Order Code RL30588
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
Afghanistan is a fragile state that appears to be gradually stabilizing after more
than 22 years of warfare, including a U.S.-led war that brought the current
government to power. Successful presidential elections held on October 9, 2004 are
likely to accelerate stabilization and reconstruction. The report of the 9/11
Commission, as well as legislation passed in December 2004 that implements those
recommendations (S. 2845), recommends a long-term commitment to a secure and
stable Afghanistan; most of these Afghanistan-specific recommendations already
form a major part of the U.S. policy framework for Afghanistan.
Since the defeat of the Taliban, Afghanistan no longer serves as a safe base of
operations for Al Qaeda. Afghan citizens are enjoying new personal freedoms that
were forbidden under the Taliban, about 3 million Afghan refugees have returned,
and women have returned to schools, the workforce, and some participation in
politics. Political reconstruction is following the route laid out by major Afghan
factions and the international community during the U.S.-led war , although perhaps
more slowly than had been hoped. A loya jirga (traditional Afghan assembly)
adopted a new constitution on January 4, 2004. Presidential and parliamentary
elections were to be held by June 2004, but security concerns and factional infighting
caused presidential elections to be postponed until October 9, 2004, and
parliamentary elections to be put off until the spring of 2005. The presidential
elections were held amid high turnout and minimal violence, although some of the
challengers to interim president Hamid Karzai alleged widespread fraud. Interim
president Karzai was declared first round winner on November 3, 2004, his
opponents accepted that result, and he was inaugurated on December 7.
Remaining obstacles to stability include the continued local authority of militias
controlled by regional leaders and growing narcotics trafficking. U.S. stabilization
measures focus on strengthening the central government, which has been widely
viewed as weak and unable to control the many regional and factional leaders. The
United States and other countries are building an Afghan National Army; deploying
a multinational International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to patrol Kabul and
other cities; running regional enclaves to create secure conditions for reconstruction
(Provincial Reconstruction Teams, PRTs); and disarming militia fighters. U.S.-led
forces continue to combat a low level Taliban-led insurgency, and the insurgency
appears to have lost traction over the past year. To build security institutions and
foster reconstruction, the United States gave Afghanistan a total of about $1.9 billion
for FY2004, most of which was provided in a supplemental appropriation (P.L. 108106). Almost all U.S. and international sanctions imposed on Afghanistan prior to
and during Taliban rule have now been removed.
This paper will be updated as warranted by major developments. See also CRS
Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
Background to Recent Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Rise of The Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Clinton Administration Relations With the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Anti-Taliban Opposition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
General Dostam/Mazar-e-Sharif . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Hazara Shiites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Sayyaf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
September 11 Attacks and Operation Enduring Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Pashtuns Join the Battle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Post-War Stabilization Efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Political Reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
The Bonn Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
The 2002 “Emergency” Loya Jirga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
New Constitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
National Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Key Obstacles to the Transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Controlling Regionalism and Factionalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Combating Narcotics Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Accelerating Reconstruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Improving Human Rights Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Advancement of Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Post-War Security Operations and Force Capacity Building . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
International Security Force (ISAF)/NATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Afghan National Army (ANA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) . . . . . . . . . 28
Regional Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Central Asian States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Saudi Arabia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Residual Issues From Afghanistan’s Conflicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Stinger Retrieval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Mine Eradication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Providing Resources to the Afghan Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Post-Taliban/FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
FY2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Additional Forms of U.S. Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
World Bank/Asian Development Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
International Reconstruction Pledges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Domestically Generated Funds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Promoting Long Term Economic Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Lifting of U.S. and International Sanctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
List of Tables
Table 1. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan in FY1999-FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Table 2. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan, FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Table 3. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Table 5. Major Factions in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
Background to Recent Developments
Afghanistan became unstable in the 1970s as both its Communist Party and its
Islamic movement grew in strength and became increasingly bitter opponents of each
other.1 The instability shattered the relative peace and progress that characterized the
rule of King Mohammad Zahir Shah, who reigned during 1933 - 1973. Zahir Shah
was the last King in Afghanistan’s monarchy, which was founded in 1747 by Ahmad
Shah Durrani. Prior to the founding of the monarchy, Afghanistan did not exist as
a distinct political entity, but was a territory inhabited by tribes and tribal
confederations often linked to neighboring nations. Zahir Shah was the only
surviving son of King Mohammad Nadir Shah (1929-1933), whose rule followed
that of King Amanullah Khan (1919-1929). King Amanullah Khan launched attacks
on British forces in Afghanistan shortly after taking power and won complete
independence from Britain as recognized in the Treaty of Rawalpindi (August 8,
1919). He was considered a secular modernizer and who presided over a
government in which all ethnic minorities participated.
Zahir Shah is remembered fondly by many Afghans for promulgating a
constitution in 1964 that established a national legislature and promoting freedoms
for women, including freeing them from covering their face and hair. However,
possibly believing that doing so would enable him to limit Soviet support for
communist factions in Afghanistan, Zahir Shah also entered into a significant
political and arms purchase relationship with the Soviet Union.
While undergoing medical treatment in Italy, Zahir Shah was overthrown by his
cousin, Mohammad Daoud, a military leader. Daoud established a dictatorship
characterized by strong state control over the economy. After taking power in 1978
by overthrowing Daoud, the communists, first under Nur Mohammad Taraki and
then under Hafizullah Amin (leader of a rival communist faction who overthrew
Taraki in 1979), attempted to impose radical socialist change on a traditional society,
in part by redistributing land and bring more women into government positions.
These moves spurred recruitment for Islamic parties and their militias opposed to
communist ideology. The Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan on December
27, 1979 to prevent a seizure of power by the Islamic militias that became popularly
For more information, see CRS Report RL31759, Reconstruction Assistance in
Afghanistan: Goals, Priorities, and Issues for Congress.
known as “mujahedin”2 (Islamic fighters). Upon their invasion, the Soviets ousted
Hafizullah Amin and installed a local ally, Babrak Karmal, as Afghan president.
After the Soviets occupied Afghanistan, the U.S.-backed mujahedin fought them
effectively, and Soviet occupation forces were never able to pacify all areas of the
country. The Soviets held major cities, but the outlying mountainous regions
remained largely under mujahedin control. The mujahedin benefitted from U.S.
weapons and assistance, provided through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
working closely with Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence directorate (ISI). That
weaponry included man-portable shoulder-fired anti-aircraft systems called
“Stingers,” which proved highly effective against Soviet aircraft. The Islamic
guerrillas also hid and stored weaponry in a large network of natural and manmade
tunnels and caves throughout Afghanistan. The Soviet Union’s losses mounted, and
Soviet domestic opinion shifted against the war. In 1986, after the reformist Mikhail
Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union — and perhaps in an effort to signal
some flexibility on a possible political settlement — the Soviets replaced Babrak
Karmal with the more pliable director of Afghan intelligence, Najibullah Ahmedzai.
On April 14, 1988, Gorbachev agreed to a U.N.-brokered accord (the Geneva
Accords) requiring it to withdraw. The Soviet Union completed the withdrawal on
February 15, 1989, leaving in place a weak communist government facing a
determined U.S.-backed mujahedin. The United States closed its embassy in Kabul
in January 1989, as the Soviet Union was completing its pullout. A warming of
superpower relations moved the United States and Soviet Union to try for a political
settlement to the Afghan internal conflict. The failed August 1991 coup in the Soviet
Union, and its aftermath, reduced Moscow’s capability for supporting communist
regimes in the Third World, leading Moscow to agree with Washington on
September 13, 1991, to a joint cutoff of military aid to the Afghan combatants.
The State Department has said that a total of about $3 billion in economic and
covert military assistance was provided by the U.S. to the Afghan mujahedin from
1980 until the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1989. Press reports
and independent experts believe the covert aid program grew from about $20 million
per year in FY1980 to about $300 million per year during fiscal years 1986 - 1990.
Even before the 1991 U.S.-Soviet agreement on Afghanistan, the Soviet withdrawal
had decreased the strategic and political value of Afghanistan and made the
Administration and Congress less forthcoming with funding. For FY1991, Congress
reportedly cut covert aid appropriations to the mujahedin from $300 million the
previous year to $250 million, with half the aid withheld until the second half of the
fiscal year. Although the intelligence authorization bill was not signed until late
1991, Congress abided by the aid figures contained in the bill.3
The term refers to an Islamic guerrilla; literally “one who fights in the cause of Islam.”
See “Country Fact Sheet: Afghanistan,” in U.S. Department of State Dispatch. Volume
5, No. 23, June 6, 1994. Page 377.
Afghanistan at a Glance
28.5 million (July 2004 est.)
Pashtun 42%; Tajik 27%; Uzbek 9%; Hazara 9%; Aimak 4%;
Turkmen 3%; Baluch 2%; other 4%
Sunni Muslim 80%; Shiite Muslim 19%; other 1%
$20 billion (purchasing power parity)
$8 billion bilateral, plus $500 million multilateral
fruits, nuts, carpets, semi-precious gems, hides, opium
food, petroleum, capital goods, textiles
Source: CIA World Factbook, 2004.
With Soviet backing withdrawn, on March 18, 1992, President Najibullah
publicly agreed to step down once an interim government was formed. His
announcement set off a wave of rebellions primarily by Uzbek and Tajik militia
commanders who were nominally his allies, including by Uzbek commander Abdul
Rashid Dostam (see below). Joining with the defectors, prominent mujahedin
commander Ahmad Shah Masud (of the Islamic Society, a largely Tajik party headed
by Burhannudin Rabbani) sent his fighters into Kabul, paving the way for the
installation of a regime led by the mujahedin on April 18, 1992. Masud had earned
a reputation as a brilliant strategist by successfully preventing the Soviets from
occupying his power base in the Panjshir Valley of northeastern Afghanistan. After
failing to flee, Najibullah, his brother, and a few aides remained at a U.N. facility in
Kabul until the Taliban movement seized control in 1996 and hanged them.
The fall of Najibullah brought the mujahedin parties to power in Afghanistan
but also exposed the serious differences among them. The leader of one of the
smaller mujahedin parties, Islamic scholar Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, became president
for an initial two months (April - May 1992). Under an agreement among all the
major mujahedin parties, Burhannudin Rabbani became President in June 1992, with
the understanding that he would leave office in December 1994. He refused to step
down at the end of that time period, maintaining that political authority would
disintegrate in the absence of a clear successor, but the other parties accused him of
monopolizing power. His government subsequently faced daily shelling from
another mujahedin commander, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, who was nominally prime
minister but never formally took office. Hikmatyar headed a strongly fundamentalist
faction of Hizb-e-Islami (Islamic Party) and reportedly received a large proportion
of the U.S. covert aid during the war against the Soviet Union. Four years ( 19921996) of civil war among the mujahedin destroyed much of Kabul and created
popular support for the Taliban. (Hikmatyar was later ousted by the Taliban from his
powerbase around Jalalabad despite sharing the Taliban’s ideology and Pashtun
ethnicity, and he fled to Iran before returning to Afghanistan in early 2002. He is
now allied with Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants. )
The Rise of The Taliban 4
The Taliban movement was formed in 1993-1994 by Afghan Islamic clerics and
students, many of them former mujahedin who had become disillusioned with
continued internal conflict among mujahedin parties and who moved into the western
areas of Pakistan to study in Islamic seminaries (“madrassas”). They were mostly
ultra-orthodox Sunni Muslims who practice a form of Islam, “Wahhabism,” similar
to that practiced in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban was composed overwhelmingly of
ethnic Pashtuns (Pathans) from rural areas of Afghanistan. Pashtuns constitute a
plurality in Afghanistan, accounting for about 42% of Afghanistan’s population of
about 28 million. Taliban members viewed the Rabbani government as corrupt,
responsible for continued civil war and the deterioration of security in the major
cities, and discriminating against Pashtuns. With the help of defections by
sympathetic mujahedin fighters, the Taliban seized control of the southeastern city
of Qandahar in November 1994, and continued to gather strength. By February 1995,
it had reached the gates of Kabul, after which an 18-month stalemate around the
capital ensued. In September 1995, the Taliban captured Herat province, on the
border with Iran, and expelled the governor of the province, Ismail Khan. In
September 1996, a string of Taliban victories near Kabul led to the withdrawal of the
Rabbani government to the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul with most of its heavy
weapons; the Taliban took control of Kabul on September 27, 1996.
