Military Wiki
War in Afghanistan (1992–1996)
Part of the conflict in Afghanistan (1978–present)
Kabul during civial war of fundamentalists 1993-2.jpg
Much of the civil infrastructure was ruined in Kabul due to the war. This photo is presumably from 1993.
Date28 April 1992 – 27 September 1996
(4 years, 4 months and 4 weeks)
  • Afghanistan Shura-i Nazar[citation needed]
  • Jamiat-i Islami
  • Afghanistan Harakat-i Islami
  • Afghanistan Ittehad-i Islami
  • Logo of Hezb-e Islami Khalis.svg Hezb-e Islami Khalis (until mid-1992)
  • Flag of Hezbe Wahdat.svg Hezb-i Wahdat (until Dec. 1992)
  • Afghanistan Junbish-i Milli (until 1994)
  • Supported by
    Iran Iran

    Russia Russia [1]

    Hezb-i Islami (until late 1994)
    Supported by
    Pakistan Pakistan (until 1994)
    Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

    Hezb-i Wahdat (after Dec. 1992)

    Afghanistan Junbish-i Milli (Jan. 1994-Aug. 1994)
    Supported by
    Uzbekistan Uzbekistan

    Regional Kandahar militia leaders

    Taliban (from late 1994)
    Supported by
    Pakistan Pakistan (after 1994)

    Al Qaeda (from early 1996)
    Commanders and leaders
    Afghanistan Burhanuddin Rabbani
    Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Massoud
    Afghanistan Hussain Anwari
    Afghanistan Sibghatullah Mojaddedi
    Abdul Haq
    Afghanistan Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
    Abdul Ali Mazari Afghanistan
    Karim Khalili
    Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum

    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

    Abdul Ali Mazari
    Karim Khalili

    Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum

    Gul Agha Sherzai
    Mohammed Omar
    Osama Bin Laden
    Ayman al-Zawahiri

    This article covers the Afghan history between 28 April 1992, the day that a new interim Afghan government was supposed to replace the Republic of Afghanistan of President Mohammad Najibullah, and the Taliban's conquest of Kabul establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on 27 September 1996.[6]

    On 25 April 1992, a civil war had ignited between three, later five or six, mujahideen armies, when Hezbi Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) refused to form a coalition government with other mujahideen groups and tried to conquer Kabul for themselves. After four months, already half a million residents of Kabul had fled the heavily bombarded city.

    The following years, several times some of those militant groups formed coalitions, and often broke them again. By mid 1994, Kabul's original population of two million had dropped to 500,000. In 1995–96, the new militia Taliban, supported by Pakistan and ISI, grew to be the strongest force. Late 1994, the Taliban had captured Kandahar, in 1995 they took Herat, early September 1996 Jalalabad, and eventually late September 1996 they captured Kabul. Fighting would continue the following years, often between the now dominant Taliban and other groups (see Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)).


    In March 1992, President Mohammad Najibullah, having lost the Russian support which upheld his government, agreed to resign and make way for a neutral interim government. Several mujahideen parties started negotiations to form a national coalition government. But one group, the Hezb-e Islam led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, presumably supported and directed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), did not join the negotiations and announced to conquer Kabul alone. Hekmatyar moved his troops to Kabul, and was allowed into the town soon after 17 April. This left the other mujahideen groups no other choice than to also enter Kabul, on 24 April, to prevent Hekmatyar from taking over the city and the country.[7][8]
    This ignited a civil war between five or six rivalling armies, (nearly) all backed by foreign states. Several mujahideen groups proclaimed an 'interim government' on 26 April 1992 but this never attained real authority over Afghanistan.

    Outline of civil war (1992–96)

    War over Kabul (28 April 1992–93)

    For background/explanation on the start of the fighting, and on the (ineffective) 'interim government', see: Afghan Civil War (1989–92), § Militias fight in Kabul (24–27 April 1992)

    Fighting and rivalry over Kabul had started on 25 April 1992, involving six armies: Hezb-e Islami, Jamiat-e Islami, Junbish-i Milli, Ittihad, Hizb-i-Wahdat and Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami. Mujahideen warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (Hezb-e Islami), after talks with mujahideen leader Ahmad Shah Massoud (Jamiat-e Islami) on 25 May 1992, was offered the position of prime minister in President Mujaddidi's – paralyzed – 'interim government'. But this agreement shattered already on 29 May when Mujaddidi accused Hekmatyar of having rocket-fired his plane returning from Islamabad.[9]

    By 30 May 1992, Jamiat and Junbish mujahideen forces were fighting against Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami again in southern Kabul. In May[10] or early June, Hekmatyar started shelling Kabul all around,[9][11] presumably with substantial support from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).[10] Junbish and Jamiat in June shelled areas south of Kabul, Ittihad and Wahdat were fighting each other in west Kabul.[9] At the end of June 1992, Burhanuddin Rabbani took over the interim Presidency from Mujaddidi, as provided in the Peshawar Accords[9] – a paralyzed 'interim government' though, right from its proclamation in April 1992.[12]

