Chronology: Afghanistan

The Middle East Journal, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Afghanistan


See also Pakistan, Regional Affairs

July 23: Mongolia announced that it would send 150 troops to Afghanistan both for training and peacekeeping. The Mongol troops were highly regarded as trainers for the Afghan army, because they used the same Soviet-era military hardware as the Afghan military. Mongolia previously had sent much smaller training detachments from 2003 to 2008. [AFP, 7/23]

July 26: Mohammad Qasim Fahim, one of President Hamid Karzai's vice presidential running mates, escaped a Taliban ambush in northern Kunduz province. Fahim had been campaigning in his native Tajik area on Karzai's behalf. [Reuters, 7/26]

Afghanistan's Independent Election Committee announced that the state media showed a strong bias for Hamid Karzai. The committee said that over half of all time spent covering the elections was devoted to Karzai, while the privately owned Noor TV overwhelmingly supported Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. [Media Line, 7/27]

July 27: Gunmen opened fire on a rally for presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah in Jalalabad. The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying that they killed three people. Security forces fought off the attack and the rally resumed. Authorities and watch groups feared that recent violence would keep people away from the polls. [AFP, 7/27]

July 30: The Taliban called on the people of Afghanistan to boycott the elections planned for August 20. The Taliban claimed the elections were not a national process, and instead reflected the wishes of the "occupying" Americans. The Taliban urged fighters to attack "enemy centers" and prevent people from attending the elections. [BBC, 7/30]

CNN obtained a Taliban code of conduct rulebook claiming that suicide attacks ought to be limited to high-ranking officials, taking weapons from the people was forbidden, and forcible donations were not allowed. US and Afghan military officials dismissed the book as propaganda, saying that day to day Taliban actions contradicted everything in the book. [CNN, 7/30]

Aug. 1: An American soldier died of wounds suffered in a firefight, becoming the last US casualty in Afghanistan for the month of July. July was the bloodiest month for foreign forces in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war in 2001. Seventy soldiers died in total, including 42 Americans and 22 Britons. Roughly two-thirds of casualties were caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). [LAT, NYT, 8/1]

Aug. 4: Taliban insurgents launched a rocket attack against Kabul, targeting the embassy district. The attack was the largest of its kind in years. The Taliban claimed that the attack showed that the government could not ensure security for the upcoming election. [NYT, 8/4]

Aug. 5: Four members of one family were killed overnight in an airstrike by NATO troops in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, despite a July 2009 order made by General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO and US operations in Afghanistan, to limit the use of airstrikes as a means of preventing civilian casualties. [RFE-RL, 8/5]

A previously secret Afghan government map revealed that nearly half of Afghanistan was considered to be at high risk of attack by Taliban forces or was already under "enemy control." The map was drafted in April 2009, and was one of the first pieces of concrete evidence suggesting that the Taliban could be successful in thwarting voter turnout in the August 20, 2009 presidential elections. [RFE-RL, 8/5]

Aug. 6: Two roadside bombs killed ten civilians in the remote and especially volatile Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, where US Marines were sent in July 2009 to combat Taliban insurgents. The separate but related incidents were indicative of mounting violence relating to the presidential elections taking place on August 20, 2009. [RFE-RL, 8/6]

Aug. 10: President Hamid Karzai made his first reelection campaign stop outside Kabul in a remote Ismaeli village, where he was warmly received by residents whose spiritual leader, Syed Mansoor Nadiri, recently had endorsed the candidate.

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