The Taliban was led by Mullah (Sunni Muslim cleric) Muhammad Umar, who
fought in the anti-Soviet war under the banner of the Hizb-e-Islam (Islamic Party)
mujahedin party of Yunis Khalis. He lost an eye in that war. During Taliban rule,
Umar held the title of Head of State and Commander of the Faithful, but he remained
in his power base of Qandahar, rarely appeared in public, and did not take an active
role in day-to-day governance. However, in times of crisis or to discuss pressing
issues, he summoned Taliban leaders to meet with him in Qandahar. Considered a
hardliner, Umar forged a close personal bond with bin Laden and was adamantly
opposed to meeting U.S. demands to hand him over. Born in Uruzgan province,
Umar, who is about 57 years old, fled Qandahar city when the Taliban surrendered
it on December 9, 2001. He is still at large and reportedly continues to meet with
Taliban insurgent commanders, although some of his aides have been captured.
(Two top aides were captured by U.S. forces on December 14, 2004.)
After 1997, the Taliban lost international and domestic support as it imposed
strict adherence to Islamic customs in areas it controlled and employed harsh
punishments, including executions. The Taliban made extensive use of its Ministry
for the Promotion of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice, a force of religious police
officers that often used physical punishments to enforce Islamic practices, as well as
a ban on television, popular music, and dancing. The Taliban prohibited women
from attending school or working outside the home, except in health care, and it
conducted some public executions of women for various transgressions.
For an in-depth study of the Taliban and its rule, see Rashid, Ahmad. Taliban: Militant
Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Yale University Press, 2000.
During the Taliban period, several U.N. Security Council resolutions, including
1193 (August 28, 1998) and 1214 (December 8, 1998), urged the Taliban to end
discrimination against women. During a November 1997 visit to Pakistan, then
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attacked Taliban policies as despicable and
intolerable. U.S. women’s rights groups, including the Feminist Majority and the
National Organization for Women (NOW), mobilized to stop the Clinton
Administration from recognizing the Taliban government. On May 5, 1999, the
Senate passed S.Res. 68, a resolution calling on the President not to recognize any
Afghan government that discriminates against women.
In what most observers considered an extreme action, in March 2001 the
Taliban ordered the destruction of two large Buddha statues in the hills above
Bamiyan city; the statues dated to the seventh century. Some experts believe the
move was a reaction to U.N. sanctions imposed in December 2000 (see below), and
it provoked widespread condemnation of the Taliban, even among other Islamic
states, including Pakistan.
Clinton Administration Relations With the Taliban. The Clinton
Administration diplomatically engaged the Taliban movement as it was gathering
strength, but U.S. relations with the Taliban deteriorated sharply during the five years
that the Taliban were in power in Kabul, to the point where the United States and the
Taliban were de-facto adversaries well before the September 11, 2001 attacks. The
United States withheld recognition of Taliban as the legitimate government of
Afghanistan, formally recognizing no faction as the government. Because of the
lack of broad international recognition of Taliban, the United Nations seated
representatives of the Rabbani government, not the Taliban. The State Department
ordered the Afghan embassy in Washington, D.C., closed in August 1997 because
of a power struggle that embassy. Despite the deterioration, Clinton Administration
officials met periodically with Taliban officials to stress U.S. concerns.
Well before the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Taliban’s alliance with Al
Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had become the Clinton Administration’s overriding
bilateral agenda item with Afghanistan.5 After the August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda
bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Clinton Administration
placed progressively more pressure on the Taliban to extradite bin Laden, adding
sanctions, some military action, reported covert intelligence operations, and the threat
of further punishments to ongoing diplomatic efforts. Clinton Administration
officials say that they did not take major action to oust the Taliban from power, either
through direct U.S. military action or by providing military aid to Taliban opponents
in Afghanistan, because domestic U.S. support for those steps was lacking at that
For more information on bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization, see CRS Report
RL31119, Terrorism: Near Eastern Groups and State Sponsors, 2001, September 10, 2001.
See also CRS Report RS20411, Afghanistan: Connections to Islamic Movements in Central
and South Asia and Southern Russia.
During an April 1998 visit to Afghanistan, U.S. Ambassador to the
United Nations Bill Richardson asked the Taliban to hand bin Laden
over to U.S. authorities, but he was rebuffed.
On August 20, 1998, the United States fired cruise missiles at
alleged bin Laden-controlled terrorist training camps in retaliation
for the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
On July 4, 1999, because of the Taliban’s hosting of bin Laden,
President Clinton issued Executive Order 13129, imposing a ban on
U.S. trade with Taliban-controlled portions of Afghanistan and
blocking Taliban assets in U.S. financial institutions. Afghanistan
was not named a state sponsor of terrorism on the grounds that doing
so would have implied recognition of the Taliban as the government.
On October 15, 1999, with Russian support, the United States
achieved adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267, which
banned flights outside Afghanistan by Ariana airlines, and directed
U.N. member states to freeze Taliban assets.
On December 19, 2000, the United States and Russia achieved U.N.
Security Council adoption of Resolution 1333, a follow-on to
Resolution 1267 . The resolution included a prohibition against the
provision of arms or military advice to the Taliban (directed against
Pakistan); a reduction of Taliban diplomatic representation abroad;
and a ban on foreign travel by senior Taliban officials. On July 30,
2001, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1363, providing for
the stationing of monitors in Pakistan to ensure that no weapons or
military advice was being provided to the Taliban. (In the aftermath
of the Taliban’s ouster from power, these provisions were narrowed
to focus on Al Qaeda, and not the Taliban, by U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1390 of January 17, 2002.)
The Anti-Taliban Opposition
The Taliban’s imposition of puritanical Islamic rule, and its alliance with bin
Laden, not only alienated the United States but caused other Afghan power centers
to make common cause with the ousted President Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masud.
These groups coalesced into a “Northern Alliance” shortly after Kabul fell to the
Taliban. The Tajik core of the Alliance was located not only in the Panjshir Valley
of the northeast but also in western Afghanistan near the Iranian border. Those in the
west were led by Ismail Khan (who regained the governorship of his former
stronghold in and around Herat after the Taliban collapse). Prior to the September
11, 2001 attacks, the Clinton and Bush Administrations did not judge the Northern
Alliance sufficiently capable or compatible with U.S. values to merit U.S. military
assistance. Various components of the Alliance other than the previously-discussed
Islamic Society/Tajik core of the grouping are analyzed below.
General Dostam/Mazar-e-Sharif. One non-Tajik component of the
Alliance was the Uzbek militia (the Junbush-Melli, or National Islamic Movement
of Afghanistan) of General Abdul Rashid Dostam. Uzbeks constitute about 9% of
the population, compared with 27% that are Tajik. Dostam, best known for his 1992
break with Najibullah that led to Najibullah’s overthrow that year, subsequently
fought against Rabbani during 1992-1995 in an effort to persuade him to yield power,
but joined the Northern Alliance after the Taliban took power. Dostam once
commanded about 25,000 troops, significant amounts of armor and combat aircraft,
and even some Scud missiles, but infighting within his faction left him unable to hold
off Taliban forces. The Taliban captured Dostam’s region in August 1998, leaving
him in control of only small areas near the border with Uzbekistan.
During the 2001 U.S.-led war against the Taliban, Dostam, in concert with a
Tajik commander Atta Mohammad and a Shiite Hazara commander Mohammad
Mohaqiq, recaptured the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif from the Taliban. There
were subsequently tensions between Dostam and Atta, often resulting in minor
clashes, most recently in October 2003, in which both sides reportedly used heavy
weaponry such as tanks. Largely because of the tensions, Dostam is said to be
surrendering his heavy weaponry to central government/international forces slowly
and grudgingly, reportedly handing in only older, barely functional equipment.
Dostam is concerned that he and his Uzbek constituents could be vulnerable if he
handed in his best weaponry while rival factions remain armed or able to call in
nearby allies. (Both Dostam and Mohaqiq were candidates for president in the
October 9, 2004, elections.) In part to ease factional tensions, in July 2004, President
Hamid Karzai appointed Atta governor of Balkh province to curb his role as militia
Hazara Shiites. Shiite Muslim parties composed mainly of members of
Hazara tribes were generally less active against the Soviet occupation than were the
Sunni parties. The Shiites, who are prominent in central Afghanistan, particularly
Bamiyan Province, were part of the Northern Alliance as well. The main Shiite
Muslim party is Hizb-e-Wahdat (Unity Party, an alliance of eight Hazara tribe Shiite
Muslim groups), which joined Rabbani’s 1992-1996 government. Hizb-e-Wahdat
has traditionally received some material support from Iran, whose population
practices Shiite Islam. Hizb-e-Wahdat forces occasionally retook Bamiyan city from
the Taliban, but they did not hold it until the Taliban collapsed in November 2001.
The most well known Hazara political leader is Karim Khalili, leader of a large
faction of Hizb-e-Wahdat; he was one of President Hamid Karzai’s vice presidential
running mates in the presidential election. As discussed above, another prominent
Hazara leader is Mohammad Mohaqiq.
Sayyaf. Another mujahedin party leader, Abd-i-Rab Rasul Sayyaf, heads a
Pashtun-dominated faction called the Islamic Union for the Liberation of
Afghanistan. Sayyaf lived many years in and is politically close to Saudi Arabia,
which shares his orthodox interpretation of Sunni Islam (“Wahhabism”). During the
U.S.-backed war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Sayyaf’s faction of
mujahedin, along with those of Hikmatyar, were the principal recipients of U.S.supplied weaponry. Both Sayyaf and Hikmatyar criticized the U.S.-led war against
Saddam Hussein after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The Wahhabism of Sayyaf’s
movement was shared by the Taliban, which partly explains why many of Sayyaf’s
fighters defected to the Taliban movement during its ascendancy. Despite the
ideological similarity with the Taliban, Sayyaf joined the Northern Alliance against
the Taliban. Sayyaf is reputed to want to exercise major influence over the judiciary
in the post-presidential election government, although many Afghans believe his
Islamic orthodoxy would slow modernization of the judiciary and hinder an
expansion of Western-style freedoms.
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001
Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bush Administration policy did not
much differ from Clinton Administration policy – applying pressure short of military
action against the Taliban, while retaining some dialogue with it. The Bush
Administration did not arm or fund the Northern Alliance prior to the September 11
attacks, although the Administration did step up engagement with Pakistan in an
effort to persuade Pakistan to curtail support for the Taliban. In compliance with
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1333, in February 2001 the State Department
ordered the closing of a Taliban representative office in New York. The Taliban
complied with the directive, but its representative continued to operate informally.
In March 2001, Bush Administration officials received a Taliban envoy, foreign
ministry aide Rahmatullah Hashemi, to discuss bilateral issues. The contacts did not
yield progress on obtaining extradition of bin Laden, and press reports in May 2002
said the Bush Administration was considering, prior to the September 11 attacks,
plans to destabilize the Taliban.6 As did the executive branch, Congress became
increasingly critical of the Taliban. A sense of the Senate resolution (S.Res. 275) that
resolving the Afghan civil war should be a top U.S. priority passed by unanimous
consent on September 24, 1996. A similar resolution, H.Con.Res. 218, passed the
House on April 28, 1998.
Fighting without U.S. or major international support, the political rivalries
within the Northern Alliance hindered its ability to shake the Taliban’s grip on
power. After losing Kabul in 1996, the Northern Alliance steadily lost additional
ground, even in areas populated by friendly ethnic minorities. By the time of the
September 11, 2001 attacks, the Taliban controlled at least 75% of the country and
almost all major provincial capitals. The Northern Alliance suffered a major setback
on September 9, 2001, two days before the September 11 attacks, when Ahmad Shah
Masud was assassinated by suicide bombers posing as journalists, allegedly linked
to Al Qaeda. His successor was his intelligence chief, Muhammad Fahim, who is
a veteran figure but who lacked Masud’s authority.
September 11 Attacks and Operation Enduring Freedom
After the September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration decided to militarily
overthrow the Taliban regime when it refused a U.S. demand to extradite bin Laden,
who the Administration cited as prime author of the attacks. The Bush
Administration decided that a friendly regime in Kabul was needed to create the
conditions under which U.S. forces could eliminate Al Qaeda activists from
Afghanistan and thereby deny that organization a base of operations. The U.S.-led
war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF).
Drogin, Bob. U.S. Had Plan for Covert Afghan Options Before 9/11. Los Angeles Times,
May 18, 2002.