    In the rest of 1992, hundreds of rockets hit Kabul, thousands, mostly civilians, were killed, half a million people fled the town. In 1993, the rivalling militia factions continued their fights over Kabul, several cease-fires and peace accords failed.[13] According to Human Rights Watch, in the period 1992–95, five different mujahideen armies contributed to heavily damaging Kabul,[14][15] though other analysts blame especially the Hezb-e Islami group.[10][16]

    War expanding (1994)

    In January 1994, Dostum's Junbish forces and the Hizb-i-Wahdat joined sides with Hekmatyar's Hezb-e Islami.[13] Fighting this year also broke out in the northern town of Mazar-i-Sharif. In November 1994, the new, Islamic-inspired militia Taliban conquered Kandahar city, by January 1995 they controlled 12 Afghan provinces.[17]

    War over all Afghanistan, superiority Taliban (1995–96)

    In 1995, the battle in all Afghanistan raged between at least four parties: the Burhanuddin Rabbani 'interim government' with Ahmad Shah Massoud and his Jamiat-e Islami forces; the Taliban; Abdul Rashid Dostum with his Junbish-e Melli-ye Islami forces; and the Hizb-i-Wahdat; some of those last three at times formed (informal) alliances.[13] The Taliban captured Ghazni (south of Kabul) and Maidan Wardak Province (west of Kabul) and in February approached Kabul. In March 1995, Abdul Ali Mazari, leader of Hizb-i-Wahdat, allied with Taliban and let the Taliban enter Kabul. Massoud heavily bombarded Kabul, driving Wahdat and Taliban out. The Taliban then continued shelling Kabul and attacking Massoud's forces in Kabul.

    In 1996, the Taliban grew stronger, as analysts say with decisive support from Pakistan.[18] This induced some other warring factions to form new alliances, starting with the Burhanuddin Rabbani 'interim government' and Hekmatyar with his Hezb-e Islami in early March. In July, a new government was formed by five factions: Rabbani’s Jamiat-e Islami, the Hezb-e Islami, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf’s Ittihad-i Islami, the Harakat-i-Islami, and Hizb-i-Wahdat's Akbari faction. Such alliances did not stop the advance and victories of the Taliban. On 27 September 1996, the Taliban, controlling already considerable parts of western, southern and eastern Aghanistan, conquered Kabul and pronounced their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.[6]


    Jamiat-e Islami led by Ahmad Shah Massoud

    Jamiat-e Islami (‘Islamic Society’) was a political party of ethnic Tajiks, and included one of the strongest mujahideen (= Islamic resistance) militias in Afghanistan since 1979. Its military wing was commanded by Ahmad Shah Massoud.

    Hekmatyar (Hezb-e Islami) / Pakistan's ISI

    According to the U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan in 1989–1992, Peter Tomsen, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was hired in 1990 by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to conquer and rule Afghanistan in the benefit of Pakistani interests, which plan was delayed until 1992 as a result of US pressure to cancel it.[19]
    In April 1992, according to self-made Afghan historian Nojumi,[20] the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) helped Hekmatyar by sending hundreds of trucks loaded with weapons and fighters to the southern part of Kabul.[21] In June 1992, Hekmatyar with his Hezb-e Islami ('Islamic party') troops started shelling Kabul.[22] The Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, Amin Saikal, confirmed the Pakistani support in 1992 for Hekmatyar: "Pakistan was keen to gear up for a breakthrough in Central Asia. ... Islamabad could not possibly expect the new Islamic government leaders ... to subordinate their own nationalist objectives in order to help Pakistan realize its regional ambitions. ... Had it not been for the ISI's logistic support and supply of a large number of rockets, Hekmatyar's forces would not have been able to target and destroy half of Kabul."[10]

    Hizb-i-Wahdat / Iran

    The Shia Hazara Hizb-e Wahdat-e Islami Afghanistan ('Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan') of Abdul Ali Mazari was strongly supported by Shia Iran, according to Human Rights Watch, with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and National Security officials providing direct orders.[22]

    Ittihad-i Islami / Saudi Arabia

    The Sunni Pashtun Ittehad-e Islami bara-ye Azadi-ye Afghanistan ('Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan') of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf was supported by Sunni Wahabbi Saudi Arabia, to maximize Wahhabi influence.[22]

    Abdul Rashid Dostum (Junbish-i Milli) / Uzbekistan

    The Junbish-i-Milli Islami Afghanistan ('National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan') militia of former communist and ethnic Uzbek general Abdul Rashid Dostum was backed by Uzbekistan.[10] Uzbek President Islam Karimov was keen to see Dostum controlling as much of Afghanistan as possible, especially in the north along the Uzbek border.[10] Dostum repeatedly changed allegiances.


