Chronology: Afghanistan

The Middle East Journal, Summer 2014 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Afghanistan


See also Central Asia, Pakistan

Jan. 16: The United States military suspended the transfer of detainees to Afghan prisons out of concern over human rights abuses. US authorities also asked the Afghan government to investigate allegations of torture at the hands of local police officers. Under US law, confirmed use of torture by Afghan security forces could result in significant aid cutoffs. [NYT, 1/16]

The office of President Hamid Karzai or- dered the Attorney General of Afghanistan to launch an investigation into a series of television advertisements attacking Karzai's refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States. The ads showed Afghans voicing support for an agreement and working together with foreign troops on infrastructure projects. Several walkouts by parliamentarians resulted from Karzai's refusal to sign an agreement, amid weekly protests. [RFE/RL, 1/20]

Jan. 17: A Taliban suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul killed 21 people in one of the deadliest in Kabul in recent years. Thirteen foreigners and eight Afghans, including a senior official of the International Monetary Fund and four United Nations employees, died in the attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in response to a US air strike earlier that week northwest of Kabul. [WP, 1/18]

Feb. 2: The presidential campaign started with thousands of Afghans participating in rallies in Kabul. Eleven candidates registered to run to replace President Karzai in the elections scheduled for April 5. Security was a major concern, with two staffers for one of the candidates killed on February 1. [BBC, 2/2]

Feb. 10: A three-year-old girl in Kabul was diagnosed with polio and became the first case in the capital since 2001. The diagnosis prompted the health ministry to order a vaccination campaign in Kabul. Polio was endemic to Afghanistan but declined in recent years after the Taliban stopped obstructing health workers conducting vaccination campaigns. [BBC, 2/10]

Feb. 13: An Afghan review board released 65 prisoners from the maximum-security Bagram detention facility outside of Kabul, stating there was not enough evidence to hold them. US forces previously controlled the detention facility, and NATO forces were quick to criticize the release. Over the previous year, the Afghan army released nearly 1,000 prisoners captured by American forces, which became a major source of tension between the two countries. [BBC, 2/13]

Feb. 23: Taliban insurgents killed 21 soldiers in a raid at an Afghan National Army base in Kunar Province. The soldiers' bodies were flown into Kabul and given an honor guard at a military hospital. The ceremony was met with a public outpouring of anger, much of it directed at President Karzai, who many Afghans felt was too soft on the Taliban. [NYT, 2/24]

Feb. 25: Afghanistan's defense ministry dismissed nine army officers for negligence, including a brigade commander and military intelligence chiefs, saying they could face prosecution. The firings were in response to a Taliban assault on an army outpost in Kunar Province. Twenty-one soldiers died in the attack, which was the deadliest single attack on Afghan forces in several months. [RFE/RL, AFP, 2/25]

US president Barack Obama told Presi- dent Karzai that he was planning for the complete withdrawal of US forces from Af- ghanistan by the end of 2014. The call was the first time the two leaders spoke since June 2013, and signaled Obama's displeasure that Karzai would not sign a bilateral security agreement. Obama noted that he was willing to work with Karzai's replacement and leave a small contingent of US troops behind to train Afghan forces and conduct counterter- rorism operations. [NYT, 2/25]

Mar. 3: The government announced that over 13,000 soldiers and police officers had been killed since 2001. Most of the deaths occurred in the past three years as security forces assumed greater responsibility for their nation's security from the International Security Assistance Force. …

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