OEF consisted primarily of U.S. airstrikes on Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, coupled
with targeting by relatively small numbers (about one thousand) of U.S. special
operations forces, to facilitate military offensives by the Northern Alliance and
Pashtun anti-Taliban forces. Some U.S. ground units (about 1,300 Marines) moved
into Afghanistan in December 2001 to pressure the Taliban around Qandahar at the
height of the fighting, but there were few pitched battles between U.S. and Taliban
soldiers. Most of the ground combat was between Taliban units and Afghan
opposition militiamen. Some critics believe that U.S. dependence on the use of local
Afghan militia forces to oust the Taliban strengthened the militias’ subsequent
assertions of independence from Kabul’s authority.
Legislation supported the decision to oust the Taliban. One bill, H.R. 3088,
stated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Taliban from
power. That bill, as well as another bill (H.R. 2998, introduced October 2, 2001),
established a “Radio Free Afghanistan” broadcasting service under RFE/RL. On
February 12, 2002, the House passed the Senate version of H.R. 2998 providing $17
million funding for the radio broadcasts for FY2002. President Bush signed it on
March 11, 2002 (P.L. 107-148).
Pashtuns Join the Battle. During OEF, Taliban control of the north
collapsed first – Mazar-e-Sharif fell to Dostam on November 9, 2001. The Northern
Alliance forces commanded by Mohammad Fahim — who had initially promised
U.S. officials his forces would not enter the city itself but then abrogated that pledge
— captured Kabul three days later. The Taliban collapse in the north was followed
by its loss of control of southern and eastern Afghanistan to pro-U.S. Pashtun
commanders, such as Hamid Karzai. Karzai had entered Afghanistan just after the
September 11 attacks to organize Pashtun resistance to the Taliban, supported in that
effort by U.S. special forces. He became central to U.S. efforts to oust the Taliban
from Pashtun areas after another Pashtun leader, Abdul Haq, entered Afghanistan in
October 2001 — without coordination with or support from U.S. forces — but was
captured and killed by the Taliban. Groups of other Pashtun commanders took
control of cities and provinces in the east and south.
Major U.S. combat operations continued after the fall of the Taliban. The
United States and its Afghan allies conducted “Operation Anaconda” in the Shah-iKot Valley south of Gardez during March 2 - 19, 2002, to eliminate a pocket of as
many as 800 Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. In late March 2003, about 1,000 U.S.
troops launched a raid on suspected Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters in villages around
Qandahar. On May 1, 2003, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Afghan president
Karzai declared major OEF combat operations ended. However, smaller OEF
operations against Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants have continued (see below).
Post-War Stabilization Efforts7
The war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban paved the way for the success of a
longstanding U.N. effort to form a broad-based Afghan government. The
government of Hamid Karzai has held together at the national level, but tensions
exist among factions of the national government and between the central government
and some regional leaders. Some argue that, in many respects, “center-periphery”
tension has existed throughout Afghan history. An insurgency by Taliban, Al
Qaeda, and other Islamic militants persists, although it appears to lack traction and
popular support and failed to conduct any major attacks on presidential election day
(October 9). However, narcotics trafficking appears to be a growing threat to Afghan
stability, as identified by Afghan, U.S., and U.N. officials.
For the eight years prior to the U.S.-led war, the United States worked primarily
through the United Nations to end the Afghan civil conflict. The United Nations was
viewed as a credible mediator by all sides largely because of its role in ending the
Soviet occupation. Some observers criticized U.S. policy as being insufficiently
engaged to bring about a settlement. After the fall of Najibullah in 1992, a
succession of U.N. mediators — former Tunisian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Mestiri
(March 1994-July 1996); German diplomat Norbert Holl (July 1996-December
1997); Algeria’s former Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi (August 1997-October
1999) and Spanish diplomat Fransesc Vendrell (October 1999- September 2001) —
sought to form a broad-based government. The proposals incorporated many ideas
of former King Zahir Shah, calling for a government to be chosen through a
traditional assembly, the loya jirga. The U.N. efforts, at times, appeared to make
progress, but ceasefires between the warring factions always broke down. Brahimi
suspended his efforts in October 1999.
In coordination with direct U.N. mediation efforts, a “Six Plus Two” contact
group began meeting in early 1997; the group consisted of the United States, Russia,
and the six states bordering Afghanistan: Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. The group was created following informal meetings of
some of the key outside parties, in which these countries, including the United States,
agreed not to arm the warring factions. (In June 1996, the Administration formally
imposed a ban on U.S. sales of arms to all factions in Afghanistan, a policy that had
been already in place less formally.8) In 2000, a “Geneva group” on Afghanistan
began meeting: Italy, Germany, Iran, and the United States. Another mediation
effort existed within the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
The United States also supported non-governmental initiatives coming from
individual Afghans, including Karzai’s clan. One initiative, the Intra Afghan
Dialogue, consisted of former mujahedin commanders and clan leaders, and held
meetings during 1997 and 1998 in Bonn, Frankfurt, Istanbul, and Ankara. Another
Some of the information in the following sections was gathered during a visit by CRS staff
to Afghanistan in January 2004. For an analysis of U.S. reconstruction initiatives in
Afghanistan, with a focus primarily on economic reconstruction, see U.S. General
Accounting Office, GAO-04-403. Afghanistan Reconstruction. June 2004.
Federal Register, Volume 61, No. 125, June 27, 1996. Page 33313.
group, based on the participation of former King Zahir Shah, was centered in Rome
(“Rome Grouping”), where the former King lived. A third grouping, calling itself
the “Cyprus Process,” consisted of other Afghan exiles.
The post-Taliban transition is proceeding steadily, although perhaps less
consistently and less quickly than had been hoped. The September 11 attacks and the
start of U.S. military action against the Taliban injected new urgency into the search
for a government that might replace the Taliban. In late September 2001, Brahimi
was brought back as the U.N. representative. On November 14, 2001, the U.N.
Security Council adopted Resolution 1378, calling for a “central” U.N. role in
establishing a transitional administration and inviting member states to send
peacekeeping forces to promote stability and secure the delivery of aid.
The Bonn Conference. In late November 2001, after Kabul had fallen,
delegates of the major Afghan factions — most prominently the Northern Alliance
and that of the former King — gathered in Bonn, Germany, at the invitation of the
United Nations. The Taliban was not invited. On December 5, 2001, the factions
signed an agreement to form a 30-member interim administration to govern until the
holding in June 2002 of a loya jirga, to be opened by the former King. The loya
jirga would then choose a new government to run Afghanistan until a new
constitution is approved and national elections held six months later in June 2004.
According to Bonn, the government would operate under the constitution of 1964
until a new constitution was adopted. (The last loya jirga that was widely recognized
as legitimate was held in 1964 to ratify a constitution. Najibullah convened a loya
jirga in 1987 to approve pro-Moscow policies; that gathering was widely viewed by
Afghans as illegitimate.)
The Bonn agreement provided for an international peace keeping force to
maintain security, at least in Kabul, and Northern Alliance forces were to withdraw
from Kabul. The Bonn agreement was endorsed by U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1385 (December 6, 2001), and the international peacekeeping force was
authorized by Security Council Resolution 1386, adopted December 20, 2001. (Text
is available online at [http://www.runiceurope.org/german/frieden/afghanistan/talks/
At the Bonn conference, Hamid Karzai was selected chairman of an interim
administration, which governed from December 22, 2001 until the June 2002
“emergency” loya jirga. Karzai presided over a cabinet in which a slight majority
(17 out of 30) of the positions were held by the Northern Alliance, with this block
holding the key posts of Defense (Fahim), Foreign Affairs (Dr. Abdullah Abdullah),
and Interior (Yunus Qanooni). The three are ethnic Tajiks, with the exception of Dr.
Abdullah (half Tajik and half Pashtun); all are in their late 40s, and were close aides
to Ahmad Shah Masud.
Hamid Karzai. Karzai, who is about 50 years old, is leader of the powerful
Popolzai tribe of Durrani Pashtuns; he became tribal leader when his father was
assassinated, allegedly by Taliban agents, in Quetta, Pakistan in 1999. Karzai, who
had attended university in India, had been deputy foreign minister in Rabbani’s
government during 1992-1995. In 1995, he supported the Taliban as a Pashtun
alternative to Rabbani, but he broke with the Taliban as its excesses unfolded.
During 1997-2001, Karzai and his family, which includes several brothers, some of
whom lived in the United States, had been active in intra-Afghan dialogues intended
to broker a peaceful transition of power. Prior to the September 11 attacks, he and
his clan had reached out to the Northern Alliance in a broad anti-Taliban alliance.
He is viewed as a leader who seeks factional compromise rather than by intimidating
his opponents with the use of armed force.
The 2002 “Emergency” Loya Jirga. In preparation for the 2002
“emergency” loya jirga, the former King returned to Afghanistan on April 18, 2002.
By the time of the meeting, 381 districts of Afghanistan had chosen the 1,550
delegates to it, of which about 200 were women. At the loya jirga, which began
June 11, 2002, the former King and Rabbani, withdrew from leadership candidacy
and the assembly selected Karzai to continue to lead until planned June 2004
national elections. On its last day (June 19, 2002), the assembly approved a new
cabinet, which included three vice presidents and several “presidential advisors,” in
an effort to balance the ethnic and factional composition of the government and rein
in regional strongmen. Northern Alliance military leader Fahim remained as
Defense Minister and acquired the additional title of a vice president. The loya jirga
did not establish a parliament.
New Constitution. After the close of the 2002 emergency loya jirga, the
Afghan government began drafting a permanent constitution. A 35-member
constitutional commission, appointed in October 2002, presented a draft to Karzai
in March 2003, but it was not publicly unveiled until November 2003. It was
debated by 502 delegates, selected in U.N.-run caucuses, at a “constitutional loya
jirga (CLJ)” during December 13, 2003 until January 4, 2004. The CLJ was chaired
by Sibghatullah Mojadeddi (see above). The CLJ ended with approval of the
constitution with only minor changes from the draft. Most significantly, members
of the Northern Alliance factions and their allies did not succeed in measurably
limiting the power of the presidency in the final draft.
Karzai’s critics at the CLJ, mainly Northern Alliance members, objected to the
draft’s establishment of a governmental structure with a strong elected presidency.
An early plan to set up a prime minister-ship had not been included in the draft out
of broad concerns that a prime minister might emerge as a rival to the presidency9 —
Northern Alliance supporters had wanted that post as a check on presidential power.
As an alternative, the critics sought to strengthen the powers of an elected
parliament, 10 and, at the CLJ, some additional powers were given to the parliament,
such as veto power over senior official nominees. However, some experts believe
Constable, Pamela. “Afghan Constitution Seeks Balance.” Washington Post, September
Information on the contents of the draft constitution are derived from a variety of
November 3, 2003, wire service reports, including Reuters and Associated Press, which are
based on an English translation of the draft provided to journalists by the Afghan
that setting up a strong presidency places undue weight on Karzai’s incumbency and
self-restraint. The new constitution:
sets up a two-chamber parliament, to be elected at the same time, if
possible, as presidential elections.
It gives the president the ability to appoint one-third of the seats for
the upper chamber (Meshrano Jirga, House of Elders); another one
third are selected by provincial councils, and a final one-third are
selected by district councils. Of those appointed by the president,
50% are to be women, meaning that women get at least 16.5% of the
total seats in the body (half of the president’s one-third block of
The lower house (Wolesi Jirga, House of People), to consist of 249
seats, is to be fully elected. Of those, at least 68 of those elected (2
per province x 34 provinces) “should” be women. That would give
women about 25% of the seats in this body. The goal is expected to
be met through election rules that mandate that the top two women
vote getters in each province win election. The CLJ added a
provision to the final constitution that recognizes women as equal
The constitution prevents the president from disbanding the
parliament and gives parliament the ability to impeach a president.
Two vice presidents run on the same election ticket as the president
and one succeeds him in the event of the president’s death. They
serve a five-year term, and presidents are limited to two terms.
The document allows political parties to be established as long as
their charters “do not contradict the principles of Islam” and they do
not have affiliations with other countries. The constitution
designates former King Zahir Shah as ceremonial “father of the
nation,” a designation that cannot be passed on to his sons.
The constitution does not impose Sharia (Islamic law), but it does
attempt to satisfy Afghanistan’s conservative clerics by stipulating
that laws shall not contradict “the beliefs and provisions” of Islam.
Protections for minorities are also written into the constitution, and
Uzbeks and Turkmens received rights for their language to be
official languages in their regions, provisions not contained in the
draft. This represented an apparent victory for Afghanistan’s
minorities; the Pashtun leaders had wanted the final constitution to
designate Pashto as the sole official language.