    Mujahideen group Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami ('Islamic Revolution Movement') is still rather unknown.[further explanation needed]

    Taliban / Pakistan

    The Taliban ('the students') have been described as a movement of religious students (talib) from the Pashtun areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan who had been educated in traditional Islamic schools in Pakistan.[14] The movement was founded in September 1994, promising to 'rid Afghanistan of warlords and criminals'.[17] Several analysts state that at least since October 1994, Pakistan and especially the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were heavily supporting the Taliban.[17][23][24]

    Professor Amin Saikal stated: "Hekmatyar's failure to achieve what was expected of him [later] prompted the ISI leaders to come up with a new surrogate force [the Taliban]."[10] Also a publication of the George Washington University stated: when Hekmatyar in 1994 had failed to "deliver for Pakistan", Pakistan turned towards a new force: the Taliban.[25]

    Ahmad Shah Massoud, involved in the political and military turmoil of Afghanistan since 1973 and therefore not an impartial observer, in early September 1996 described the Taliban as the centre of a wider movement in Afghanistan of armed Islamic radicalism: a coalition of wealthy sheikhs (like Osama bin Laden) and preachers from the Persian Gulf advocating the Saudi’s puritanical outlook on Islam which Massoud considered abhorrent to Afghans but also bringing and distributing money and supplies; Pakistani and Arab intelligence agencies; impoverished young students from Pakistani religious schools chartered as volunteer fighters notably for this group called Taliban; and exiled Central Asian Islamic radicals trying to establish bases in Afghanistan for their revolutionary movements.[26]

    Although Pakistan initially denied supporting the Taliban,[27] Pakistan’s Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar (1993–96) would later[when?] state, "we created the Taliban",[28] and Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani President in 2001-2008 and Chief of Army Staff since 1998, wrote in 2006: "we sided" with the Taliban to "spell the defeat" of anti-Taliban forces.[29] According to journalist and author Ahmed Rashid, between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban.[30]


    In 1992–93 in Kabul, the factions of Wahdat, Ittihad, Jamiat and Hezbi Islami regularly targeted civilians for attack, intentionally fired rockets into occupied civilian homes, or randomly fired into civilian areas.[15] In January–June 1994, 25,000 people died in Kabul due to fighting, with targeted attacks on civilian areas, between an alliance of Dostum's (Junbish) with Hekmatyar's (Hezbi Islami) against Massoud’s (Jamiat) forces.[31]

    In 1993–95, leaders of Jamiat, Junbish, Hizb-i Wahdat and Hezbi Islami could not keep their commanders from murder, rape and extortion, just as also the various warlords in north Afghanistan descended to such horridnesses.[14]


    In 1992–95, Kabul was heavily bombarded and damaged. Some analysts emphasize the role of Hezbi Islami in "targeting and destroying half of Kabul"[10] or in heavy bombardments especially in 1992.[16] But Human Rights Watch in two reports stated that nearly all armies participating in the 1992–95 period of war contributed to "destroying at least one-third of Kabul, killing thousands of civilians, driving a half million refugees to Pakistan": Jamiat, Junbish, Hizb-i-Wahdat, Hezbi Islami[14] and Ittihad.[15]

    As of November 1995, the Taliban also engaged in bombing and shelling Kabul, causing many civilians to be killed or injured.[32][33]




    Map showing political control in Afghanistan in 1992, following the collapse of the Najibullah government.

    As of 28 April, an interim government under interim President Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, with interim minister of defense Ahmad Shah Massoud, claimed to be governing Afghanistan, as agreed in the Peshawar Accords.[7][12]

    But soon, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his Hezb-e Islami again infiltrated Kabul trying to take power. This forced other parties to advance on the capital as well. Already before 28 April, the Mujahideen forces that had fought against Russian troops with help from the US had taken command of Kabul and Afghanistan.[8] Hekmatyar had asked other groups such as Harakat-Inqilab-i-Islami and the Khalis faction to join him while entering Kabul, but they declined his offer and instead backed the Peshawar Accords. Hezb-i Islami entered the city from the south and west but were quickly expelled. The forces of Jamiat and Shura-i Nazar entered the city, with agreement from Nabi Azimi and the Commander of the Kabul Garrison, General Abdul Wahid Baba Jan that they would enter the city through Bagram, Panjshir, Salang and Kabul Airport.[34] Many government forces, including generals, joined Jamiat,[34] including the forces of General Baba Jan, who was at the time in charge of the garrison of Kabul. On 27 April, all other major parties such as Junbish, Wahdat, Ittihad and Harakat had entered the city as well.[22] After suffering heavy casualties, Hezb-e Islami forces deserted their positions and fled to the outskirts of Kabul in the direction of Logar province.

    The Hezb-i Islami had been driven out of Kabul, but were still within artillery range. In May 1992 Hekmatyar started a bombardment campaign against the capital, firing thousands of rockets supplied by Pakistan.[10] In addition to the bombardment campaign, Hekmatyar's forces had overrun Pul-e-Charkhi prison while still in the centre of Kabul, and had set free all the inmates, including many criminals, who were able to take arms and commit gruesome crimes against the population.[35] With a government structure yet to be established, chaos broke out in Kabul.

