Coalition: Advisers, Non-combat support, & Counter-terrorism operations:
Russia (accused of arming Taliban)
Taliban splinter groups (from 2015)
|Commanders and leaders
(President of Afghanistan)
(CEO of Afghanistan)
Abdul Rashid Dostum
(Vice-President of Afghanistan)
(Deputy CEO of Afghanistan)
Atta Muhammad Nur
(Governor of Balkh Province)
Bismillah Khan Mohammadi
(Defense Minister of Afghanistan)
Sher Mohammad Karimi
(Chief of Army Staff)
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j Major contributing nations with more than 200 troops as of May 2015
(Deputy of the Taliban)
(Deputy of the Taliban)
Jalaluddin Haqqani †
(Leader of Haqqani Network)
(Emir of al-Qaeda)
Mansoor Dadullah †
(Commander of the Dadullah Front)
(Commander of Fidai Mahaz)
Mohammed Omar †
(Commander of the Faithful)
Akhtar Mansoor †
Osama bin Laden †
Abdul Ghani Baradar (POW)
(Former Deputy of the Taliban)
Obaidullah Akhund †
(Former Taliban Minister of Defense)
Mohammad Fazl (POW)
(Former Deputy Defense Minister)
Abdul Qayyum Zakir
(Former Taliban military chief)
Dadullah Akhund †
(Former Emir of al-Qaeda)
Afghan Armed Forces: 352,000
Military Contractors: 20,000+
HIG: 1,500 - 2,000+
Fidai Mahaz: 8,000
|Casualties and losses
Afghan Security Forces:
Total killed: 20,743+
Dead: 3,486 (all causes)
2,807 (hostile causes)
(United States: 2,356, United Kingdom: 454, Canada: 158, France: 88, Germany: 57, Italy: 53, Others: 321)
Wounded: 22,773 (United States: 19,950, United Kingdom: 2,188, Canada: 635)
Dead: 20,000 to 35,000 
The Taliban insurgency began shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 War in Afghanistan. The Taliban forces are fighting against the Afghan government, formerly led by President Hamid Karzai, now led by President Ashraf Ghani, and against the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The insurgency has spread to some degree over the Durand Line border to neighboring Pakistan, in particular the Waziristan region and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Taliban conduct low-intensity warfare against Afghan National Security Forces and their NATO trainers. Regional countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, are often accused of funding and supporting the insurgent groups.
The leader of the Taliban is Hibatullah Akhundzada who heads the Quetta Shura. The Haqqani Network, Hezbi Islami, and smaller al Qaeda groups have also joined the insurgency. They often use terrorist attacks in which their victims are usually Afghan civilians. According to reports by the United Nations and others, the insurgents were responsible for 75-80% of civilian casualties between 2009 and 2011.
After the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, many prominent Afghan figures were assassinated by the insurgents, including Mohammed Daud Daud, Ahmed Wali Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, Burhanuddin Rabbani and others. In response to this, major operations were started inside Afghanistan against the insurgents. These are intended to disrupt the network of the insurgents and force them to the negotiation table.
While the pre-2001 Taliban suppressed opium production, the current insurgency "relies on opium revenues to purchase weapons, train its members, and buy support." In 2001, Afghanistan produced only 11% of the world's opium, today it produces 93% of the global crop, and the drug trade accounts for half of Afghanistan's GDP.
On 28 July 2009, Richard Holbrooke, the United States special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that money transfers from Western Europe and the Gulf States exceeded the drug trade earnings and that a new task force had been formed to shut down this source of funds.
The United States Agency for International Development is investigating the possibility that kickbacks from its contracts are being funneled to the Taliban.
A report by the London School of Economics (LSE) claimed to provide the most concrete evidence yet that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is providing funding, training and sanctuary to the Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought. The report's author Matt Waldman spoke to nine Taliban field commanders in Afghanistan and concluded that Pakistan's relationship with the insurgents ran far deeper than previously realized. Some of those interviewed suggested that the organization even attended meetings of the Taliban's supreme council, the Quetta Shura. A spokesman for the Pakistani military dismissed the report, describing it as "malicious".
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source
. (July 2014)
This section needs to be updated. (July 2014)
In March 2010, after the ousting of the Taliban from the area of Marja in the Southern Afghan province Helmand in the Operation Moshtarak, the American and NATO commanders were confronted with the dilemma of on the one hand the need for "winning the hearts and minds" of the local population as well as on the other hand the necessity of the eradication of poppies and the destruction of the opium economy. Since opium is the main source of existence of 60 to 70 percent of the farmers in Marja, American Marines were ordered to initially ignore the crops to avoid trampling their livelihood.