Some CLJ delegates, including some female delegates (who were about 20% of
the total delegates), said the draft constitution did not provide sufficient protections
for human rights and women’s rights and that it placed the freedoms of Afghans in
the hands of judges educated in Islamic law, rather than civil law. 11
National Elections. After the constitution was adopted, the focus of political
reconstruction turned to presidential and parliamentary elections. Karzai sought
timely national elections to validate his leadership and prevent charges that he seeks
to monopolize power. His critics wanted simultaneous parliamentary elections so
that a parliament can serve as a check on presidential authority, but parliamentary
elections are considered more difficult than presidential elections because of the need
to establish political parties and election district boundaries, and the more
complicated nature of the ballots needed. After a postponement from June 2004, the
presidential elections were set for and held on October 9, 2004.
The voting was orderly and turnout heavy (about 8.2 million votes cast out of
10.5 million registered voters. On November 3, 2004, Karzai was declared winner
(55.4% of the vote) over his seventeen challengers on the first round, avoiding a
runoff. His challengers accepted the result, although some believe there was
substantial fraud. He was inaugurated on December 7, 2004, with Vice President
Cheney in attendance. He is expected to soon name a new cabinet, which some
expect might contain many of the same faces and factions as have characterized the
post-Taliban government to date, although some believe he will name mostly reformminded ministers regardless of their ethnicities and factional allegiances
Parliamentary elections are to be scheduled in spring 2005, although some believe
they might be postponed until September 2005. As of November 2004, 70 political
parties were registered with the Justice Ministry. For information on the elections,
see CRS Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
Key Obstacles to the Transition
Although Afghanistan’s political transition has passed a key milestone with the
presidential elections, the Afghan government continues to face substantial hurdles.
The major difficulties complicating the transition are discussed below.
Controlling Regionalism and Factionalism. The Bush Administration
says that the Kabul government is slowly expanding its authority and its capabilities,
and curbing regional leaders who sometimes act outside government control. In an
indication of the scope of the problem, on July 11, 2004, Karzai cited regional and
factional militias as the key threat to Afghan stability — greater than the continuing
Taliban attacks. In his first post-election speech on November 4, 2004, Karzai said
he would work to continue curbing militias. Although Karzai has moved against
some regional leaders in the past year, several continue to exercise substantial power ,
and a number of reports say that the Afghan population greatly resents the arbitrary
implementation of justice and corruption in areas controlled by regional leaders. On
the other hand, some ethnic minorities look to the regional leaders to defend their
interests. Others note that the local militias did not exert a material effect on the
October 9 presidential vote.
Bansal, Preeta and Felice D. Gaer. “Silenced Again in Kabul.” New York Times, October
Some critics attribute the continued strength of the regional leaders to early U.S.
policies to work with regional militias to combat Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants,
strengthening these local leaders in the process. Others believe that easily obtained
arms and manpower, funded by narcotics trafficking profits, help to sustain the
independence of local factions and militias.
Karzai began curbing local leaders in November 2002 when he announced the
replacement of some provincial officials with those more loyal to the central
government. In August 2003 Karzai replaced Qandahar’s Gul Agha Shirzai with the
more pro-Kabul Yusuf Pashtun. As noted above, in July 2004 he removed Atta
Mohammad from control of a militia in the Mazar-e-Sharif area and moved two other
militia leaders, Hazrat Ali (Jalalabad area) and Khan Mohammad (Qandahar area)
into civilian police chief posts. He took advantage of factional fighting in August
2004 in Herat to remove a powerful governor of that province, Ismail Khan, in
September 2004 and replace him with a loyalist. Khan subsequently allowed
disarmament of his militia there. Some press reports say Khan might be willing to
join a post-presidential election Kabul government.
On the other hand, several regional leaders remain powerful. Dostam has
occasionally seized additional territory in his redoubt in northern Afghanistan, and
his strong showing among his Uzbek constituency in the presidential elections might
complicate efforts to curb his authority. Dostam has consistently resisted Karzai’s
efforts to persuade him to take a government post in Kabul. A related U.S. concern
is centered on Defense Minister Fahim, the Northern Alliance’s military chief .
Fahim has not withdrawn Northern Alliance (mostly Tajik) forces from Kabul,
giving Fahim some independent authority. Over the past two weeks, U.S. officials
have had only mixed success persuading Fahim to pull the forces he controls out of
Kabul, as required in the Bonn agreement, with the ultimate goal to incorporate these
forces into the ANA.
As discussed further under “security issues” below, the United States is
attempting to strengthen the central government so that it can more easily displace
and curb regional leaders. U.S. intelligence is advising the National Security
Directorate to help it build its capabilities to monitor threats to the new government,
including those posed by regional militias. 12 Part of the U.S. and Afghan strategy is
to build democratic traditions at the local level as a means of curbing the power of
local commanders. The Afghan government’s “National Solidarity Program” seeks
to create local governing councils and empower these councils to make decisions
about local reconstruction priorities. Elections to these local councils have been held
in several provinces, and almost 40% of those elected to them have been women. 13
The United States is providing advice to the new government. Zalmay
Khalilzad, an American of Afghan origin who was President Bush’s envoy to
Afghanistan, became ambassador in December 2003, and he reportedly has
Kaufman, Marc. “U.S. Role Shifts as Afghanistan Founders.” Washington Post, April
Khalilzad, Zalmay (U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan). “Democracy Bubbles Up.” Wall
Street Journal, March 25, 2004.
significant influence on Afghan government decisions. 14 The U.S. embassy is
expanding its facilities to accommodate additional staff going to help accelerate the
reconstruction process, and it is improving its physical security capabilities. The
conference report on the FY2004 supplemental appropriation (P.L. 108-106)
provided $44 million for improvements to the embassy. The Afghan government has
reopened the Afghan embassy in Washington; the ambassador is Seyed Jalal
Tawwab, formerly a Karzai aide.
As part of the U.S. push to speed reconstruction in advance of the 2004 Afghan
elections, the Administration has assigned 14 U.S. officials (fewer than the 20 that
were planned) full- or part-time to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (Afghan
Reconstruction Group, ARG) to serve as advisors to the Ambassador.15 On the other
hand, a seven page internal Administration memo, written by an unnamed former
U.S. official who worked in Afghanistan, is reported to say that the U.S. Embassy
remains understaffed, in general, and lacks enough staff with Afghan language
ability.16 According to the memo, relief organizations in Afghanistan have been
ineffective in protecting their personnel from insurgent attacks and recommend that
U.S. forces in Afghanistan take on more responsibility for reconstruction security, in
addition to their ongoing combat against the Taliban-led insurgency. The 9/11
Commission report appears to echo some of these criticisms; the report says the State
Department presence in Afghanistan is “woefully understaffed.”
Combating Narcotics Trafficking. Another major problem facing the
Karzai government is the growing influence of narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan’s
economy and its politics. The December 5, 2001, Bonn agreement mentions the need
for a post-Taliban Afghanistan government to prevent Afghanistan’s re-emergence
as a haven for drug cultivation. Karzai highlighted his commitment to tackling this
problem in his November 4, 2004 election victory speech, and, at a Kabul conference
on the issue two days after his December 7, 2004 inauguration, he called on Afghans
to join a “jihad” against the opium trade. On December 12, 2004, he pledged to
destroy Afghanistan’s poppy fields within two years. (For a detailed discussion of the
narcotics trafficking issue, including U.S. funding to combat this problem in
Afghanistan, see CRS Report RL32686, Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy. )
U.S. officials in Afghanistan say they are increasingly nervous that Afghanistan
could emerge as a “narco-state” and that about $2.3 billion — half of Afghanistan’s
GDP — is generated by narcotics trafficking. Several reports and observers say that
narcotics trafficking is funding Taliban insurgents and their allies in Afghanistan,
There are widespread fears that local leaders might use narcotics profits to fund their
campaigns for the parliament in spring 2005 or to bribe government officials or, in
any number of ways, undermine democracy. On the other hand, the traffickers do not
appear to have formed cartels or strong organizations, and it is not clear that those
Waldman, Amy. In Afghanistan, U.S. Envoy Sits In Seat of Power. New York Times,
April 17, 2004.
Rohde, David. U.S. Said to Plan Bigger Afghan Effort, Stepping Up Aid. New York
Times, August 25, 2003.
This section is taken from, Scarborough, Rowan. “Afghanistan Reconstruction Faces
‘Increasing Threat.’” Washington Times, August 2, 2004.
involved in narcotics in Afghanistan are necessarily adversaries of Karzai or of the
government, or have any independent political objectives.
The dimensions of the problem appear to be growing. According to the 2004
Opium Survey conducted by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the
Afghan Counternarcotics Directorate, published November 2004, the opium crop was
close to 4,200 metric tons for 2004, a 17% increase from 2003 and keeping
Afghanistan as the leading producer of opium crop. 17 Cultivation took place on
131,000 hectares of land for 2004, an increase of 64% from the 80,000 hectares of
land used for opium production in 2003 . The growing problem was also reportedly
highlighted in a briefing for senior U.S. officials by the top U.S. commander in
Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. David Barno. 18
In January 2002, the Karzai government banned poppy cultivation, although it
has had difficulty enforcing the ban due to resource limitations and opposition from
Afghan farmers who see few alternatives. Afghan government officials say that
narcotics cultivation will diminish when there is a vibrant alternate economy that
provides other terms of livelihood to Afghans. As of now, Britain has been the lead
coalition partner in reducing narcotics production and trafficking , and it raided some
drug processing labs. In January 2004, as it had in January 2003, the Bush
Administration again determined that Afghanistan was a major drug transit or illicit
drug producing country. However, the Administration did not include Afghanistan
in the list of countries that had “failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts”
during the past 12 months to adhere to international counter-narcotics agreements and
take certain counter-narcotics measures set forth in U.S. law. Therefore, no sanctions
against Afghanistan were triggered. (This is equivalent to the listing by the United
States, as Afghanistan has been listed every year since 1987, as a state that is
uncooperative with U.S. efforts to eliminate drug trafficking or has failed to take
sufficient steps on its own to curb trafficking.)
In May 2004, the United States began funding a separate program to work with
Afghan government officials to destroy poppy fields themselves. The program has
been working in the provinces of Wardak and Nangahar. However, some Bush
Administration officials have called on the U.S. military to play a greater role in
attacking traffickers and their installations, a mission the U.S. military reportedly has
been reluctant to perform on the grounds that it would expand the U.S. military
mission in Afghanistan. 19 During his mid-August 2004 visit to Kabul, Secretary of
Defense Rumsfeld said that the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan is considering new
options to combat the drug trade there, possibly involving U.S. military action against
Tohid, Owais. Bumper Year for Afghan Poppies. Christian Science Monitor, July 24,
Schmitt, Eric. Afghans’ Gains Face Big Threat in Drug Traffic. New York Times,
December 11, 2004.
Zoroya, Greg. Military Urged to Hit Afghan Drug Traffic. USA Today, February 12,.
2004; Barnard, Anne and Farah Stockman. “US Weighs Role in Heroin War in
Afghanistan.” Boston Globe, October 20, 2004.
narcotics smuggling routes.20 In early November, 2004, press reports said the Bush
Administration would also take new legal steps against suspected Afghan drug
traffickers by indicting them and putting the legal machinery in place to have them
extradited from Afghanistan if caught.21 On November 17, 2004, the Bush
Administration (Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Robert Charles) announced “Plan Afghanistan,” a $780 million
(FY2005 funds) program to raise public awareness about the problem, promote
alternative livelihoods, and conduct interdiction and crop eradication. However, it
is not clear whether the plan will involve counter-narcotics operations by U.S.
combat forces in Afghanistan. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
announced on November 17, 2004, that it is a participant in Plan Afghanistan.
Prior to the announcement of Plan Afghanistan, substantial counter-narcotics
funds were provided by the FY2004 supplemental appropriation. About $220 million
is provided for assistance to Afghanistan’s counter-narcotics effort (and police
training) for FY2004 (by State Department’s International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement bureau (INL). Of that, $170 million was appropriated in the FY2004
supplemental appropriation (H.Rept. 108-337, P.L. 108-106), and $50 million is
being provided from the post-September 11 “Emergency Response Fund.” The
supplemental also provided $73 million for Defense Department counter-narcotics
activities in Afghanistan, virtually all of which has been spent.
Narcotics trafficking control was perhaps the one issue on which the Taliban
satisfied much of the international community. The Taliban, for the most part,
enforced a July 2000 ban on poppy cultivation; in February 2001, the U.N.
International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) said that surveys showed a dramatic
drop in cultivation in the areas surveyed. 22 The Northern Alliance did not issue a
similar ban in areas it controlled.