    The immediate objective of the interim government was to defeat the forces acting against the Peshawar Accord. A renewed attempt at peace talks on 25 May 1992 again agreed to give Hekmatyar the position of prime minister, however, this lasted less than a week after Hekmatyar attempted to shoot down the plane of President Mujaddidi.[22] Furthermore, as part of the peace talks Hekmatyar was demanding the departure of Dostum's forces, which would have tilted the scales in his favour.[22] This led to fighting between Dostum and Hekmatyar. On 30 May 1992, during fighting between the forces of Dostum's Junbish-i Milli and Hekmatyar's Hizb-i Islami in the southeast of Kabul, both sides used artillery and rockets, killing and injuring an unknown number of civilians.[34]


    In June 1992, as scheduled in the Peshawar Accords, Burhanuddin Rabbani became interim president of Afghanistan.

    From the onset of the battle, Jamiat and Shura-i Nazar controlled the strategic high areas, and were thus able to develop a vantage point within the city from which opposition forces could be targeted. Hekmatyar continued to bombard Kabul with rockets. Although Hekmatyar insisted that only Islamic Jihad Council areas were targeted, the rockets mostly fell over the houses of the innocent civilians of Kabul, a fact that has been well-documented.[22][36] Artillery exchanges quickly broke out escalating in late May–Early June. Shura-i Nazar was able to immediately benefit from heavy weapons left by fleeing or defecting government forces and launched rockets on Hekmatyar's positions near the Jalalabad Custom's Post, and in the districts around Hood Khil, Qala-e Zaman Khan and near Pul-e-Charkhi prison. On 10 June it was reported that Dostum's forces had also begun nightly bombardments of Hezb-i Islami positions.[16]

    Particularly noticeable in this period was the escalation of the fight in West Kabul between the Shi'a Wahdat forces supported by Iran and those of the Wahhabist Ittehad militia supported by Saudi Arabia. Wahdat was somewhat nervous about the presence of Ittihad posts, which were deployed in Hazara areas such as Rahman Baba High school. According to the writings of Nabi Azimi, who at the time was a high ranking governor, the fighting began on 31 May 1992 when 4 members of Hezb-e Wahdat's leadership were assassinated near the Kabul Silo. Those killed were Karimi, Sayyid Isma'il Hosseini, Chaman Ali Abuzar and Vaseegh, the first 3 being members of the party's central committee. Following this the car of Haji Shir Alam, a top Ittihad commander was stopped near Pol-e Sorkh, and although Alem escaped, one of the passengers was killed.[37] On 3 June 1992, heavy fighting between forces of Ittihad-i Islami and Hizb-I Wahdat in west Kabul. Both sides used rockets, killing and injuring civilians. On 4 June, interviews with Hazara households state that Ittihad forces looted their houses in Kohte-e Sangi, killing 6 civilians. The gun battles at this time had a death toll of over 100 according to some sources.[38] On 5 June 1992, further conflict between forces of Ittihad and Hizb-i Wahdat in west Kabul was reported. Here, both sides used heavy artillery, destroying houses and other civilian structures. Three schools were reported destroyed by bombardment. The bombardment killed and injured an unknown number of civilians. Gunmen were reported killing people in shops near the Kabul Zoo. On 24 June 1992 the Jamhuriat hospital located near the Interior Ministry was bombed and closed. Jamiat and Shura-i Nazara sometimes joined the conflict when their positions came under attack by Wahdat forces and in June/July bombarded Hizb-i Wahdat positions in return. Harakat forces also sometimes joined the fight.[citation needed]


    In the month of August alone, a bombardment of artillery shells, rockets and fragmentation bombs killed over 2,000 people in Kabul, most of them civilians. On 1 August the airport was attacked by rockets. 150 rockets alone were launched the following day, and according to one author these missile attacks killed as many as 50 people and injured 150. In the early morning on 10 August Hezb-e Islami forces attacked from three directions – Chelastoon, Darulaman and Maranjan mountain. A shell also struck a Red Cross hospital. On 10–11 April[Clarification needed] nearly a thousand rockets hit parts of Kabul including about 250 hits on the airport. Some estimate that as many as 1000 were killed, with the attacks attributed to Hekmatyar's forces.[16] By 20 August it was reported that 500, 000 people had fled Kabul.[39] On 13 August 1992, a rocket attack was launched on Deh Afghanan in which cluster bombs were used. 80 were killed and more than 150 injured according to press reports. In response to this, Shura-i Nazar forces bombard Kart-I Naw, Shah Shaheed and Chiilsatoon with aerial and ground bombardment. In this counterattack more than 100 were killed and 120 wounded.[22]

    Hezb-i Islami was not however the only perpetrator of indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Particularly in West Kabul, Wahdat, Ittihad and Jamiat all have been accused of deliberately targeting civilian areas.[citation needed] All sides used non-precision rockets such as Sakre rockets and the UB-16 and UB-32 S-5 airborne rocket launchers.

