28th April, 1978 - A Communist coup ends in the death of President Daoud Khan, who had been noted for his strong reformist policies. The new Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is headed by Nur Muhammed Taraki.

20th March, 1979 - In the light of numerous rebellions in Afghanistan, Taraki asks the USSR for troops, initially Premier Kosygin refused, but later agreed to send some troops to defend Kabul as well as huge amounts of food aid. He also advises Taraki to get rid of Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin, of whom he suspects of plotting against him.

10th October, 1979 - New Kabul Times reports the death of President Taraki, claiming he died of an illness. It later emerged he was murdered on Prime Minister Amin's orders. Amin becomes president, this creates a rift in their Khalq party.

November 1979 - Amin begins an offensive against the growing rebellion, this offensive is a success, around 1000 fighters are eliminated, and most of the survivors driven into Pakistan, the insurgency continues, until Amin is desperate for more Soviet aid. The Soviets begin to believe Amin was incapable of stabilizing Afghanistan.

27th December, 1979 - Operation Storm-333 is mounted, in which Russian special forces storm the Tajbeg Palace and killed President Amin, Babrak Karmal, of the Parcham Party, is made president. The Soviets begin sending ground forces into the country, this swells the Mujaheddin ranks and a Civil War really starts. Over the next decade, over five million people will flee to Iran & Pakistan.

1980's - The Communist's rule over only Kabul, provincial capitals and various other cities. 80% of the countryside is controlled by the Mujaheddin, Soviet leader Gorbachev blames President Karmal for the disastrous war, meanwhile the Afghan army is experiencing mass desertion among it's soldiers who are also defecting to the Mujaheddin.

May, 1986 - Karmal is replaced by Mohammed Najibullah who institutes some reforms such as bringing in Islamic law to appease the population.

20th July 1987 - The Soviets announce withdrawal from Afghanistan due to enormous casualty figures.

2nd February 1989 - Soviet withdrawal is complete, Najibullah announces a state of emergency. Although Soviet troops have completely withdrawn, Soviet aid is flooding into the country.

5th March, 1989 - Mujaheddin are defeated in the Battle of Jalalabad, which gives fresh morale to Najibullah's government.

11th April, 1991 - Mujaheddin commanded by Jalaluddin Haqqani take the city of Khost after an 11 year siege.

1992 - General Abdul Rashid Dostum defects to the Mujaheddin, forcing Najibullah to resign and in April Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kunduz, Gardez and Helmand all surrender to the Mujaheddin. Ahmed Shah Massoud, the most powerful Mujaheddin commander enters Kabul, the other Mujaheddin leaders follow soon after. The Islamic State of Afghanistan is proclaimed and Burhanuddin Rabbani is made president with Shah Massoud as Minister of Defence. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is furious at being excluded from the new government and positions his Hezbi Islami party outside Kabul and begins shelling the city. Meanwhile Dostum waits in Jalalabad, debating which side to choose.

1993 - While Hekmatyar and Shah Massoud fight in Kabul, Herat, under its new governor Ismail Khan has become effectively independent. In November, Dostum finally allies with Shah Massoud and Hezbi Islami is defeated. Hekmatyar flees to Iran.

1994 - All has been brought under control of the central government of Rabbani. To endear Afghanistan with the US a plan to eradicate opium poppy cultivation is announced and campaigns to further women's rights in the tribal south are announced which meets with opposition and minor rebellions.

1996 - Outraged with the perceived un-Islamicness of the new regime, a group of fanatical young men, led by an illiterate recluse named Mullah Omar who grew up in Pakistani refugee camps and had been educated in the Qur'an form the Taliban, an Islamic extremist organisation with the aim of establishing an Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan. They gain moderate support among disaffected tribal elders in the south, but little support elsewhere. The CIA gain intelligence that Osama bin Laden, an obscure terrorist warlord they have been hunting since the early 1990's is fighting with the Taliban. President Clinton asks President Rabbani for permission to send a small number of US forces to find bin Laden, as Defence Minister Shah Massoud agrees.