An accelerated U.S. economic
reconstruction plan has showcased some evidence of success, particularly the
completion of the first layer of the Kabul-Qandahar roadway project (Phase I) on
December 16, 2003. According to USAID, Phase II paving is well underway (268
kilometers of a total of 439 kilometers of the road), as is work on shoulders, bridges,
and the road’s drainage system. Numerous other examples of U.S. economic
reconstruction initiatives are analyzed in a General Accounting Office (GAO) report:
Afghanistan Reconstruction. GAO Report GAO-04-403, June 2004. The report,
which studied mainly economic reconstruction, was generally critical of U.S.
reconstruction efforts to date, asserting that long term reconstruction efforts had
achieved “limited results,” because the U.S. effort “lacked a complete operational
strategy.” These findings were disputed by the State Department and USAID in their
commenting letters at the end of the report.
U.S. Set To Combat Afghan Drug Trade. New York Times on the Web. August 11, 2004.
Cameron-Moore, Simon. U.S. to Seek Indictment of Afghan Drug Barons. Reuters,
November 2, 2004.
Crossette, Barbara. “Taliban Seem to Be Making Good on Opium Ban, U.N. Says.” New
York Times, February 7, 2001.
Improving Human Rights Practices. Virtually all observers agree that
Afghans are freer than they were under the Taliban. The press is relatively free and
Afghan political groupings and parties are able to meet and organize freely,
according to the State Department report on human rights practices for 2003.
However, according to State Department and other reports, there continue to be
reports of reprisals and other abuses based on ethnicity or political factionalism in
many parts of Afghanistan.
Some observers say that the government is reimposing some Islamic restrictions
that characterized Taliban rule, including the code of criminal punishments stipulated
in Islamic law. 23 Some have blamed the increased restrictions on chief justice Fazl
Hadi Shinwari, a religious conservative who was appointed by former
president/Northern Alliance political leader Rabbani in the brief interim period (late
November - early December 2001) just after the Taliban fled Kabul but before Karzai
took office. On January 21, 2003, Shinwari ordered shut down cable television in
Kabul on the grounds it was un-Islamic, and called for an end to co-education.
Although U.S. officials are privately critical of Shinwari, the U.S. government has
generally refrained from advising the new government on these issues, lest the United
States be accused of undue interference in Kabul’s affairs. U.S. programs — many
of which are conducted in partnership with Italy, which is the “lead” coalition
country on judicial reform — generally focus on building capacity of the judicial
system, including police training and court construction , according the State
Department report on U.S. democracy-promotion programs for 2003-2004 (released
An Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHC) also has been
formed to monitor government performance; it is headed by former Women’s Affairs
minister Sima Samar. The conference report on a FY2004 supplemental
appropriation, H.R. 3289 (H.Rept. 108-337, P.L. 108-106), appropriates $5 million
to fund the Commission in FY2004. This is the amount authorized, for each
FY2003-2006, for that purpose, in the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002
(P.L. 107-327). Another $2 million for the AIHC was appropriated for FY2005 in
H.R. 4818 (P.L. 108-447), the omnibus FY2005 appropriation.
Advancement of Women. 24 The new government is widely considered to
be promoting the advancement of women, although the treatment of women varies
considerably by region and remains subject to Afghanistan’s conservative traditions.
A July 2003 Human Rights Watch report discussed above observed that women are
often subject to physical and psychological harm that has limited their ability to
participate in civil society and politics. 25 The most notable development in postTaliban Afghanistan has been the establishment of a Ministry of Women’s Affairs,
now headed by Habiba Sorabi, which is dedicated to improving women’s rights.
Shea, Nina. “Sharia in Kabul?” The National Review, October 28, 2002.
See also CRS Report RS21865. Assistance to Afghan and Iraqi Women: Issues for
Witt, April. “Report Claims Afghanistan Rife With Abuse, Fear.” Washington Post, July
That ministry has tried to get more Afghan women involved in business ventures and
it has invited Afghan religious scholars to hear interpretations of the Quran that favor
active participation of women in national and economic affairs. Two women,
including Sorabi, hold senior positions in the government.
Afghan women are playing an active role in political and economic
reconstruction. One of the most active candidates in the October 9 presidential
election — in which about 3 million women voted — was Masooda Jalal, the only
woman candidate. She received 1.1% of the vote. As noted previously, the new
constitution reserves for women at least 25% of the seats in the upper house of
parliament, and recognizes men and women as equal citizens. Women are
performing some jobs, such as construction work, that were rarely held by women
even before the Taliban came to power in 1996, 26 and some women are joining the
new police force. Girls returned to school March 23, 2002, for the first time since
the Taliban took power in 1996, and most female teachers have resumed their
teaching jobs. Under the new government, the wearing of the full body covering
called the burqa is no longer obligatory, although many women continue to wear it
Although the treatment of Afghan women has improved since the Taliban were
removed from power, the Administration and Congress have taken a continued
interest in the treatment of women in Afghanistan. After the Karzai government took
office, the United States and the new Afghan government set up a U.S.-Afghan
Women’s Council to coordinate the allocation of resources to Afghan women.
According to the State Department’s May 2004 report on U.S. efforts to promote
democracy abroad, the United States was active at the constitutional loya jirga,
discussed above, to enshrine in the new constitution protections for women and
policies to advance women in government.
In recent congressional action, on November 27, 2001, as the Taliban was
collapsing, the House unanimously adopted S. 1573, the Afghan Women and
Children Relief Act, which had earlier passed the Senate. The law (signed December
12, 2001) calls for the use of unspecified amounts of supplemental funding
(appropriated by P.L. 107-38, which gave the Office of the President $40 billion to
respond to the September 11, 2001 attacks, and which was subsequently distributed
throughout the government to fund various programs) 27 to fund educational and
health programs for Afghan women and children. The Afghanistan Freedom Support
Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-327) authorizes $15 million per year, for FY2003-2006, for
the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The FY2004 supplemental (P.L. 108-106)
appropriated $60 million for programs to assist Afghan women and girls, and
expresses the sense of Congress that the United States seek (in Afghanistan and Iraq)
to promote high level participation of women in legislative bodies and ministries and
ensure their rights in new institutions. The section also calls on the Administration
Amanpour, Christiane. Cable News Network special report on Afghanistan. Broadcast
November 2, 2003.
For more information on how the appropriated funds were distributed and used, see CRS
Report RL31173, Combating Terrorism: First Emergency Supplemental AppropriationsDistribution of Funds to Departments and Agencies.
to seek to ensure women’s access to credit, property, and other economic
opportunities. In concert with a meeting with President Karzai, on June 15, 2004,
President Bush announced that the United States would fund a $4 million women’s
teacher training institute in Kabul and that it would provide $5 million for small
business grants to Afghan women. The FY2005 foreign aid appropriation (H.R.
4818, P.L. 108-447) provides $50 million for Afghan women and girls, of which $7.5
million is to go to small grants to women’s businesses. Another $6 million is
appropriated in that law for maternal and child health care in Afghanistan.
Post-War Security Operations and Force Capacity Building
Much of the U.S. program for Afghanistan is intended to improve security
throughout Afghanistan, considered a necessary pre-condition for reconstruction and
democratic development. The report of the “9/11 Commission” recommends that
“...the United States and the international community should make a long-term
commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan ... so that Afghanistan does not again
become a sanctuary for international crime and terrorism.”
Despite the Taliban’s overthrow, Taliban, pro-Hikmatyar, and some Al Qaeda
militants continue to operate in Afghanistan. The pillars of the security effort are (1)
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) combat operations by U.S. and other coalition
forces in Afghanistan; (2) patrols by an International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF); (3) the formation of “provincial reconstruction teams;” (4) the establishment
and training of an Afghan National Army and a police force; and (5) the
demobilization of local militias. These programs and policies are discussed in the
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). OEF is a combat mission against
anti-Afghan government militants; OEF forces do not conduct “peacekeeping”
missions or routinely patrol Afghan neighborhoods. The United States (U.S. Central
Command, CENTCOM) has about 18,000 troops in Afghanistan, and coalition forces
are contributing another 2,000 to OEF. (Additional foreign troops are dedicated to
peacekeeping, as discussed below). The current commander of U.S. forces in
Afghanistan is Lt. Gen. David Barno, who is now based at a “Combined Forces
Command (CFC)” headquarters near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, relocating in late
2003 from Bagram air base north of Kabul.
OEF’s primary mission is to combat Taliban insurgents that continue to attack
the Afghan government and election and reconstruction workers in the south and
east. Some have committed terrorist attacks, such as a September 5, 2002, car
bombing in a crowded marketplace in Kabul and a virtually simultaneous
assassination attempt against President Karzai. Karzai was unhurt and the assailant,
a member of the security detail, was killed by U.S. special forces who serve as
Karzai’s protection unit. Afghan officials blamed Taliban/Al Qaeda remnants for
both events.28 Other urban terrorist attacks attributed to Taliban activists include the
bombing of a marketplace in Qandahar on December 5, 2003, two February 2004
Employees of a private U.S. security contractor (Dyncorp) have taken over the Afghan
leadership protection effort as of November 2002.
suicide bombings against international peacekeeping troops in Kabul, and an August
29, 2004, bombing of a U.S. security contractor (Dyncorps) facility in Kabul. (Four
Americans were killed in that attack.)
On October 28, 2004, a Taliban breakaway faction calling itself the “Army of
the Muslims” kidnapped three U.N. election workers (one from Northern Ireland, one
from Kosovo, and one from the Phillipines). The Karzai government negotiated their
OEF forces, including Afghan troops, are often on the offensive against the
militants. The United States and Afghanistan launched “Operation Mountain Viper”
on August 25, 2003, followed up by “Operation Avalanche,” (December 8-30, 2003).
During March — July , 2004, U.S. forces, along with Afghan National Army soldiers,
conducted “Operation Mountain Storm” against Taliban remnants in and around
Uruzgan province, the home province of Mullah Umar. The 2,400-person Marine
unit sent to Afghanistan for the mission has since departed. Other significant
operations against militants, particularly in southeastern Afghanistan, have taken
place since May 2004 as part of a planned “spring offensive.” A winter offensive,
“Operation Lightning Freedom,” began in December 2004 to pre-empt insurgents
ahead of planned spring 2005 parliamentary elections.
Several commanders say the combat, coupled with overall reconstruction, has
caused the Taliban insurgency to diminish in strength.29 U.S. commanders also
attribute the progress to a new military strategy, launched by Lt. Gen. Barno in
February 2004, to station some U.S. forces in populated areas to cultivate relations
with them and thereby better conduct counter-insurgency missions. In addition, the
success of the October 9 presidential elections reportedly caused a rift in the Taliban,
with some militants now said to be negotiating with the government to join the
political process. Others around Mullah Omar are reported to be committed to
continuing use of violence.
The Hunt for Al Qaeda and Other Militants. U.S. Special Operations
Forces continue to hunt for bin Laden and his close colleague, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Bin Laden reportedly escaped the U.S.-Afghan offensive against the Al Qaeda
stronghold of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in December 2001. In February
2004, Gen. Barno and other commanders predicted success against the Taliban and
Al Qaeda, including their defeat in Afghanistan in 2004. Implied in the prediction
of success is that bin Laden would be captured, although he is widely believed to be
on the Pakistan side of the border. Observers in the region say OEF forces are
conducting some hot pursuit missions against possible bin Laden/Al Qaeda hideouts
over the border into Pakistan. Pakistan has deployed about 70,000 troops to combat
suspected Al Qaeda fighters and their allies on the Pakistan side of the border,
although Pakistani officials said in December 2004 that bin Laden’s trail has gone
As noted above, another target of OEF is the Hikmatyar faction (Hizb-e-Islami
Gulbuddin, HIG) that is allied with Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants. On February
NATO: Afghan Rebellion Fading. Dallas Morning News, February 11, 2004.
19, 2003, the U.S. government formally designated Hikmatyar as a “Specially
Designated Global Terrorist,” under the authority of Executive Order 13224. That
order subjected named terrorists and terrorist-related institutions to financial and
other U.S. sanctions. The HIG is analyzed in the section on “other terrorist groups”
in the State Department’s report on international terrorism for 2003, released April
29, 2004. The group is not formally designated as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
OEF forces contributed to security for the October 9 presidential elections. U.S.
commanders say that several hundred U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan for that
OEF Costs and Casualties. As of December 2004, about 150 U.S.
military personnel have been killed in OEF including from enemy fire, friendly fire,
and non-hostile deaths (accidents). About 10 of the U.S. personnel were killed
during 2003. Of coalition forces, 4 Canadian and 1 Australian combat (not
peacekeeping) personnel were killed in hostile circumstances. In addition, according
to CENTCOM, there have been ten U.S. deaths in the Philippines theater of OEF
(operations against the Al Qaeda-affiliated Abu Sayyaf organization), all of which
resulted from a helicopter crash. No reliable Afghan casualty figures for the war on
the Taliban and Al Qaeda have been announced, but estimates by researchers of
Afghan civilian deaths generally cite figures of “several hundred” civilian deaths. On
July 1, 2002, a U.S. airstrike on suspected Taliban leaders in Uruzgan Province
mistakenly killed about 40 civilians.