    In November, in a very effective move, Hekmatyar's forces, together with guerrillas from some of the Arab groups, barricaded a power station in Sarobi, 30 miles east of Kabul, cutting electricity to the capital and shutting down the water supply, which is dependent on power. His forces and other Mujahideen were also reported to have prevented food convoys from reaching the city.[citation needed]

    On 23 November, Minister of Food Sulaiman Yaarin reported that the city's food and fuel depots were empty. The government was now under heavy pressure. At the end of 1992 Hizb-i Wahdat officially withdrew from the government and opened secret negotiations with Hizb-I Islami. In December 1992, Rabbani postponed convening a shura to elect the next president. On 29 December 1992, Rabbani was elected as president and he agreed to establish a parliament with representatives from all of Afghanistan. Also notable during this month was the solidification of an alliance between Hezb-i Wahdat and Hezb-i Islami against the Islamic State of Afghanistan. While Hizb-i Islami joined in bombardments to support Wahdat, Wahdat conducted joint offensives, such as the one to secure Darulaman.[40] On 30 December 1992 at least one child was apparently killed in Pul-i Artan by a BM21 Rocket launched from Hezb-i Islami forces at Rishkor.[41]

    Kandahar During the Same Time

    Kandahar was filled with three different local Pashtun commanders Amir Lalai, Gul Agha Sherzai and Mullah Naqib Ullah who engaged in an extremely violent struggle for power and who were not affiliated with the interim government in Kabul. The bullet riddled city came to be a centre of lawlessness, crime and atrocities fuelled by complex Pashtun tribal rivalries.[citation needed]



    The authority of Burhanuddin Rabbani, interim President since June 1992 and also the leader of the Jamiat-i Islami party, remained limited to only part of Kabul; the rest of the city remained divided among rival militia factions. On 19 January, a short-lived cease-fire broke down when Hezb-i Islami forces renewed rocket attacks on Kabul from their base in the south of the city supervised by Commander Toran Kahlil.[42] Hundreds were killed and wounded while many houses were destroyed in this clash between Hizb-i Islami and Jamiat-i Islami.[citation needed]

    Heavy fighting was reported around a Wahdat post held by Commander Sayid Ali Jan near Rabia Balkhi girls' school. Most notable during this period was the rocket bombardments that would start against the residential area of Afshar. Some of these areas, such as Wahdat's headquarters at the Social Science Institute, were considered military targets, a disproportionate number of the rockets, tank shells and mortars fell in civilian areas.[43] Numerous rockets were reportedly launched from Haider-controlled frontlines of Tap-I Salaam towards the men of Division 095 under Ali Akbar Qasemi. One attack during this time from Wahdat killed at least 9 civilians.[44] Further rockets bombardments took place on 26 February 1993 as Shura-i Nazara and Hezb-i Islami bombarded each other's positions. Civilians were the main victims in the fighting, which killed some 1,000 before yet another peace accord was signed on 8 March. However the following day rocketing by Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami and Hezb-i Wahdat in Kabul left another 10 dead.[45]


    See the main article for more information:

    The Afshar Operation was a military operation by Burhanuddin Rabbani's Islamic State of Afghanistan government forces against Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami and Hezb-i Wahdat forces that took place in February 1993. The Iran-controlled Hezb-i Wahdat together with the Pakistani-backed Hezb-i Islami of Hekmatyar were shelling densely populated areas in Kabul from their positions in Afshar. To counter these attack Islamic State forces attacked Afshar in order to capture the positions of Wahdat, capture Wahdat's leader Abdul Ali Mazari and to consolidate parts of the city controlled by the government. The operation took place in a densely populated district of Kabul, the Afshar district. Afshar district is situated on the slopes of Mount Afshar in west Kabul. The district is predominantly home to the Hazara ethnic group. The Ittihad troops of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf escalated the operation into a rampage against civilians. Both Ittihad and Wahdat forces have severely targeted civilians in their war. The Wahhabist Ittihad supported by Saudi Arabia was targeting Shias, while the Iran-controlled Wahdat was targeting Sunni Muslims.[citation needed]


    File:Hekmatyar Rabbani 1993.png

    Rabbani and Hekmatyar handshaking after signing a power-sharing deal on March 7, 1993. However Hekmatyar soon returned to fighting against Rabbani's government.

    Under the March accord, brokered by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Rabbani and Hekmatyar agreed to share power until elections could be held in late 1994. Hekmatyar's condition had been the resignation of Massoud as minister of defense. The parties agreed to a new peace accord in Jalalabad on 20 May under which Massoud agreed to relinquish the post of Defense Minister. Massoud had resigned in order to gain peace.[citation needed] Hekmatyar at first accepted the post of prime minister but after attending only one cabinet meeting he left Kabul again starting to bomb Kabul leaving more than 700 dead in bombing raids, street battles and rocket attacks in and around Kabul. Massoud returned to the position of minister of defense to defend the city against the rocket attacks.[citation needed]



