf, son of Abdul Aziz, and succeeded him as Shah of Persia. [10]
172929 September Battle of Damghan : Afsharid forces led by Nader Shah defeated Ashraf and his forces.
1738Nader invaded and destroyed Kandahar, and restored the Abdali ethnic Pashtus to political prominence.
174719 June Ahmad Shah Durrani of the Abdali Pashtun confederacy declared the establishment of an independent Afghanistan, with its capital at Kandahar. [11]

19th century

1809 Durrani signed a treaty of alliance with the United Kingdom.
1819 Battle of Shopian : Sikh Khalsa Army of Ranjit Singh defeated the Durrani force led by governor Jabbar Khan, annexing Kashmir into the Sikh Empire.
1823 Dost Mohammad Khan took the throne in Kabul, where he proclaimed himself emir .
1823 Battle of Nowshera : Sikh Khalsa Army of Ranjit Singh defeated a Durrani force led by Azim Khan, capturing the Peshawar Valley.
1837November Siege of Herat : A Persian force attempts to capture Herat but are defeated and leave in 1838.
1839March First Anglo-Afghan War : A British expeditionary force captured Quetta.
23 JulyBritish capture Ghazni in the Battle of Ghazni and install Shuja Shah Durrani as the puppet ruler of Afghanistan.
1841NovemberFirst Anglo-Afghan War: A mob killed the British envoy to Afghanistan.
1842January Massacre of Elphinstone's army : A retreating British With mostly Indian regiment force of sixteen thousand was massacred by the Afghans.
1857Afghanistan declared war on Persia.
Afghan forces re-captured Herat.
1878January Second Anglo-Afghan War : Afghanistan refused a British diplomatic mission, provoking a second Anglo-Afghan war.
1879MaySecond Anglo-Afghan War: To prevent British occupation of a large part of the country, the Afghan government ceded much power to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of Gandamak.
188022 July Abdur Rahman Khan was officially recognized as emir of Afghanistan.
189312 November Abdur Rahman and British Raj representative Mortimer Durand signed an agreement establishing the Durand Line.

20th century

Year DateEvent
1901 1 October Habibullah Khan, son of Abdur Rahman, became emir of Afghanistan.
1919 20 February Habibullah was assassinated. His son Amanullah Khan declared himself King of Afghanistan.
May Third Anglo-Afghan War : Amanullah led a surprise attack against the British.
19 AugustAfghan Foreign Minister Mahmud Tarzi negotiated the Treaty of Rawalpindi with the British at Rawalpindi.
1922 Solar Hijri calendar officially adopted in Afghanistan. [12]
1929 Amanullah was forced to abdicate in favor of Habibullah Kalakani in the face of a popular uprising.
Former General Mohammed Nadir Shah took control of Afghanistan.
1933 8 November Nadir was assassinated. His son, Mohammed Zahir Shah, was proclaimed King.
1964 A new constitution was ratified which instituted a democratic legislature.
1965 1 JanuaryThe Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) held its first congress.
1973 17 July Mohammed Daoud Khan declares himself President in a coup against the king, Mohammed Zahir Shah.
1978 27 April Saur Revolution : Military units loyal to the PDPA assaulted the Afghan Presidential Palace, killing President Mohammed Daoud Khan and his family.
1 MaySaur Revolution: The PDPA installed its leader, Nur Muhammad Taraki, as President of Afghanistan.
JulyA rebellion against the new Afghan government began with an uprising in Nuristan Province.
5 DecemberA treaty was signed which permitted deployment of the Soviet military at the Afghan government's request.
1979 14 September Taraki was murdered by supporters of Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin.
24 December Soviet–Afghan War : Fearing the collapse of the Amin regime, the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan.
27 December Operation Storm-333 : Soviet troops occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul, including the Tajbeg Palace, and executed Prime Minister Amin.
1988 14 AprilSoviet–Afghan War: The Soviet government signed the Geneva Accords, which included a timetable for withdrawing their armed forces.
1989 15 FebruarySoviet–Afghan War: The last Soviet troops left the country.
1992 24 April Civil war in Afghanistan (1989–1992) : Afghan political parties signed the Peshawar Accord which created the Islamic State of Afghanistan and proclaimed Sibghatullah Mojaddedi its interim President.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezbi Islami, with the support of neighboring Pakistan, began a massive bombardment against the Islamic State in the capital Kabul.
28 JuneAs agreed upon in the Peshawar Accord, Jamiat-e Islami leader Burhanuddin Rabbani took over as President.
Taliban attacks and looting of the National Museum of Afghanistan result in loss of 70% of the 100,000 artifacts of Afghan culture and history.
1994 AugustThe Taliban government began to form in a small village between Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.
1995 JanuaryThe Taliban, with Pakistani support, initiated a military campaign against the Islamic State of Afghanistan and its capital Kabul.
199513 MarchTaliban tortured and killed Abdul Ali Mazari leader of the Hazara people.
1996 26 September Civil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001) : The forces of the Islamic State retreated to northern Afghanistan.
27 SeptemberCivil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001): The Taliban conquered Kabul and declared the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Former President Mohammad Najibullah, who had been living under United Nations protection in Kabul, was tortured, castrated and executed by Taliban forces.
30 SeptemberTaliban pass decree that all women should be banned from employment. [13]
1998 AugustCivil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001): The Taliban captured Mazar-e Sharif, forcing Abdul Rashid Dostum into exile.
11 AugustDestruction of the Puli Khumri Public Library by the Taliban. The library contained over 55,000 books and old manuscripts and was considered by Afghans as one of the most valuable and beautiful collections of their nation and their culture. [14] [15]
20 August Operation Infinite Reach : Cruise missiles were fired by the United States Navy into four militant training camps in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