Social context: poverty and corruption
This section needs to be updated. (July 2014)
In November 2010, a report with the results of an opinion poll of the Western aid group Oxfam indicated that 83 percent of the Afghan population does not consider the Taliban militants, but poverty, unemployment and government corruption as the main causes of war in their country.
After thirty years of war, the country remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. It is also one of the most corrupt. Unemployment stands at 35 percent and more than half of the population lives below the poverty line. On top of that, violence then seemed to culminate since U.S.-backed Afghan forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001. Nearly half of those surveyed said corruption and bad government were the main reasons for the ongoing war. 12 percent said the Taliban insurgency was to blame.
A study from August 2017 illustrates that the corruption of the Afghan state is an important source of local legitimacy for the Taliban.
Since the start of 2006 Afghanistan has been facing a wave of attacks by improvised explosives and suicide bombers, particularly after NATO took command of the fight against insurgents in spring 2006.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly condemned the methods used by the western powers. In June 2006 he said:
||And for two years I have systematically, consistently and on a daily basis warned the international community of what was developing in Afghanistan and of the need for a change of approach in this regard… The international community [must] reassess the manner in which this war against terror is conducted
Insurgents were also criticized for their conduct. According to Human Rights Watch, bombing and other attacks on Afghan civilians by the Taliban (and to a lesser extent Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin), are reported to have "sharply escalated in 2006" with "at least 669 Afghan civilians were killed in at least 350 armed attacks, most of which appear to have been intentionally launched at civilians or civilian objects." 131 of insurgent attacks were suicide attacks which killed 212 civilians (732 wounded), 46 Afghan army and police members (101 wounded), and 12 foreign soldiers (63 wounded).
The United Nations estimated that for the first half of 2011, the civilian deaths rose by 15% and reached 1462, which is the worst death toll since the beginning of the war and despite the surge of foreign troops.
- 6 June: A roadside bombing leaves 2 American soldiers killed, the attack took place in the province of Nangarhar. Also a separate suicide bombing in Khost leaves three US soldiers wounded.
- 15 June: A bus carrying workers to an American base explodes killing 10 and wounding 15. The explosives were placed on the bus.
- 1 July: 2 British soldiers are killed when their base came under small arms fire including rocket propelled grenades.
- 8 August: 4 Canadian NATO soldiers are killed in two separate attacks. And a suicide bomber targeting a NATO convoy detonated, killing 21 people.
- 20 August: 3 American soldiers are killed and another 3 are wounded in a battle with Taliban militants after a roadside bomb hit an American patrol.
- 8 September: A major suicide car bombing near the US embassy in Kabul kills 18 including 2 US soldiers.
- 10 September: The governor of Afghanistan's southeastern Paktia province is killed alongside his bodyguard and nephew when a suicide bomber detonates himself beside the governor's car.
- 14 October: A suicide attack in Kandahar city leaves 8 dead including one NATO soldier.
- 15 October: 2 Canadian soldiers were killed when Taliban militants attacked NATO troops using small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.
- 6 December: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a security contractor's office killing 7 including 2 Americans, the attack took place south of Afghanistan in Kandahar.
- 19 December: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Osmani, reportedly number 4 in the Taliban shura, is killed by an American airstrike in southern Afghanistan.
Regional security risks and levels of opium poppy cultivation in 2007–2008.
- The Taliban continued to favor suicide bombing as a tactic.
- In 2007 Afghanistan saw 140 more suicide bombings – more than in the past five years combined – that killed more than 300 people, many civilians.
- A UN report said the perpetrators were poorly educated, disaffected young men who were recruited by Taliban leaders in Pakistani madrassas.
- Western analysts estimated that the Taliban can field about 10,000 fighters at any given time, according to a 30 October report in The New York Times. Of that number, "only 2,000 to 3,000 are highly motivated, full-time insurgents", the Times reported. The rest are part-timers, made up of alienated, young Afghan men angry at bombing raids or fighting in order to get money. In 2007, more foreign fighters were showing up in Afghanistan than ever before, according to Afghan and United States officials. An estimated 100 to 300 full-time combatants are foreigners, usually from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, various Arab countries and perhaps even Turkey and western China. They tend to be more fanatical and violent, and they often bring skills such as the ability to post more sophisticated videos on the Internet or bombmaking expertise. It has also been reported that the Taliban now control up to 54% of Afghanistan.
- On 15 April, the Afghan Government promised to end all hostage deals with the Taliban after two Afghan kidnapped victims were executed in an agreement to free an Italian journalist.