Incremental costs of U.S. operations in Afghanistan appear to be relatively
stable at about $900 million to $1 billion per month. About $13 billion in
incremental costs were incurred in FY2002. The FY2004 supplemental
appropriation provided about $11 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom for
FY2004 (H.R. 3289, conference report H.Rept. 108-337, P.L. 108-106).
Supplemental FY2005 funds for Afghanistan combat are expected to be requested
in January 2005.
International Security Force (ISAF)/NATO. The Bonn Agreement,
discussed above, and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1386 (December 20, 2001)
created an international peacekeeping force, the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF). Its mandate is the maintenance of security, and the mandate was
initially limited to Kabul. ISAF’s baseline force for Afghanistan is about 6,400
troops from all 26 NATO countries, plus 10 non-NATO countries. 30 However,
ISAF force levels increased to about 9,000 to help secure the October 9, 2004,
elections. The additional 2,500 troops for the election period were from Spain and
Italy; the Italian battalion is currently attached to the “NATO Response Force
(NRF),” but the NRF as an entity did not deploy. France had objected to deploying
that force on the grounds that election security in Afghanistan was not part of the
NRF’s intended mission. In addition to the extra troops for the election period, the
There is no central source for up-to-date information on troop contributions to ISAF. In
practice, country contingents tend to rotate in and out frequently. This list of contributions
is intended to be a reasonable picture of contingents that are serving or have recently served
in ISAF, and approximate contribution sizes.
Netherlands and Britain each provided six combat aircraft that could have been used
to help suppress any election-related violence.
Additional long-term NATO involvement in Afghanistan is a key
recommendation of the 9/11 Commission report. NATO’s role in Afghanistan has
been expanding since August 2003, when NATO took command of ISAF, putting to
rest the difficulty of identifying a lead force or lead country to head ISAF each sixmonth period. NATO took over from Germany and the Netherlands; earlier leaders
were Turkey (June 2002 — February 2003) and Britain (December 2001 — June
2002). NATO’s assumption of command intensified discussions about whether ISAF
should deploy to other major cities, a mission the Afghan government and UNAMA
(U.N. Assistance Mission for Afghanistan) have long favored. 31 The Bush
Administration had initially favored reliance on alternative security efforts, but it
later agreed to ISAF expansion if enough troops could be contributed. In early
October 2003, NATO endorsed a plan to expand its presence to several other cities,
contingent on formal U.N. approval. The NATO decision came several weeks after
Germany agreed to contribute an additional 450 military personnel to expand ISAF
into the city of Konduz. On October 14, 2003, the U.N. Security Council adopted
Resolution 1510, formally authorizing ISAF to deploy outside Kabul. As discussed
further below, NATO is in the process of establishing or taking control of several
“provincial reconstruction teams” (PRTs), mainly in western and northern
The core of ISAF is the Kabul Multinational Brigade (4,400 personnel), which
was headed by Canada until August 2004. It is now led by “Eurocorps,” a rapid
response force composed of forces from France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and
Luxembourg. But Turkey will be the lead NATO/ISAF force as of February 2005,
and Turkey will augment its force to 1,800 (from current levels of 240) when it takes
over that lead position. At the headquarters level, there are 600 personnel from 15
ISAF coordinates with Afghan security forces and with OEF forces as well.
The United States does not contribute forces to ISAF, but U.S. forces involved in
OEF support ISAF. NATO reportedly will issue a report in February 2005 on a U.S.
suggestion to combine the ISAF and OEF command structure, presumably under U.S.
overall command. Germany and France are said to oppose the idea.
Although NATO nations appear committed to the Afghanistan mission,
personnel and equipment shortages plague the organization’s ability to build up its
presence in Afghanistan. In an effort to address staffing and equipment shortages,
in early December 2003, NATO announced new pledges for ISAF operations: 12
helicopters from Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey; six aircraft from various
nations; an infantry company from Norway’s Telemark battalion, troops from the
Czech Republic, intelligence officers from Italy, Romania, and other countries, and
airport traffic controllers from Belgium and Iceland. The first military transport
plane for ISAF, contributed by Portugal, arrived in late July 2004.
Driver, Anna. U.N. envoy Pushes for Troop Expansion in Afghanistan. Reuters, August
Current NATO contributions in Afghanistan are as follows (with contribution
size in parenthesis, if known): Belgium (155); Bulgaria (11); Canada (1,800); Czech
Republic; Denmark (49); Estonia (6); France (1,000); Germany (2,300); Greece
(123); Hungary (19); Iceland; Italy (270); Latvia (8); Lithuania; Luxembourg;
Netherlands (572); Norway (21); Poland; Portugal; Romania (32); Slovak Republic;
Slovenia; Spain (400); Turkey (240); United Kingdom (130); and the United States
(mostly logistical help). The non-NATO countries in ISAF are Albania (23); Austria
(5); Azerbaijan (23); Croatia (47); Finland (46); Georgia (25); Ireland (7); New
Zealand (4); Sweden (30); and Switzerland (2). According to the State Department,
twelve of these nations are also contributed forces to OEF, and seven other nations
are contributing to OEF but not ISAF. (For numbers of international troops
contributed to OEF, see CRS Report RL31152, International Support for the U.S.Led War on Terrorism, which details each contribution, including types of forces,
equipment, and facilities hosting.)
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). The U.S. military has
increasingly focused on fostering secure conditions for reconstruction. In midDecember 2002, the Defense Department announced the concept of the provincial
reconstruction teams (PRTs) to provide safe havens for international aid workers to
help with reconstruction and to extend the writ of the Kabul government throughout
Afghanistan by attaching to the PRTs Afghan government (Interior Ministry)
personnel. PRT activities can range from resolving local disputes to coordinating
local reconstruction projects. Each U.S.-run PRT is composed of U.S. forces,
Defense Department civil affairs officers, representatives of U.S. aid and other
agencies, and allied personnel. Out of the 19 PRTs in operation, 13 are U.S.-run,
each with about 50-100 military personnel. The U.S.-run PRTs are in Gardez,
Ghazni, Herat, Parwan, Qandahar, Jalalabad, Khost, Qalat, Asadabad, Tarin Kowt,
Lashkar Gah, Sharana, and Farah.
The other six PRTs in operation are run by U.S. allies in OEF and by
NATO/ISAF. There is an ISAF-run PRT set up in Konduz (Germany is the lead
force there); Britain is the lead force in an OEF-run PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif; and
New Zealand leads an OEF-run PRT in Bamiyan. Under decisions made at the June
2004 Istanbul summit, NATO/ISAF has established additional PRTs: A Germanyled PRT in the northeastern city of Faizabad (as a satellite of Germany’s Konduz
PRT); a U.K./Norway/Finland-led PRT in Meymaneh; and a Netherlands-led PRT
in Baghlan. U.K. (OEF) forces have also formed three satellites of the Mazar PRT:
in Sari Pol, Samangan, and Shebergan. NATO foreign ministers ’ decided on
December 9, 2004, that NATO/ISAF would establish an unspecified number of
additional PRTs in western Afghanistan under a “phase two” expansion of the
NATO/ISAF involvement in the PRT concept.
U.S. plans are to eventually establish PRTs in most of Afghanistan’s 34
provinces, as well as “satellite” PRTs — smaller offshoots of the major PRTs that
would operate in nearby population centers. Current plans are for U.S. forces to run
the PRTs primarily in the south and east, with an emphasis on counter-insurgency
and anti-Al Qaeda intelligence missions, according to U.S. officers in Afghanistan.
Some aid agencies say they have felt more secure since the PRT program began,
fostering reconstruction activity in areas of PRT operations. 32 However, other relief
groups do not want to associate with any military force because doing so might taint
their perceived neutrality. The FY2004 supplemental request asked that $50 million
in Economic Support Funds (ESF) be appropriated for “PRT projects;” that amount
is provided in the conference report (H.Rept. 108-337, P.L. 108-106).
In February 2004, Gen. Barno briefed journalists on an additional concept for
“regional development zones” — areas of operations that might group several PRTs
— in an effort to promote reconstruction and Afghan governance. According to
Barno, a pilot regional development zone (RDZ) has been established in Qandahar,
composed of a strongly pro-Kabul governor working with U.S. troops and Afghan
national police and Afghan National Army forces. The RDZ’s are expected to
provide synergy with PRTs in their areas, and one intention of the concept is to
devolve security decision-making to U.S. commanders in the regions, rather than at
U.S. headquarters in Kabul.
Afghan National Army (ANA). U.S. Special Operations Forces, in
partnership with French and British officers, are training the new ANA. U.S.
officers in Afghanistan say the ANA is beginning to become a major force in
stabilizing the country and a national symbol. As of December 2004, the ANA has
about 15,000 troops, according to U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Zalmay
Khalilzad, and most of the force deployed to help maintain security for the October
9 elections. Afghan officials say the desired ultimate size of the army is 70,000, a
level that will likely not be reached for several more years, given the current rate of
U.S.-led training. However, U.S. commanders say the number of trained ANA
soldiers is expected to rise to about 33,500 within the next year as training
The ANA began its first deployments in December 2002, on a mission in eastern
Afghanistan to fight alongside U.S. forces. The ANA was, by all accounts,
welcomed by the local population as a symbol of a unified future for Afghanistan.
Coalition officers are conducting heavy weapons training for a heavy brigade as part
of a “Kabul Corps,” based in Pol-e-Charki, east of Kabul. The ANA has now
established a presence in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, working with the
PRTs and assisted by embedded U.S. trainers. The ANA deployed to Herat in March
2004 to help quell factional unrest there, and to Maimana in April 2004 in response
to Dostam’s militia movement into that city.
Thus far, weaponry for the ANA has come primarily from Defense Ministry
weapons stocks — with the concurrence of Defense Minister Fahim who controls
those stocks — and from international donors, primarily from the former East bloc. 33
The United States has provided some trucks and other equipment as excess defense
articles (EDA), and plans to provide some additional U.S. arms and/or defense
Kraul, Chris. “U.S. Aid Effort Wins Over Skeptics in Afghanistan.” Los Angeles Times,
April 11, 2003.
Report to Congress Consistent With the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, July
services, according to statements by U.S. officials. The FY2004 supplemental
appropriation (conference report on H.R. 3289, H.Rept. 108-337, P.L. 108-106)
provided $287 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to accelerate ANA
development. Those funds were allocated as follows: $146 million for infrastructure;
$78 million for equipment; $40.7 million for “sustainment” (ANA salaries); $13
million for training; and $9 million for transportation.
There had been reports, at the time the United States first began establishing the
ANA, that Northern Alliance figures were weighting recruitment for the national
army toward his Tajik ethnic base. Many Pashtuns, in reaction, refused recruitment
or left the ANA program. U.S. officials in Afghanistan say this problem has been
alleviated with better pay and more involvement by U.S. special forces, as well as the
appointment of additional Pashtuns in senior Defense Ministry positions. 34 U.S.
officers in Afghanistan add that some recruits take long trips to their home towns to
remit funds to their families, and often then return to the ANA after a long absence.
Fully trained recruits are paid about $70 per month. However, some press accounts
say that desertion and absenteeism still plague the ANA because it is still riven with
factionalism and because the pay is low.35 The FY2005 foreign aid appropriation for
Afghanistan (P.L. 108-447) contains a provision requiring that ANA recruits be
vetted for past involvement in terrorism, human rights violations, and drug
An Afghan Air Force remains, although it has virtually no aircraft to fly. It has
about 400 pilots, as well as 28 helicopters and a few cargo aircraft. It is a carryover
from the Afghan Air Force that existed prior to the Soviet invasion. Pilots are based
at Bagram Airfield. U.S. officers in Afghanistan say they hope to eventually provide
some additional equipment to the Afghan Air Force.
National Guard. In early 2004, because of the slow pace of expanding the
ANA, the Bush Administration reportedly formulated a plan to build up a “national
guard” to supplement the ANA.36 The national guard apparently will consist
primarily of regional militia forces; it would report to OEF. This plan might appear
to conflict with the Administration’s plan to build up the Kabul government and
weaken regional militias, although the Administration reportedly believes this plan
could better bring militia forces under central control.
