Timeline: The war in Afghanistan

When the World Trade Center was attacked by Islamic militants in September 2001, a chain was kicked off. The war in Afghanistan is still claiming lives today.

September 2001 – Four US airliners are hijacked, resulting in almost 3,000 deaths, and the symbolic destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. The international al-Qaeda network is blamed, with Osama Bin-Laden as its reputed head.

September – October 2001 – US President George W Bush talks of an attack on Afghanistan. While none of the September 11 hijackers were Afghan, the Taliban were widely believed to be sympathectic to al-Qaeda. President Bush describes the strike on Afghanistan as the 'War on Terror' while theories abound about Afghanistan's strategic importance, including its natural gas reserves and importance for a proposed pipeline. Demonstrations against the invasion are held around the world.

October 2001 – Airstrikes by US and British forces begin on targets in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Australia joins Canada, Germany and France in pledging future assistance. Most combat on the ground is limited to Taliban fighting Afghan opponents, although US Special Forces are on the ground.

November 2001– Opposition forces march on the capital, Kabul, and the Taliban soon fall at various strongholds.

December 2001 – Hamid Karzai is instated as leader of 'post-Taliban' Afgahnistan. A Pashtun, Karzai worked previously with the mujahideen who forced the Soviet withdrawal from the country, but reportedly refused the role of Taliban UN ambassador in the 1990s. He fled to live in exile in Pakistan.

The decision is made amongst Afghan opposition groups and the US-led international community in Bonn, Germany. The Taliban is not invited. Karzai is set to lead a 30-member interim government, while The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is established by UN Security Council 1386. Also in December, bin-Laden is thought to have escaped to Pakistan.

January 2002 – Foreign peacekeepers are put in place.

March 2002 – Operation Anaconda, a first major ground assault is launched, with almost 2,000 US forces fighting 1,000 Taliban fighters. In March, talk of an attack on Iraq is ramping up – with resources soon to be redirected to a new theatre of war.

June 2002 – Karzai is elected as the interim head of state by an Afghan Loya Jirga, or grand council.

December 2002 – The deal to build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan is signed with Pakistani and Turkmen leaders.

May 2003 – Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, declares an end to 'major combat'.

August 2003 – NATO takes control of security in the capital Kabul, while operations attempting to defeat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, continue throughout the country.

January 2004 – The authority of the President is consolidated by the adoption of a new constitution.

October 2004 – Hamid Karzai is voted back in as President, with a high turnout. Also in October, Bin Laden surfaces in a video shortly before the US election – which the Republicans again win.

May 2005 – Details of severe prisoner abuse at the hands of US forces emerge, as the US and Karzai sign a joint declaration pronouncing them strategic partners – with focus on the war against 'international terrorism.'

September 2005 – More than 6 million turn out for the Council of People, Council of Elders and local councils, with over half of the votes cast by women. Some 68 of 249 seats in the lower house are set aside for women.

News that Australian troops have been sent back to Afghanistan.

February 2006 - Over US$10 billion in reconstruction aid is pledged to Afghanistan over five years.

June - July 2006 – A tough summer for Coalition forces, with suicide bombings leaping from 27 in 2005 to 139 in 2006. Early in the summer, scores are killed in battles in the south during 'Operation Mountain Thrust.'

July 2006 onwards - NATO takes over the leadership of military operations in the south – heavy fighting as Taliban resist the attempts to extend government control.

November 2006 – Cracks emerge in Coalition at summit in Latvia.

March 2007 – Launch of Operation Achilles, reportedly the largest operation to date in the South. Heavy fighting in Helmand Province.

News of an Italian deal to secure release of reporter, which results in freed insurgents and a killed driver and translator, causes international stir.

May 2007 – Mullah Omar, the most senior Taliban militant commander, is killed in action, reportedly just hours after giving a video interview.

August 2007 – The UN reports that opium production is at record high.

December 2007 – Expulsion of senior EU and UN envoys accused of making contact with the Taliban.

June 2008 – Massive jailbreak sees 350 insurgents freed in Kandahar.

Karzai warns that Afghanistan will send troops into Pakistan if Pakistan does not take action against allegedly destabilising elements.

July 2008 – Indian embassy attack kills over 50 -Afghanistan accuses Pakistani intelligence of collusion.

August 2008 – French public shocked at deaths of ten soldiers, while US and Afghan forces accused of Herat airstrike which kills at least 89 civilians.

September 2008 – President Bush sends 4,500 more troops in 'quiet surge', while Germany pledges an increase of 3,500 the following month.

February 2009 – Democrats elected in the US – New President Barack Obama plans 17,000 more troops, with a withdrawal date for the majority set at 2011. Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls original mission 'too broad.'

March 2009 – Interagency white papers shows success for the US in Afghanistan overtly linked to Pakistan.

April 2009 – 450 more Australian troops to be sent to Afghanistan, taking figure to 1,550.

May 2009 – General Stanley McChrystal installed as commander of US forces after 'fresh thinking' sought.

July 2009 – 4000 US marines launch offensive against Taliban in heartland of southern Helmand.

August 2009 – Widespread claims of fraud and numerous attacks mar presidential elections – Karzai declared winner and later sworn in, after challenger Abdullah Abdullah pulls out.

October 2009 - Former PM John Howard tells Fox News that more troops must be sent to Afghanistan.

December 2009 – Troop Surge: US troop numbers boosted by 30,000 to 100,000.
Al-Qaeda double-agent kills seven CIA agents in attack at US base.

February 2010 – NATO-led forces launch Operation Moshtarak to gain control of southern Helmand.

April 2010 – Karzai blames foreign observers for the disputed election, and says UN and EU officials are involved in plot to install a puppet government. US says this is 'genuinely troubling.'

June 2010 – General McChrystal relived as Commander of US forces after a Rolling Stone article cites him criticising the administration. On June 21, three Australians killed in chopper crash on the deadliest day for ADF in Afghanistan.

July 2010 – International conference backs Karzai's timetable for control of security for Afghan forces from 2014. Also in July, Wikileaks' Afghan War Diary outlines the in excruciating detail a decade of war and failure to subdue insurgency on behalf of international forces.

August 2010
– Further Australian deaths make 2010 the deadliest year for ADF in the country. Dutch troops pull out.

November 2010 - NATO agrees to hand control of security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

May 2011 - The US announces it has killed Osama bin Laden in a commando raid in Pakistan.

June 2011 - US President Barak Obama announced that 10,000 US troops willl withdraw by the end of 2011 and another 22,000 will leave by the summer of 2012. An estimated 70,000 troops will stay until 2014.

July 12 - Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half-brother of the presidenta and an influential man, is assassinated by his own guard.

September 13 - Five police, 11 civilians killed when insurgents shower Kabul's diplomatic enclave with RPGs and gunfire for 20 hours. US blames Pakistani based Haqqani network.

September 20 - Former president and chief peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani - head of the High Peace Council - detonates a bomb hidden in his turban, killing the president at his home.

Source SBS

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