- 23 January: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a US base in eastern Afghanistan killing 10 people who were waiting outside the base.
- 2 February: Taliban forces raided a southern Afghan town destroying the government center and briefly holding some elders captive.
- 19 February: The Taliban briefly seized a small town in western Afghanistan after police fled the town, the Taliban forces moved in for 30 minutes and seized three vehicles.
- 20 February: A suicide bomber blew himself up during an opening hospital ceremony injuring 2 NATO soldiers and a hospital worker.
- 27 February: 23 people are killed when a suicide bomber attacks an American military base, Bagram Airfield (BAF) in Bagram District, Parwan Province. The attack took place while US vice president Dick Cheney was in the compound, Cheney was unhurt in the attack and was the intended target of the attack as claimed by the Taliban. The dead included an American soldier, a Korean soldier, and an American contractor.
- 4 March: A suicide bomber attacks an American convoy which leaves 16 civilians dead in the aftermath as the American convey begins to sporadically fire at civilian cars around them. In a separate incident, two British soldiers were killed when a Taliban rocket was fired on them during clashes in Southern Helmand Province.
- 17 March: A suicide bomber targeting a Canadian military convoy leaves one dead and three injured, including one NATO soldier. The attack took place in Kandahar.
- 19 March: A car bomb blew up near a three-vehicle US embassy convoy injuring many in the convoy.
- 27 March: Four police officers are killed in the southern Helmand province after a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police station.
- 29 March: A suicide bomber near Kabul detonated explosives close to a high-ranking Afghan intelligence official's car, killing 4 civilians.
- 6 April:
- Afghanistan President Karzai admitted that he spoke to the Taliban to bring about peace in Afghanistan. He noted that the Afghan Taliban are "always welcome" in Afghanistan, although foreign militants are not.
- 9 April: Six Canadian soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan when they struck a roadside bomb. A separate roadside bombing, also in south Afghanistan, left another NATO soldier dead and one wounded. In another incident, a statement from the Taliban's spokesperson claimed that they had beheaded a translator for a kidnapped Italian journalist.
- 15 April: A suicide bomber struck a US-private security firm, killing four Afghans working for the company.
- 16 April: A suicide bomber ran onto a police training field and detonating his explosive device, killed 10 police officers and wounded dozens of others. The attack took place in the relatively quiet city of Kunduz. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
- 20 April: Separate explosions in Southern Afghanistan leave two NATO soldiers dead.
- 22 April: A suicide bomber blew himself up an eastern city of Afghanistan, killing six. A roadside bomb also hit an Afghan intelligence service vehicle, killing all four who were inside.
- 30 April: Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in western Afghanistan, accusing US soldiers of killing scores of civilians in fighting which the coalition said killed 136 Taliban in a three-week operation.
- 13 May: Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's top military commander in Afghanistan, is killed in fighting in the south.
- 23 May: The Taliban's newly named top field commander, Mullah Bakht Mohammed, brother and replacement of deceased field commander Mullah Dadullah, makes his first public statement, saying the Taliban will "pursue holy war until the occupying countries leave."
- 31 August: A suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle after ramming three military vehicles at the military gate of the Kabul International Airport. Two Afghan soldiers were killed and ten people were injured.
- 29 September: In an effort to reach a compromise with the Taliban leaders, the president, Hamid Karzai would make a quid quo pro by allowing militants to have a place in government if they stopped fighting. Taliban leaders replied by saying there would be no compromise unless intervening forces such as NATO and the U.S. left.
- 2 November: Mawlawi Abdul Manan, an important Taliban figure, is killed by Afghan Security forces. His death is confirmed by the Taliban.
The U.S. warned that in 2008 the Taliban has "coalesced into a resilient insurgency", and would "maintain or even increase the scope and pace of its terrorist attacks". Attacks by Taliban insurgents in eastern Afghanistan increased by 40% when compared to the same period in 2007.
- 19 August:Taliban forces kill 9 French troops (with a 10th death in an accident) near Kabul.
- 6 October: CNN reported that, via Saudi intermediaries, the Taliban is negotiating to end the conflict in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban has split from Al Qaeda.
- 7 December: 200 Taliban armed with RPGs and automatic weapons attack two NATO supply depots outside of Peshawar destroying 100 vehicles packed with supplies intended to support the NATO effort in Afghanistan.
- 8 December: 200 Taliban armed with RPGs and automatic weapons attack a NATO supply depot outside of Peshawar destroying 53 container trucks packed with supplies intended to support the NATO effort in Afghanistan.
During 2009 the Taliban regained control over the countryside of several Afghan provinces. In August 2009, Taliban commanders in the province of Helmand started issuing "visa" from the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" in order to allow travel to and from the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.