1997 - Afghan elections are held, Rabbani wins another term and his party Jamiat-e Islami retains control of 21 of Afghanistan's 37 provinces. The elections are described by Freedom House as "generally free & fair". In the south, the Taliban continue fighting but are beginning to retreat into Pakistan's lawless Waziristan region. Osama bin Laden disappears again without trace.

1998 - Gulbuddin Hekmatyar announces his support for the Taliban from exile in Iran, he calls for Jihad on Rabbani's Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is rumoured to be hiding in Waziristan.

2000 - Ahmed Shah Massoud steps down as Minister of Defence and announces his intention to retire to his native Panjshir Valley. Before retirement he is awarded the title "Hero of the Nation". Mullah Dadullah, a prominent Taliban commander is killed by General Dostum's forces on the Pakistani border.

2001 - Gulbuddin Hekmatyar re-enters Afghanistan at the head of a reborn Hezbi-Islami, he also allies with Hazara militias and states his intention to establish himself as president. Dostum returns from the Pakistani border to confront this new threat and along with Ismail Khan's Herati forces, defeats Hekmatyar and captures him. Shah Massoud is recalled from retirement and asked to put down the revolt in Hazarajat, he does this and the Hazara leader, Ali Mazari is killed. Shah Massoud agrees to re-enter politics as Minister of the Interior.

2002 - Elections are held again, Rabbani gets 37.4% of the vote, but loses to Hamid Karzai with 49.7%. President Karzai initiates a huge cross-border offensive into Waziristan, in which Dostum claims Mullah Omar is killed, the Taliban deny this. Captured intelligence indicates that bin Laden is in Yemen.

2004 - Pakistani President, General Musharraf announces a massive attack on Waziristan rebels, within two months the rebels are all but defeated. President Karzai decides he will step down next year and asks Shah Massoud to become President after him, he initially refuses, but after a poll shows 70% of Afghans would favour him as President over other candidates, he agrees. Osama bin Laden's Arabian Islamic Jihad organistaion attempt to assassinate King Fahd on a visit to Kuwait City. The attempt fails.

2005 - Shah Massoud becomes President, relations sour with Pakistan when Afghan soldiers penetrate deep into Pakistan in pursuit of Taliban fighters. Mullah Omar is confirmed dead, when a madrassah he had been using as a HQ is stormed by Dostum's troops.

2006 - After a devastating bomb blast in Riyadh that kills King Abdullah & the American ambassador at a state banquet, President Bush demands that the Eritrean government give up Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Arabian Islamic Jihad organisation. President Aferweki refuses. The USA, Ethiopia & Saudi Arabia declare war on Eritrea. Asmara is bombed heavily and Ethiopian forces pour across the border while US and Saudi troops attack from the Gulf of Aden. Within two months President Aferweki is captured, but Zawahiri has disappeared. A guerrilla war against the occupying forces begins and Beraki Ghebreselassie is named President of Eritrea. A survey finds that Opium cultivation in Afghanistan has dropped 40% since 2000. bin Laden is confirmed to be fighting Ethiopian forces in Somalia. President Shah Massoud's personal approval rating is now at 82% and in elections he receives 78% of the vote.

2007 - Freedom House gives Afghanistan a "Fully Free" rating for the first time. Shah Massoud says he intends to remain president until the next elections in 2010. Although there were fears America's war in Eritrea could turn into another Vietnam, the insurgency is not a huge danger to American forces. Relations with Sudan worsen when America begins to suspect to the Sudanese of harbouring terrorists. Two regional US allies, Chad & Egypt are used to destabilise Sudan and Khartoum is bombed with the intention to kill President al-Bashir, this fails yet Sudan is now completely isolated with no country in the world willing to have close relations with the country.

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