    In January 1994, Dostum, for different reasons, joined with the forces of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hezb-i Islami, along with their new allies of Wahdat and Junbish-i Milli, launched the Shura Hamaghangi campaign against the forces of Massoud and the interim government. During this, Hezb-i Islami was able make use of Junbish's air force in both bombing the positions of Jamiat and in resupplying their men. This led to greater artillery bombardment on behalf of Hezb-i Islami.[36] Hezb-i Islami and Junbish were able to hold parts of central Kabul during this time. Junbish forces were particularly singled out for committing looting, rape and murder, for the sole reason that they could get away with it.[46] Some commanders such as Shir Arab, commander of the 51st regiment,[36] Kasim Jangal Bagh, Ismail Diwaneh ["Ismail the Mad"], and Abdul Cherikwere[22] particularly singled out. According to Afghanistan Justice Project, during this period until June 1994, 25,000 people were killed. Areas around Microraion were particularly bloody. By now the population of Kabul had dropped from 2,000,000 during Soviet times to 500,000 due to a large exodus from Kabul.[47]


    According to Human Rights Watch, numerous Iranian agents were assisting Hezbe Wahdat, as "Iran was attempting to maximize Wahdat's military power and influence in the new government".[10][22][48] Saudi agents "were trying to strengthen the Wahhabi Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and his Ittihad-i Islami faction to the same end".[10][22] "Outside forces saw instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to press their own security and political agendas."[25] Human Rights Watch writes that "rare ceasefires, usually negotiated by representatives of Ahmad Shah Massoud, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi or Burhanuddin Rabbani (the interim government), or officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), commonly collapsed within days."[22]

    The Taliban movement first emerged on the military scene in August 1994,[citation needed] with the stated goal of liberating Afghanistan from its present corrupt leadership of warlords and establish a pure Islamic society. It was reported in the December 2009 edition of Harper's Weekly that the Taliban originated in the districts around Kandahar city.[49] By October 1994 the Taliban movement had according to academic consensus and on-the-ground reports attracted the support of Pakistan[50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57] which saw in the Taliban a way to secure trade routes to Central Asia and establish a government in Kabul friendly to its interests.[58][59][60][61] Pakistani politicians during that time repeatedly denied supporting the Taliban.[27][62] But senior Pakistani officials such as Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar would later state, "we created the Taliban"[28] and former Pakistani President Musharraf would write "we sided" with the Taliban to "spell the defeat" of anti-Taliban forces.[29] In October 1994 a bomb struck a wedding ceremony in Qala Fathullah in Kabul, killing 70 civilians. No fighting had been witnessed in the area in several days according to reports.[63] Also in October 1994, the Taliban revolted in Kandahar. On October 12, 1994, the Taliban scored their first victory when they captured the Kandahar district of Spin Boldak.[49] They then captured Kandahar city on 5 November 1994 and soon went on to capture most of the south.

    By the end of 1994, Junbish and Dostum were on the defensive in capital Kabul, and Massoud's forces had ousted them from most of their strongholds. Massoud more and more gained control of Kabul. At the same time Junbish was able to push Jamiat out of Mazar-e Sharif.



    Interim President Rabbani refused to step down at the end of his term on 28 December 1994, and on 1 January UN peace envoy Mahmoud Mistiri returned to Kabul.[6] On 10 January Rabbani offered to step down and turn over power to a 23-member UN interim administration if Hikmatyar agreed to withdraw. On 12 January a cease fire was agreed, but bombing began again on 19 January, killing at least 22.[6] Between 22 and 31 January, Dostum's Junbish party bombed government positions in Kunduz town and province, killing 100 people are and wounding over 120. The town fell to Dostum on 5 February. Rabbani further delayed his resignation on the 21st, stating he would resign on the 22nd.[6] In late January, Ghazni fell to the Taliban. Hikmatyar lost hundreds of men and several tanks in the battle, which included a temporary alliance between the Taliban and the forces of Rabbani.[6]

    Meanwhile, the Taliban began to approach Kabul, capturing Wardak in early February and Maidan Shar, the provincial capital, on 10 February 1995. On 14 February 1995, Hekmatyar was forced to abandon his artillery positions at Charasiab due to the advance of the Taliban, who were, therefore, able to take control of this weaponry. During 25–27 February clashes broke out in Karte Seh, Kote Sangi and Karte Chahar between government forces and Hizb-e Wahdat, resulting in 10 dead and 12 wounded.[6] In March, Massoud launched an offensive against Hizb-e Wahdat trapping Wahdat forces in Karte Seh and Kote Sangi. On 8 March, unable to retreat with the Taliban in the rear, Hizb-e Wahdat's leader Abdul Ali Mazari allied himself with the Taliban, allowing them to enter Kabul, although many of Wahdat's forces joined Massoud instead. At this time, Massoud's forces heavily bombarded Western Kabul, managing to drive Wahdat out. According to other reports, the forces of Jamiat-e Islami also committed mass rape and executions on civilians in this period.[64] The Taliban retreated under the bombardment, taking Mazari with them and throwing him from a helicopter en route to Kandahar. The Taliban then continued to launch offenses against Kabul, using the equipment of Hizb-e Islami. While the Taliban retreated, large amounts of looting and pillaging was said to have taken place in south-western Kabul by the forces under Rabbani and Massoud against ethnic Hazaras.[65] Estimates of civilian casualties from this period of fighting are 100 killed and 1000 wounded.[6]