National Police. The United States and Germany are training a national
police force. About 30,500 national police have been trained thus far, and the entire
force of 48,000 helped secure the October 9 election. The number of trained police
is expected to reach 62,000 within one year, according to U.S. commanders. There
are five training centers around Afghanistan, with two more to be established. Some
national police have begun to dismantle factional checkpoints in some major cities,
Gall, Carlotta. In a Remote Corner, an Afghan Army Evolves From Fantasy to Slightly
Ragged Reality. New York Times, January 25, 2003.
Watson, Paul. Losing Its Few Good Men. Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2003.
Dempsey, Judy. US Planning for Stopgap Afghan National Guard. London Financial
Times, February 12, 2004.
according to U.S. officers in Afghanistan. Part of the training consists of courses in
human rights principles and democratic policing concepts.
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR). Japan and
the United Nations (UNAMA), in concert with the Afghan government (Defense
Ministry) are leading an international effort to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate
into society (DDR) fighters from individual militias. The DDR program is intended
to undercut the military strength of the regional governors relative to the central
government. However, the DDR program got off to a slow start because the Afghan
Defense Ministry did not enact mandated reforms (primarily reduction of the number
of Tajiks in senior positions) by the targeted July 1, 2003, date. Many (non-Tajik)
local militias said they would not disarm as long as the Defense Ministry was
monopolized by Tajiks/Northern Alliance personnel. The “reforms” began in
September 2003 when Karzai approved the replacement of 22 senior Tajik officials
in the Defense Ministry by officials of Pashtuns, Uzbek, and Hazara ethnicity.
The DDR program had initially been expected to demobilize 100,000 fighters.
However, lists of fighters submitted by regional leaders in June 2004 now identify
about 60,000 total to be demobilized. As of December 2004, about 15,000 have
been disarmed , with the program now expanding to individual militia units in
Bamiyan, Herat, and Baghlan. Of those, 13,000 have begun exercising their
reintegration options: training, starting small businesses, and other options. The
program got a boost from the ousting of Ismail Khan as Herat governor in August
2004; he permitted many of his militiamen to enter the DDR program after he was
removed. Kabul’s goal is to complete the disarmament process (all 60,000 fighters
identified) by parliamentary elections in spring 2005 , a goal that might be difficult
A related program is the surrender and cantonment of heavy weapons possessed
by major factions. According to UNAMA, at least 7,000 heavy and light weapons
country-wide have been collected. As noted above, the U.K.-led PRT in Mazar- eSharif has collected and (along with the ANA) is guarding some heavy weapons
(tanks, artillery) from Dostam and rival factions in northern Afghanistan. Defense
Minister Fahim has surrendered some Northern Alliance heavy weapons. Afghan
commanders say that, as of March 11, 2004, when additional heavy weapons were
handed over in Kabul, about one-quarter of all heavy weapons in Kabul had been
taken off the streets and placed in cantonment sites guarded by the ANA in Kabul.
Fahim has also handed in some Scud missiles to U.S./ANA control.
The FY2004 supplemental requests asked $60 million for DDR operations.
However, $30 million was provided in the conference report (H.Rept. 108-337, P.L.
108-106) because it is expected that Japan might contribute additional funds.
Even before September 11, several of Afghanistan’s neighbors were becoming
alarmed about threats to their own security interests emanating from Afghanistan.
Some experts believe that the neighboring governments have been attempting to
manipulate Afghanistan’s factions to their advantage, despite the signing on
December 23, 2002 of a non-interference pledge (Kabul Declaration) by six of
Pakistan publicly ended its support for the Taliban in the aftermath of the
September 11, 2001 attacks, although questions persist about Pakistan’s commitment
to preventing Taliban remnants from operating there. Pakistan initially saw the
Taliban movement as an instrument with which to build an Afghan central
government strong enough to prevent fragmentation of Afghanistan while at the same
time sufficiently friendly and pliable to provide Pakistan strategic depth against rival
India. It had been the most public defender of the Taliban movement and was one
of only three countries (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the others)
to formally recognize it as the legitimate government. Pakistan saw Afghanistan as
essential to opening up trade relations and energy routes with the Muslim states of
the former Soviet Union.
Prior to the September 11 attacks, General Pervez Musharraf, who took power
in an October 1999 coup, resisted U.S. pressure to forcefully intercede with the
Taliban leadership to achieve bin Laden’s extradition. U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1333, of December 19, 2000, was partly an effort by the United States and
Russia to compel Pakistan to cease military advice and aid to the Taliban. Pakistan
did not completely cease military assistance, but it abided by some provisions of the
resolution, for example by ordering the Taliban to cut the staff at its embassy in
Pakistan.39 Just prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pakistan had said it would
cooperate with a follow-on U.N. Security Council Resolution (1363 of July 30, 2001)
that provided for U.N. border monitors to ensure that no neighboring state was
providing military equipment or advice to the Taliban.
Pakistan’s pre-September 11 steps against the Taliban reflected increasing
wariness that the Taliban movement was radicalizing existing Islamic movements
inside Pakistan and that its support for the Taliban was propelling the United States
into a closer relationship with India. These considerations, coupled with U.S. offers
of economic benefit, prompted Pakistan to cooperate with the U.S. response to the
For further information, see CRS Report RS20411, Afghanistan: Connections to Islamic
Movements in Central and South Asia and Southern Russia. December 7, 1999, by Kenneth
For further discussion, see Rashid, Ahmed. “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism.”
Foreign Affairs, November - December 1999.
Constable, Pamela. “New Sanctions Strain Taliban-Pakistan Ties.” Washington Post,
January 19, 2001.
September 11 attacks. Pakistan provided the United States with requested access to
Pakistani airspace, ports, airfields. Pakistan also has arrested over 550 Al Qaeda
fighters, some of them senior operatives, and turned them over to the United States.
Among those captured by Pakistan are: top bin Laden aide Abu Zubaydah (captured
April 2002), alleged September 11 plotter Ramzi bin Al Shibh September 11, 2002),
and top Al Qaeda planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (March 2, 2003). Following
failed assassination attempts in December 2003 against Musharraf, Pakistani forces
accelerated efforts to find Al Qaeda forces along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,
in some cases threatening tribal elements in these areas who are suspected of
harboring the militants. In March 2004, about 70,000 Pakistani forces began a major
battle with about 300-400 suspected Al Qaeda fighters in the Waziristan area,
reportedly with some support from U.S. intelligence and other indirect support.
Pakistan said it was winding down the combat in December 2004 and it publicly
denied that it had allowed the United States to set up intelligence bases in the
Waziristan area as part of the search for bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.40 (For
more information on Pakistan’s efforts against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, see CRS
Report RL32259, Terrorism in South Asia.)
At the same time, Pakistan has sought to protect its interests by fashioning a
strong Pashtun-based component for a post-Taliban government. Pakistan is wary
that a government dominated by the Northern Alliance would be backed by India,
which Pakistan says is using its diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan to train and
recruit anti-Pakistan insurgents. Some U.S. and Afghan officials continue to accuse
Pakistan of allowing Taliban fighters and activists to meet and group in Pakistani
cities, and they call on Pakistan to track down and arrest Taliban members as
vigorously as it tracks members of Al Qaeda. Pakistan says it is too difficult to
distinguish Afghan Taliban from Pakistani nationals, but President Musharraf
promised, at a meeting with Karzai on August 23, 2004, to prevent militants in
Pakistan from disrupting Afghanistan’s October 9 presidential elections. There are
some indications Pakistan implemented that pledge, and Pakistan is expected to try
to improve relations further now that Karzai has won a free election. Pakistan wants
the government of Afghanistan to pledge to abide by the “Durand Line,” a border
agreement reached between Britain (signed by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand) and then
Afghan leader Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1893, separating Afghanistan from what
was then British-controlled India (later Pakistan after the 1947 partition).
As of October 2002, about 1.75 million Afghan refugees have returned from
Pakistan since the Taliban fell. About 300,000 Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan.
Iran perceives its key national interests in Afghanistan as exerting its traditional
influence over western Afghanistan, which Iran borders and was once part of the
Persian empire, and to protect Afghanistan’s Shiite minority. Iranian firms are also
profiting from reconstruction work in western Afghanistan. Iran has long been
politically close to the Northern Alliance, and remains so. Iran has confirmed that
Risen, James and David Rohde. “A Hostile Land Foils the Quest for Bin Laden.” New
York Times, December 13, 2004.
it offered search and rescue assistance in Afghanistan during the U.S.-led war, and
it also allowed U.S. humanitarian aid to the Afghan people to transit Iran. However,
some Iranian leaders were harshly critical of U.S. military action, referring to the
action as a U.S. war on Islam.
Iran saw the Taliban as a threat to its interests in Afghanistan, especially after
Taliban forces captured Herat (the western province that borders Iran) in September
1995. Iran subsequently drew even closer to the Northern Alliance than previously,
providing its groups with fuel, funds, and ammunition,41 and hosting fighters loyal
to Ismail Khan, who was captured by the Taliban in 1998 but escaped and fled to
Iran in March 2000. In September 1998, Iranian and Taliban forces nearly came into
direct conflict when Iran discovered that nine of its diplomats were killed in the
course of Taliban’s offensive in northern Afghanistan. Iran massed forces at the
border and threatened military action, but the crisis cooled without a major clash,
possibly because Iran lacked confidence in its military capabilities.
Amid reports Iran seeks to exert influence over the new government by arming
pro-Iranian Afghan factions, in early January 2002 President Bush warned Iran
against meddling in Afghanistan. Since then, the Bush Administration has continued
to accuse Iran of trying to build influence over the interim government and of failing
to attempt to locate or arrest Al Qaeda fighters who have fled to Iran from
Afghanistan. Partly in response to the U.S. criticism, in February 2002 Iran expelled
Karzai-opponent Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, although it did not arrest him and allowed
him to return to Afghanistan. For his part, Karzai has said that Iran is an important
neighbor of Afghanistan and visited Iran in late February 2002, pledging to build ties
with the Islamic republic. Iran did not strongly oppose Karzai’s firing of Iran ally
Ismail Khan in September 2004, although Iran is said to be nervous about the
subsequent U.S. use of the western Afghan air base of Shindand, 20 miles from the
As of October 2002, about 275,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran
since the Taliban fell. About 1.2 million remain, many of which are integrated into
A number of considerations might explain why Russia supported the U.S. effort
against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, including tacitly supporting, or at least not
opposing, the use of bases in Central Asia to conduct the war. Russia’s main
objective in Afghanistan has been to prevent the further strengthening of Islamic or
nationalist movements in the Central Asian states or Islamic enclaves in Russia itself,
including Chechnya. Russia’s fear became acute following an August 1999 incursion
into Russia’s Dagestan region by Islamic guerrillas from neighboring Chechnya.
Steele, Jonathon, “America Includes Iran In Talks On Ending War In Afghanistan.”
Washington Times, December 15, 1997. A14.
Rashid, Ahmed. “Afghan Neighbors Show Signs of Aiding in Nation’s Stability”. Wall
Street Journal, October 18, 2004.
Some reports link at least one faction of the guerrillas to Al Qaeda.43 This faction
was led by a Chechen of Arab origin who is referred to by the name “Hattab” (full
name is Ibn al-Khattab), although there are some reports Russia may have killed him
in Chechnya in 2002. In January 2000, the Taliban became the only government in
the world to recognize Chechnya’s independence, and some Chechen fighters
fighting alongside Taliban/Al Qaeda forces have been captured or killed during OEF.
The U.S. and Russian positions on the Taliban became coincident well before
the September 11 attacks.44 Even before the U.S.-led war, Russia was supporting the
Northern Alliance with some military equipment and technical assistance.45 U.S.Russian cooperation led to the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 and
1233 (see section on “Harboring of Al Qaeda, below). On the other hand, the United
States has not blindly supported Russia’s apparent attempts to place a large share of
the blame for the rebellion in Chechnya on the Taliban or Al Qaeda.