21st century

Year DateEvent
2001 2 MarchDestruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban with dynamite, on orders from its leader Mullah Omar.
9 SeptemberResistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud was killed in a suicide bomb attack by two Arabs who were disguised as French news reporters.
20 SeptemberAfter the September 11 attacks in the United States, U.S. President George W. Bush demanded the Taliban government to hand over al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden and close all terrorist training camps in the country.
21 SeptemberThe Taliban refused Bush's ultimatum for lack of evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11 attacks. [16]
7 October Operation Enduring Freedom : The United States and the United Kingdom began an aerial bombing campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
OctoberReports of Taliban having destroyed at least 2,750 ancient works of art at the National Museum of Afghanistan during the year.
5 DecemberThe United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration. [17]
20 December International Conference on Afghanistan in Germany : Hamid Karzai chosen as head of the Afghan Interim Administration.
2002July 2002 loya jirga : Hamid Karzai appointed as President of the Afghan Transitional Administration in Kabul, Afghanistan.
200314 December 2003 loya jirga : A 502-delegate loya jirga was held to consider a new Afghan constitution.
20049 October Hamid Karzai was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan after winning the Afghan presidential election.
2005 Taliban insurgency : An insurgency began after a Pakistani decision to station around 80,000 soldiers next to the porous Durand Line border with Afghanistan.
20061 March Bush and wife visited Afghanistan to inaugurate the renovated Embassy of the United States in Kabul.
200713 May Afghanistan–Pakistan border skirmishes : Skirmishes began with Pakistan.
2010U.S. President Barack Obama sent additional 33,000 U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan, with the total international troops reaching 150,000.
2011After the death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, many high-profile Afghan officials were assassinated, including among them were Mohammed Daud Daud, Ahmed Wali Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, and Burhanuddin Rabbani.
2011 Afghanistan National Front was created by Tajik leader Ahmad Zia Massoud, Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqiq and Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum
202029 FebruaryU.S. signs peace agreement with Taliban, committing the U.S. to a drawdown of troops and conditional full withdrawal by 1 May 2021. The agreement further required the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan soldiers held by the Taliban.
202115 JanuaryU.S. completes the final Afghanistan troop drawdown of the Trump administration, reducing the U.S. troop level to 2,500. [18] [19]
202114 AprilUS President Joe Biden orders complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021 (later revised to 31 August 2021).
20211 JulyUS forces leave Bagram Airfield, its largest base in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years.
202115 August Kabul falls to Taliban (Fall of Kabul).

See also

Cities in Afghanistan:

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Further reading