    Starting on 12 March 1995 Massoud's forces launched an offensive against the Taliban and were able to drive them out from the area around Kabul, retaking Charasiab on 19 March and leading to a period of relative calm for a few months. The battle left hundreds of Taliban dead and the force suffered its first defeat. However, while retreating, the Taliban shelled the capital, Kabul. On 16 March, Rabbani stated, once again, that he would not resign. On 30 March, a grave of 22 male corpses, 20 of which were shot in the head, was found in Charasiab.[6]


    On 4 April, the Taliban killed about 800 government soldiers and captured 300 more in Farah Province, but were later forced to retreat.[6] In early May, Rabbani's forces attacked the Taliban in Maidan Shar.[6] India and Pakistan agree to reopen their diplomatic missions in Kabul on 3–4 May. On 11 May, Ismail Khan and Rabbani's forces recaptured Farah from the Taliban. Ismail Khan reportedly used cluster bombs, killing 220–250 unarmed civilians.[6] Between 14 and 16 May, Helmand and Nimruz fall to Rabbani and Khan's forces. On 20 May, Wahdat forces captured Bamiyan. On 5 June, Dostum's forces attacked Rabbani's forces in Samangan. More than 20 are killed, and both forces continue to fight in Baghlan. On 9 June, a 10-day truce was signed between the government and the Taliban. On 15 June, Dostum bombed Kabul and Kunduz. Two 550-pound (250 kg) bombs are dropped in a residential area of Kabul, killing two and injuring one. Three land near the defence ministry.[6] On 20 June, the government recaptured Bamiyan. On 23 July, Dostum and Wahdat managed to recapture Bamiyan. On 3 August, the Taliban hijacked a Russian cargo aircraft in Kandahar and captured weapons intended for Rabbani. The Government captured Girishk and Helmand from the Taliban on 28 August, but were unable to hold Girishk. In September, Dostum forces captured Badghis. The Taliban were able to capture Farah on 2 September, and Shindand on the 3rd. On 5 September, Herat fell, with Ismail Khan fleeing to Mashhad. Some attribute this to the informal alliance between Dostum and the Taliban, along with Dostum's bombing of the city.[6] Iran followed by closing the border. On 6 September, a mob swarms the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, killing one and wounding 26, including the Pakistani ambassador.


    On 11 October, the Taliban retook Charasiab. The National Reconciliation Commission presented its proposals for peace on the same day. On 15 October, Bamiyan fell to the Taliban. Between 11–13 November 1995 at least 57 unarmed civilians were killed and over 150 injured when rockets and artillery barrages fired from Taliban positions south of Kabul pounded the civilian areas of the city. On 11 November alone, 36 civilians were killed when over 170 rockets as well as shells hit civilians areas. A salvo crashed into Foruzga Market, while another struck the Taimani district, where many people from other parts of Kabul have settled. Other residential areas hit by artillery and rocket attacks were the Bagh Bala district in the northwest of Kabul and Wazir Akbar Khan, where much of the city's small foreign community lived.[32] In the north, Rabbani's forces fought for control of the Balkh Province, reclaiming many districts from Dostum.

    On 20 November 1995, Taliban forces gave the government a 5-day ultimatum in which they would resume bombardment if Rabbani and his forces did not leave the city. This ultimatum was eventually withdrawn.[32] By the end of December, more than 150 people had died in Kabul due to the repeated rocketing, shelling, and high-altitude bombing of the city, reportedly by Taliban forces.[65]



    On 2–3 January, Taliban rocket attacks killed between 20 and 24 people and wounded another 43–56.[6] On 10 January, a peace proposal was presented to the Taliban and opposition. On 14, January Hikmatyar blocks Kabul's western route, leaving the city surrounded. However, in mid-January, Iran intervened and the Khalili faction of Hizb-e Wahdat signed a peace agreement that lead to the opening of the Kabul-Bamiyan road. On 20 January, factional fighting broke out among the Taliban in Kandahar. On 1 February, Taliban jet-bombed a residential area in Kabul, killing 10 civilians. On 3 February, the Red Cross began to airlift supplies into Kabul.[6] On 6 February, the road is used to bring in more food. On 26 February, Hikmatyar and the pro-Dostum Ismaili faction of Sayed Jafar Nadiri fought in Pul-i Khumri, Baghlan Province. Hundreds were killed before a ceasefire was reached on 4 March and the Ismaili faction lost 11 important positions.[6]

    In 1996, the Taliban returned to seize Kabul.[66] Analyst Ahmed Rashid considers the Taliban at that time to have been decisively supported by Pakistan;[citation needed] also less renowned sources suspect Taliban to have had support from Pakistan, considering their heavy weaponry.[33]

    On 7 March, Hikmatyar and the Burhanuddin Rabbani government signed an agreement to take military action against the Taliban.