- June30: US Army Private First Class soldier Bowe R. Bergdahl is captured by the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan.
- 18 July: The Taliban release a video showing Bergdahl being interviewed by one of his captors.
- 12 August: Taliban spokesmen threaten the public not to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
- 15 August: 2009 NATO Afghanistan headquarters bombing:
- A suicide car bomb explodes outside NATO headquarters in Kabul, killing at least seven and wounding almost 100. ISAF troops were reported among the wounded.
- 25 August: A massive car bomb shakes Kandahar, killing at least 30 and wounding dozens as buildings collapse in the city's center. The attack comes after the first results of the presidential elections were announced. Four U.S. soldiers die in an IED explosion in southern Afghanistan bringing ISAF losses to 295, eclipsing 2008's coalition death toll of 294.
- 4 September: U.S airstrike on two fuel tankers kill at least 70 people in Farah Province after it was hijacked by Taliban militants. Angry relatives of those killed claim civilians were collecting fuel from the tankers when the airstrike came.
- On 1 December, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would send an additional 30,000 troops to help battle the Taliban insurgency. The Taliban reacted to the President's speech by saying they will step up their fight in Afghanistan. A Taliban commander told the BBC that if more US troops came, more would die.
- After his disputed re-election, President Hamid Karzai announced to move ahead with a plan for a Loya Jirga to discuss the Taliban insurgency. The Taliban would be invited to take part in this Jirga.
During 2010, the Taliban were ousted from parts of Helmand Province by the ISAF Operation Moshtarak that started in February 2010. In the meantime the Taliban insurgency spread to the northern provinces of the country. The new policy of the Taliban was to shift militants from the south to the north, to show they exist "everywhere", according to Faryab Province Governor Abdul Haq Shafaq. With most Afghan and NATO troops stationed in the southern and eastern provinces, villagers in the once-peaceful north found themselves confronted with a rapid deterioration of security, as insurgents seized new territory in provinces such as Kunduz and Baghlan, and even infiltrated the mountains of Badakhshan Province in the northeast.
- 17 January: "Kabul's day of terror":
- On this day, gunbattles near the presidential palace and other government buildings paralyzed the Afghan capital for hours.
- As President Karzai was swearing in his new cabinet ministers inside the presidential palace, militants performed attacks on multiple locations in Kabul, including shopping malls, a cinema and the central bank. A team of gunmen launched a spectacular assault in "commando style" with two men detonating suicide bombs and the rest fighting to the death near the gates of the presidential palace, an operation by insurgents to terrorize the Afghan capital, further demoralizing the population and lending to the impression that virtually no part of the country could be safe. The Taliban said it had deployed 20 suicide bombers in explosive vests who were also armed with heavy and light weaponry
- A western security official estimated there is a security incident in Kabul, on average, every seven to 10 days.
- 26 February: Militants target hotels and guest houses in Kabul. Up to nine Indians, an Italian diplomat and a French film maker were among the dead in the worst assault on the Afghan capital for several months. A four-hour battle began with a car bombing and included suicide bombers and Taliban fighters throwing grenades. The attacks appeared to be aimed at Indian government officials and medical workers. Three Afghan police were killed, and six more officers were among the 38 people wounded in what was described as a well-planned and co-ordinated attack.
- 2–4 June:
- The Karzai administration organized the Afghan Peace Jirga in Kabul that was announced after the 2009 presidential elections. The Taliban were not invited.
- 20–29 July: International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul
The insurgency continued strongly in 2011.
The Taliban continued attacking and ambushing NATO and Afghan troops as well as the targeted assassination of government officials.
- 29 January: The deputy governor of Kandahar was killed in a suicide attack. Three months later, on 15 April the Kandahar chief police, General Khan Mohammed Mujahid was killed.
- It was reported that in 2011, the United States was spending 2 billion dollars per week fighting in Afghanistan against the Taliban. In a 2011 forecast the war in Afghanistan was estimated at 108 billion dollars for the year, while the Iraqi War was estimated at 50 billion.
- 28 May: The Taliban assassinated one of their main opponents, Mohammed Daud Daud, in a bomb attack. Six others were also killed. He was the chief of the police for the northern of Afghanistan.
- 18 July: President Karzai's advisor, Jan Mohammad Khan, was assassinated in Kabul by the Taliban in an attack that also killed an Afghan deputy.
- As of 18 July, coalition forces started their plan of transition by handing power of several areas to the Afghan authority following their plan of future pull out of the country. A Taliban militant who had infiltrated the Afghan police force killed seven other policemen in Lashkar Gah. The same day the police chief of Registaan district and three other policemen were killed in bomb attacks.
