Afghanistan. In the sixth year after the fall of the fundamentalist Taliban regime, peace seemed increasingly remote. Struggles occurred daily throughout the year between the two international forces and resistance movements, mainly the Taliban militia, but especially during the second half of the war, intensified especially in the southern and eastern provinces. The difference between the foreign forces, the US-led “war alliance” Operation Persistent Freedom and the NATO-led “peace alliance” ISAF, also became less and less. In the fall of 2006, 12,000 American soldiers were transferred to ISAF and in February an American general took over the command of the NATO-led force in which Sweden also participates. NATO commander Jaap de Hoop Scheffer publicly said he does not believe in any military solution to the conflict.
The number of civilian victims of the war also increased, and both sides were charged with nonchalance against the civilian population and indiscriminate armed efforts. And despite the fact that the Western powers were constantly announcing high loss figures for the Taliban, the extreme militia seemed to be consolidating and increasing its presence in increasingly larger parts of the country. According to the think tank The Senlis Council, large areas are under Taliban control. Particularly noticeable was the militia’s ambition to approach Kabul. Struggles were fought on several occasions in the vicinity of the capital and several suicide attacks were carried out inside the city, usually aimed at military or police targets. By the end of November, more than 130 suicide attacks had been carried out throughout Afghanistan, most attributed to the Taliban.
The single worst attack happened in November in the small industrial town of Pul-i-Khumri in northern Afghanistan when 79 people were killed, including 59 schoolchildren and six MPs, at an official reception. However, it was unclear if this particular act was carried out by the Taliban. An internal investigation also indicated that many of the deaths were required when guards opened fire after the initial explosion.
A minor hardship hit the Taliban in May, when their leading military commander Mulla Dadullah Akhoud was killed in a plane crash.
Parliament passed one of many criticized amnesty law for abuse committed during 25 years of conflict. President Hamid Karzai pushed through that individual victims should be able to bring their tormentors to justice, but the state does not assume any obligation to deal with the past. In Parliament there are many of the warlords who have ravaged the country since the early 1980s, and a large part of them were behind the formation of the first major opposition party, the United National Front. The party, led by former President Borha-noddin Rabbani, says it is working towards a stronger parliamentary system.
In July, 23 South Korean Christian missionaries were captured by the Taliban in the eastern province of Ghazni. Two of them were killed and the others released in installments, the last after just over a month in captivity, following direct talks between the Taliban and South Korean diplomats.
Again, Afghanistan was reported to go towards a record harvest of opium, 8,200 tonnes, an increase of about one-third in just one year.
In July, ex-King Mohammad Zahir Shah passed away at the age of 92. He reigned in 1933-73, a time that emerged as a period of almost idyllic peace and stability.
Afghanistan – Kabul
According to CountryAAH, Kabul is the capital city of Afghanistan.
Kabul, Kābul, capital of Afghanistan; 4 million residents (2018). Kabul, located in eastern Afghanistan by the river of the same name, is the country’s economic center. The city has an extensive bazaar trade, and there is also mixed industry here. The cityscape is a mixture of old and new, where traditional base streets have given way to more modern buildings. Kabul has a university (founded in 1939) and an international airport. In recent years, the number of residents has increased greatly as a result of refugee flows. The war in Afghanistan means that information about the city is very uncertain.
The city has been hit by terrorist attacks on several occasions. One of the most serious occurred in January 2018, when an ambulance with explosives exploded during a security check in central Kabul.
The Kabul-Kapisa Province had an early strategic position at the caravan routes between Central Asia and India. The city of Kabul, which was traditionally founded by Kyros I, is known in classic sources such as Kaboura or Orthospata, in Middle Persian like Kapul and by Buddhist Chinese pilgrims like Gaofu.
Kabul was not placed under Islamic rule until the 8th century, but then became the starting point for the Islamic conquest of India. Babur made Kabul the capital in 1504 and from there established the mogul empire in India.
When Afghanistan emerged as an independent state formation in the late 18th century, Kabul became the nation’s capital (through Timur Shah). The British conquered the city in 1842, but were forced into a chaotic retreat, destroying the old bazaar. During the civil war of 1992, Kabul was subjected to heavy fire, and large parts of the city center were destroyed.