Chronology: Afghanistan/Algeria/Bahrain/Egypt/Iran/Iraq/Israel/Jordan/Kuwait/Lebanon/Libya/Mauritania/Morocco/Pakistan/Qatar/Saudi Arabia/Sudan/Syria/Tunisia/Turkey/United Arab Emirates/Yemen

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Afghanistan

See also Central Asia and the Caucasus, Pakistan, Regional Affairs

Feb. 11: Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked three government sites in Kabul, including the Justice Ministry near the Presidential Palace, killing 20 people. An hour after the attack on the Justice Ministry, Afghan security forces evacuated survivors. [NYT, 2/11]

Mar. 4: The Afghan Election Commission rejected President Hamid Karzai's call for an April presidential election, and delayed the poll to August 20, 2009, citing security concerns as well as preparatory time necessary for international observers to ensure a fair election. President Karzai hoped to remain in office for a second five year term despite opposition claims of corruption. [BBC, 3/4]

Mar. 27: US President Barack Obama unveiled the "New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan," which refocused American attention on disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qa'ida. The new strategy called for the deployment of some 17,000 additional troops and included more aid for Pakistan. [WP, 3/27]

Mar. 29: The Afghan Supreme Court issued a non-binding decision declaring that Hamid Karzai could lawfully remain in power between the end of his term, March 21, and the next presidential elections on August 20. The elections were originally scheduled for late May but were postponed for security and logistical reasons. Opposition parties criticized the decision, citing fears that President Karzai might abuse his presidential powers to ensure his success in the upcoming elections. [NYT, 3/29]

Apr. 2: US forces in Afghanistan and the Afghan army said that 20 Taliban militants were killed during an airstrike in the Helmand province. The airstrike was ordered after Taliban forces ambushed American and Afghan troops in the Kajaki district. [VOA, 4/2]

Apr. 5: In a meeting in Strasbourg, NATO leaders agreed to send 5,000 additional noncombat troops to Afghanistan to train that country's military. NATO members also promised $100 million in funding for the Afghan army. [ST, 4/5]

Apr. 6: The Afghan Justice Ministry said that it would not formally institute a set of Shi'ite-specific laws until further legal review was conducted. The new Shi'ite marital laws, passed by both chambers of the Afghan Legislature and signed by the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, effectively legalized marital rape and were highly criticized by that country's Western allies. The Justice Ministry said that it would revise the "problematic" articles before instituting the law. [Reuters, 4/6]

Apr. 9: A suicide bomber attacked a police narcotics eradication unit in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The attack killed five and injured another 17. The drug business in Afghanistan was a key source of income for the Taliban, bringing in more than $500 million in revenues annually. [AP, 4/9]

Apr. 10: Polish President Lech Kaczynski agreed to send 400 more Polish troops to Afghanistan to complement NATO forces already present in that country. The troops were set to arrive in Afghanistan by mid- April, increasing the number of Polish troops in the country to 2,000. [AP, 4/9]

Apr. 13: In Nimrooz, the Taliban shot a young couple who had attempted to elope. The couple was condemned by a group of local clerics and then executed in front of a mosque. The Nimrooz Police Chief, Jaber Pardeli, said that the government had no access to the region where the execution had occurred. [Times, 4/14]

Algeria

Jan. 31: Ongoing clashes between Arab Sunnis and Berber Ibadis escalated in the Saharahan city of Berianne, leaving two Ibadis dead and over a hundred from both sects and security forces wounded. One of the victims was Amar Kerouche, leader of the opposition Socialist Forces Front party. Seven shops and ten houses were burned in fires set during the fighting. [Ennahar, 2/1]

Mar. 28: The Religious Affairs Ministry limited the activity of a number of mosques in Algiers and other cities due to security threats. …