    On 11 April, the government captured Saghar district in Ghor province from the Taliban, along with large stores of ammunition. Fighting continues, however, in Chaghcharan, and the Taliban captured Shahrak district.[6] On 4 May, the Iranian embassy in Kabul was shelled and two staff members were wounded. On 12 May, Hikmatyar's forces arrived in Kabul to help defend against the Taliban. On 24 May, another peace agreement was signed between Rabbani and Hikmatyar. On 24 June, Rasul Pahlawan, an Uzbek military leader in Afghanistan, was killed in an ambush near Mazar-i Sharif. This would later have significant impact on the balance of power in the North.[citation needed]

    On 3 July, a 10-member cabinet is formed. Hikmatyar's party got the ministries of defense and finance; Rabbani got the ministries of interior and foreign affairs; Sayyaf's party got education, information and culture, while Harakat-i-Islami got planning and labor and social welfare and the Wahdat Akbari faction got commerce. 12 other seats were left open for other factions.[6]

    On 8 August government forces captured Chaghcharan, but lost it again. On 11 September, Jalalabad fell to the Taliban, who then marched on Sarobi. On 12 September, the Taliban captured Mihtarlam in Laghman province. On 22 September, Kunar province fell to the Taliban.[6]

    Taliban take-over

    Map showing political control in Afghanistan in the fall of 1996, following the capture of Kabul by the Taliban.

    On 25 September, the strategic town[6] of Sarobi, an eastern outpost of Kabul, fell to the Taliban[67] who captured it from interim government troops.[6] 50 people were killed and the Taliban captured many arms from fleeing government soldiers.[6]

    On 26 September, with the Taliban attacking Kabul,[6] interim minister of defense Ahmad Shah Massoud in his headquarters in northern Kabul concluded that his and President Rabbani’s interim government's forces had been encircled,[67] and decided to quickly evacuate[67] or withdraw[6] those forces to the north,[67][6] to avoid destruction.[67] Also Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e Islami, withdrew from Kabul.[6]

    By nightfall,[67] or on the next day of 27 September,[6] the Taliban had conquered Kabul.[67][6] Taliban's leader Muhammad Umar appointed his deputy, Mullah Muhammad Rabbani, as head of a national ruling council which was called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.[6] By now, the Taliban controlled most of Afghanistan.[5]


    In its first action while in power, the Taliban hung former President Najibullah and his brother from a tower, after they had first castrated Najibullah[68] and then tortured them to death.[citation needed] All key government installations appeared to be in Taliban's hands within hours, including the presidential palace and the ministries of defense, security and foreign affairs.

    On 5 October 1996, the Taliban attacked Massoud's forces in the Salang Pass but suffered heavy losses. On 1 October, Massoud retook Jabal Saraj and Charikar. Bagram was taken back a week later. On 15–19 October, Qarabagh changed hands before being captured by Massoud and Dostum's forces.[6] During 21–30 October, Massoud's forces stalled on the way to the capital. On 25 October, the Taliban claimed to have captured Badghis province and started to attack Dostum's forces in Faryab. On 27–28 October, anti-Taliban forces attempted to recapture Kabul but were unable to do so. On 30 October Dara-I-Nur District in Nangarhar province fell to anti-Taliban forces but was retaken in early November. Fighting also occurred in Baghdis province with no significant gains from either side. Ismail Khan's forces were flown in from Iran to support the anti-Taliban alliance. On 4 November, Dostum's forces bombed the Herat airport and anti-Taliban forces took control of Nurgal district in Konar province. Between 9 and 12 November, Dostum's jets bombed the Kabul airport, and between 11 and 16 approximately 50,000 people, mostly Pashtuns, arrived in Herat province, fleeing the fight in Badghis. On 20 November, the UNHCR halted all activities in Kabul. On 21–22 December, anti-Taliban demonstrations occurred in Herat as women demanded assistance from international organizations, but it was violently dispersed. On 28–29 December a major offensive is launched against Bagram airbase and the base is surrounded.[6]

    The United Front, known in the Pakistani and Western media as the 'Northern Alliance', was created in opposition to the Taliban under the leadership of Massoud. In the following years over 1 million people fled the Taliban, many arriving to the areas controlled by Massoud. Freed from the horrific situation that had stopped his plans for Afghanistan in Kabul, Ahmad Shah Massoud established democratic structures in the areas under his control.[citation needed] The events of this war lead to the Afghan Civil War (1996–2001).

    See also


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    2. See sections Bombardments and Timeline 1994, Januari-June
    3. See section Bombardments
    4. See sections Atrocities and Timeline
    5. 5.0 5.1 Country profile: Afghanistan (published August 2008) (page 3). Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
    6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 Afghanistan: Chronology of Events January 1995 - February 1997 (Report). Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. February 1997. 
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    10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Saikal (2004), p. 352.
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