- As of 22 July 325 coalition fighters were killed, more than 55% of the deaths caused by IED's.
- 19 July: ISAF General Chief David Petraeus left his position with mixed results. During his time as the head of ISAF, 3775 insurgents were killed or captured in 2832 raids while 713 NATO soldiers were killed. Overall the level of violence in the country increased. He was replaced by General John Allen.
- Between 20 and 22 July, NATO troops killed 50 Haqquani fighters in an attack on their camp.
- 24 July: A US military investigation discovered that a portion of the 2 billion dollars in funds given by the United States in contracts had fallen in the hands of the insurgency.
- 27 July: The mayor of Kandahar, Ghulam Haidar Hameedi, was killed in a suicide attack.
- 28 July: Suicide bombers and snipers attacked the police headquarters of Tarin Kowt in a large-scale attack which killed more than 21 people including Afghan reporter Ahmed Omed Khpulwak. According to the Afghan interior minister, for the 2-year period between 19 March 2009 and 19 March 2011, 2770 Afghan policemen were killed and 4785 wounded while 1052 Afghan soldiers were killed and 2413 wounded.
- 31 July: 10 Afghan policemen were killed in a suicide attack in Lashkar Gah where Afghan security forces had taken over from NATO a week before. The same day, 10 Afghan guards who were protecting a NATO supplies convoy were killed in the attack. One day before, 5 Afghans soldiers and 2 NATO soldiers were killed in a bomb attack on their patrol.
- 6 August: 31 American Special Forces soldiers were killed in the crash of their helicopter probably shot down during a fight with the Taliban. Seven Afghan soldiers were also killed. This was the biggest death toll for NATO troops in the whole war. Most of the American soldiers killed were Navy SEALs.
- 7 August: 4 NATO soldiers were killed, including two French Foreign Legion members, and 5 others were wounded.
The Taliban insurgency continued into 2012.
- 27 August:
- Taliban insurgents in the Taliban-controlled southern Helmand area killed 17 civilians – fifteen men and two women – who were attending a party. A government official said that the victims were beheaded for celebrating with music and mixgender dancing in the Musa Qala district of Helmand, which ran contrary to the Taliban's extreme brand of Islam. Later, however, a provincial government official said that the 17 people killed were due to a fight between two Taliban commanders over two women (who were also killed). The civilians were either beheaded or had their throats cut, but some showed signs of gunshot wounds or beatings.
- The attacks were condemned by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who ordered an investigation into the attack, the leader of the NATO coalition led by the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union. However, the Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack, saying that no Taliban members have ever killed civilians.
- The attack occurred on the same day when two United States troops were killed by an Afghan soldier.
- 10 Afghan soldiers were killed by the Taliban, also in the Helmand province.
The Taliban insurgency continued into 2013.
As the American troops began to depart, and the number of Taliban attacks increased, there was speculation that the Taliban were waiting for an American withdrawal before launching a major offensive.
2015 saw the Taliban make various gains in Afghanistan in an attempt to fracture the fledgling Afghan government with successes not seen since NATO intervened in 2001. The Taliban has increased suicide attacks and has made multiple territorial gains across the country.
Beginning in April, the Taliban fought for the city of Kunduz in the northern Kunduz Province with them capturing the city by September. Afghan Armed Forces recaptured the city in October but local sources dispute this claim. The quick fall of the city resulted in calls by some government officials for President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to resign.
In December, the Taliban made more territorial gains by besieging Afghan forces in the cities of Lashkar Gah, Sangin and outlying towns in the Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan. By late December, most of Sangin was captured by the Taliban with local Afghan forces surrounded and forced to rely on airlifts for ammunition and food.
The gains made by the Taliban have hampered peace talks between them and the government and made rifts appear in the Taliban over negotiations. In response to the new offensives, it was reported that the United States would slow down their withdrawal of troops to help in counter-insurgency operations.
Find information on this subject in: War in Afghanistan (2015–present)#2016, like:
- 14 April: Taliban attacking Kunduz;
- 31 May: kidnapping a bus with 220 people, killing 10;
- 1 June storming a court in Ghazni, 5 dead Taliban and 5 dead others;
- June: Taliban have 25,000 fighters in Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan, according to US sources;
- 18 July attacking Qalai Zal, unsuccessfully;
- July: 20% of Afghanistan is in Taliban hands, said Time magazine;
- December: Taliban controls 10% of Afghanistan, said the US military.
Find information on this subject in: War in Afghanistan (2015–present)#2017
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