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

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Afghanistan

See also Pakistan

Apr. 17: In an ongoing effort to reform the Afghan electoral system, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appointed new officials to the country's election-organizing body, including a well-respected former judge. The move was likely due to mounting pressure from the US and its allies following The 2009 elections that were mired in fraud. Karzai also added five representatives, three Afghans and two from the UN, to the UN-backed election monitoring group which had investigated and uncovered the fraud in the 2009 elections. [AP, 4/17]

Apr. 18: Following an offensive, which included NATO air strikes, launched by Afghan and international forces over four days, 29 Taliban militants were confirmed dead in Baghlan province. The strikes were aimed at protecting supply routes in northern Afghanistan. Three Afghan police officers and four German soldiers were also reportedly killed in the attacks. [AP, 4/18]

Apr. 23: NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that NATO would begin handing over security responsibilities to Afghan forces later in 2010. Rasmussen indicated that the process would be gradual and based on existing security conditions, not a pre-determined timetable. Concern abounded, as many believed that more international forces were needed to train Afghan security forces in order to effectively counter a strong insurgency. [Reuters, 4/23]

Apr. 25: More than 60 schoolgirls in two separate incidents became ill or went unconscious after smelling poison gas at their schools. Insurgents were suspected to be responsible due to their opposition to education for girls. [Reuters, 4/25]

May 13: Thousands of Afghans protested in Jalalabad over the executions of Afghans in Iran. Protesters and human rights groups said that the number of executed was likely 45; they were likely charged with smuggling drugs. Over the previous two weeks, Afghans engaged in four other protests in Kabul and Herat, but this was the largest. Iran did not comment on the matter. [BBC, 5/13]

UN officials reported that a blight, likely a fungus, had infected about half of Afghanistan's poppy crop and would destroy about 30% of it. UN statistics also suggested that opium prices rose as a result, creating a greater profit for the Taliban which manufactured heroin from the crop. The country produced about 90% of the world's opium. [RFE/RL, 5/13]

May 16: Popular muslim cleric Rahman Gul was assassinated as he returned home. Gul was known for advocating peace in Afghanistan, and his murder followed a series of similar killings of those aligned with international forces. His brother and another relative were also killed. [RFE/RL, 5/17]

May 19: Taliban militants attacked Bagram Airfield, the largest NATO base in Afghanistan. Clashes that followed the initial attack injured 9 soldiers and killed 11 militants. Bagram was located about 35 miles north of Kabul and served as a transit hub for NATO forces in the country. [Al-Arabiya, 5/19]

June 6: President Karzai removed two of Afghanistan's top security officials after a Taliban attack on a national peace conference. Amrullah Saleh was head of the National Directorate of Security and Hanif Atmar was Interior Minister. On June 2, two Taliban militants fired rockets at a three-day "Peace Jirga" attended by about 1,500 delegates, including lawmakers, religious leaders, and tribal chiefs. [Al-Arabiya, 6/2, 6/6]

June 9: Taliban militants detonated a mine at a wedding in Kandahar, killing 39 people and wounding 73 more. Many of the guests had links to local police forces or anti-Taliban militias. Kandahar province served as the base of Taliban operations before they were dislodged by US-led forces in 2001. [Al-Arabiya, 6/10]

June 14: A US study reported that Afghanistan had nearly $1 trillion in mineral deposits, including previously unknown lithium, iron, gold, niobium, and cobalt reserves. The study suggested that the rich mineral deposits could transform Afghanistan into a global mining hub. …