The interests and activities of India in Afghanistan are almost the exact reverse
of those of Pakistan. India’s goal has been to deny Afghanistan from becoming a
provider of “strategic depth” to Pakistan. In India’s view, Pakistan is attempting to
keep some Taliban elements active because Pakistan believes the United States might
some day depart the region, and Pakistan might want to have the option of installing
another pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan.46 India strongly supported the
Northern Alliance in its civil war against the Pakistan-backed Taliban in the mid
1990s. India saw the Taliban’s hosting of Al Qaeda as a major threat to India itself
because of Al Qaeda’s association with radical Islamic organizations in Pakistan
dedicated to ending Indian control of parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Some of these
organizations have committed major acts of terrorism in India. India is currently
considering co-financing, along with the Asian Development Bank, several power
projects in northern Afghanistan. India denies Pakistan’s allegations that it is
recruiting anti-Pakistan insurgents in Afghanistan through its diplomatic facilities or
Central Asian States47
During Taliban rule, leaders in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan grew
increasingly alarmed that Central Asian radical Islamic movements were receiving
Whittell, Giles. “Bin Laden Link To Dagestan Rebel Fightback.” London Times,
September 6, 1999.
Constable, Pamela. “Russia, U.S. Converge on Warnings to Taliban.” Washington Post,
June 4, 2000.
Risen, James. “Russians Are Back in Afghanistan, Aiding Rebels.” New York Times, July
These views were expressed by Indian officials during a visit to India in December 2004
For further information, see CRS Report RL30294, Central Asia’s Security: Issues and
Implications for U.S. Interests. December 7, 1999.
safe haven in Afghanistan. In 1996, several of these states banded together with
Russia and China into a regional grouping called the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization to discuss the threat emanating from Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.
The organization groups China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and
Kyrgyzstan; Karzai attended its meeting in April 2004 signaling the likely entry of
Afghanistan into the grouping. Of the Central Asian states that border Afghanistan,
two of them — Uzbekistan and Tajikistan — had seen themselves as particularly
vulnerable to militants harbored by the Taliban. Uzbekistan saw its ally, Abdul
Rashid Dostam, the Uzbek commander in northern Afghanistan, lose most of his
influence in 1998. Prior to the U.S. war on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Uzbek
officials had said that more active support from Uzbekistan would not necessarily
have enabled Dostam to overturn Taliban control of the north.48
Uzbekistan has long asserted that the group Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
(IMU), allegedly responsible for four simultaneous February 1999 bombings in
Tashkent that nearly killed President Islam Karimov, is linked to Al Qaeda.49 One
of its leaders, Juma Namangani, reportedly was killed while commanding Taliban/Al
Qaeda forces in the battle for Mazar-e-Sharif in November 2001. Uzbekistan was
highly supportive of the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks and
placed military facilities at U.S. disposal for use in the combat against the Taliban
and Al Qaeda. About 1,000 U.S. troops from the 10th Mountain Division, as well as
U.S. aircraft, have been based at the Khanabad/Karsi air base there. Following the
fall of the Taliban, in December 2001 Uzbekistan reopened the Soviet-built
“Friendship Bridge” over the Amu Darya river in order to facilitate the flow of aid
into Uzbekistan. Uzbek officials in Tashkent told CRS in May 2002 that the defeat
of the Taliban has made them less anxious about the domestic threat from the IMU,
and press reports say the IMU has been severely weakened by its war defeats and
Tajikistan feared that its buffer with Afghanistan would disappear if the Taliban
defeated the Northern Alliance, whose territorial base borders Tajikistan. Some of
the IMU members based in Afghanistan, including Namangani, fought alongside the
Islamic opposition United Tajik Opposition (UTO) during the 1994-1997 civil war
in that country. Tajikistan, heavily influenced by Russia, whose 25,000 troops guards
the border with Afghanistan, initially sent mixed signals on the question of whether
it would give the United States the use of military facilities in Tajikistan. However,
on September 26, 2001, Moscow officially endorsed the use by the United States of
three air bases in Tajikistan, paving the way for Tajikistan to open facilities for U.S.
use, which it did formally offer in early November 2001. In July 2003, Afghanistan
and Tajikistan agreed that some Russian officers would train some Afghan military
officers in Tajikistan.
CRS conversations with Uzbek government officials in Tashkent. April 1999.
The IMU was named a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan do not directly border Afghanistan. However, IMU
guerrillas have transited Kyrgyzstan during past incursions into Uzbekistan.50
Kazakhstan had begun to diplomatically engage the Taliban over the year prior to the
September 11 attacks, but it publicly supported the U.S. war effort against the
Taliban. In early December 2001, Kyrgyzstan offered to host U.S. warplanes, and
U.S. and French aircraft, including U.S. Marine F-18 strike aircraft, have been using
part of the international airport at Manas (Peter J. Ganci base) as a base for combat
flights in Afghanistan.51 Kyrgyzstan said in March 2002 that there is no time limit
on the U.S. use of military facilities there, and about 2,000 U.S. and other OEF
personnel remain based at Manas. French aircraft withdrew in September 2002 as
the war wound down. Kazakhstan signed an agreement with the United States in July
2002 to allow coalition aircraft to use Kazakhstan’s airports in case of an emergency
or short term need related to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
Of the Central Asian states that border Afghanistan, only Turkmenistan chose
to seek close relations with the Taliban leadership when it was in power, possibly
viewing engagement as a more effective means of preventing spillover of radical
Islamic activity from Afghanistan. Turkmenistan’s leader, Saparmurad Niyazov,
saw Taliban control as facilitating construction of a natural gas pipeline from
Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, which would help Turkmenistan bring its large
gas reserves to world markets. However, the September 11 events stoked
Turkmenistan’s fears of the Taliban and its Al Qaeda guests and the country publicly
supported the U.S.-led war. No OEF forces were based in Turkmenistan.
China has a small border with a sliver of Afghanistan known as the “Wakhan
corridor” (see map) and had become increasingly concerned about the potential for
Al Qaeda to promote Islamic fundamentalism among Muslims (Uighurs) in
northwestern China. A number of Uighurs fought in Taliban and Al Qaeda ranks in
the U.S.-led war, according to U.S. military officials. China expressed its concern
through active membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as noted
above. In December 2000, sensing China’s increasing concern about Taliban
policies, a Chinese official delegation met with Mullah Umar.
Although it has long been concerned about the threat from the Taliban and bin
Laden, China did not, at first, enthusiastically support U.S. military action against the
Taliban. Many experts believe this is because China, as a result of strategic
considerations, was wary of a U.S. military buildup on its doorstep. China is an ally
with Pakistan, in part to balance out India, which China sees as a rival. Pakistan’s
cooperation with the United States appears to have allayed China’s opposition to U.S.
military action, and President Bush has praised China’s cooperation with the antiterrorism effort in his meetings with senior leaders of China.
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999, pp. 14, 92.
Some information based on CRS visit to the Manas facility in Kyrgyzstan, May 2002.
During the Soviet occupation, Saudi Arabia channeled hundreds of millions of
dollars to the Afghan resistance, primarily the Islamic fundamentalist militias of
Hikmatyar and Sayyaf. Saudi Arabia, which itself practices the strict Wahhabi brand
of Islam practiced by the Taliban, was one of three countries to formally recognize
the Taliban government. (The others are Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.)
The Taliban initially served Saudi Arabia as a potential counter to Iran, with which
Saudi Arabia has been at odds since Iran’s 1979 revolution. However, Iranian-Saudi
relations improved dramatically beginning in 1997, and balancing Iranian power
ebbed as a factor in Saudi policy toward Afghanistan.
Drawing on its intelligence ties to Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet war, Saudi
Arabia worked with Taliban leaders to persuade them to suppress anti-Saudi
activities by Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia apparently believed that Al Qaeda’s presence
in Afghanistan drew Saudi Islamic radicals away from Saudi Arabia itself and
thereby reduced their opportunity to destabilize the Saudi regime. Some press reports
indicate that, in late 1998, Saudi and Taliban leaders discussed, but did not agree on,
a plan for a panel of Saudi and Afghan Islamic scholars to decide bin Laden’s fate.
Other reports, however, say that Saudi Arabia refused an offer from Sudan in 1996
to extradite bin Laden to his homeland on the grounds that he could become a
rallying point for opposition to the regime. In March 2000 and again in May 2000,
the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) sponsored indirect peace
talks in Saudi Arabia between the warring factions.
According to U.S. officials, Saudi Arabia generally cooperated with the U.S.
war effort. Along with the UAE, Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations with the
Taliban in late September 2001. It quietly permitted the United States to use a Saudi
base for command of U.S. air operations over Afghanistan, but it did not permit U.S.
aircraft to launch strikes in Afghanistan from Saudi bases. The Saudi position has
generally been to allow the United States the use of its facilities as long as doing so
is not publicly requested or highly publicized.
Residual Issues From Afghanistan’s Conflicts
A few issues remain unresolved from Afghanistan’s many years of conflict.
Among them are the “Stinger” anti-aircraft missiles provided to the mujahedin during
the Soviet occupation, and the elimination of land mines.
Stinger Retrieval. Beginning in late 1985 and following an internal debate,
the Reagan Administration provided “hundreds” of man-portable “Stinger” antiaircraft missiles to the mujahedin for use against Soviet combat helicopters and
aircraft. Prior to the U.S.-led war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, common
estimates among experts suggested that 200-300 Stingers remained at large in
Afghanistan out of about 1,000 provided during the war against the Soviet Union.52
The Stinger issue resurfaced in conjunction with the U.S. war effort, when U.S.
Saleem, Farrukh. “Where Are the Missing Stinger Missiles? Pakistan,” Friday Times.
August 17-23, 2001.
pilots reported that the Taliban fired some Stingers at U.S. aircraft during the war,
but they recorded no hits. Any Stingers that survived the anti-Taliban war were
controlled by Afghans now allied to the United States and presumably posed less of
a threat. However, there are continued concerns that remaining Stingers could be
sold to terrorists for use against civilian airliners and the United States has tried to
retrieve those remaining. In February 2002, the Afghan government found and
returned to the United States “dozens” of Stingers.53 Estimates in the press say about
50-70 Stingers remain unaccounted for.
In the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States
had tried to retrieve the at-large Stingers.54 Iran bought 16 of the missiles in 1987
and fired one against U.S. helicopters; some reportedly were transferred to Lebanese
Hizballah, according to press reports in January 2002. India claimed that it was a
Stinger, supplied to Islamic rebels in Kashmir probably by sympathizers in
Afghanistan, that shot down an Indian helicopter over Kashmir in May 1999.55 It was
not the Stinger but Soviet-made SA-7 “Strella” man portable launchers that were
fired, allegedly by Al Qaeda, against a U.S. military aircraft in Saudi Arabia in June
2002 and against an Israeli passenger aircraft in Kenya on November 30, 2002. Both
firings missed their targets. SA-7s have been discovered in Afghanistan by U.S.-led
forces, most recently in December 2002.
The practical difficulties of retrieving the weapons had caused this issue to fade
from the U.S. agenda for Afghanistan during the 1990s. In 1992, the United States
reportedly spent about $10 million to buy the Stingers back, at a premium, from
individual mujahedin commanders. The New York Times reported on July 24, 1993,
that the buy back effort failed because the United States was competing with other
buyers, including Iran and North Korea, and that the CIA would spend about $55
million in FY1994 in a renewed Stinger buy-back effort. On March 7, 1994, the
Washington Post reported that the CIA had recovered only a fraction of the at-large
Stingers. Many observers speculate that the CIA program retrieved perhaps 50 or
100 of them.
Mine Eradication. Land mines laid during the Soviet occupation constitute
one of the principal dangers to the Afghan people. The United Nations estimates that
5 -7 million mines remain scattered throughout the country, although some estimates
by outside organizations are significantly lower. An estimated 400,000 Afghans have
been killed or wounded by land mines. U.N. teams have succeeded in destroying one
million mines and are now focusing on de-mining priority-use, residential and
commercial property, including land surrounding Kabul. As shown in the U.S. aid
table for FY1999-FY2002, the United States Humanitarian Demining Program was
providing about $3 million per year for Afghanistan demining activities, and the
amount has escalated to about $7 million in the post-Taliban period. Most of the
Fullerton, John. “Afghan Authorities Hand in Stinger Missiles to U.S.” Reuters,
February 4, 2002.
Gertz, Bill. “Stinger Bite Feared in CIA.” Washington Times, October 9, 2000.
“U.S.-Made Stinger Missiles — Mobile and Lethal.” Reuters, May 28, 1999.
funds go to the HALO Trust, a British organization, and the U.N. Mine Action
Program for Afghanistan.
Providing Resources to the
Since the Soviet invasion, Afghanistan has faced major humanitarian
difficulties, some of which deteriorated further under Taliban rule. In addition to 3.6
million Afghan refugees at the start of the U.S.-led war,56 another 500,000 Afghans
were displaced internally even before U.S. military action began, according to
Secretary General Annan’s April 19, 2001, report on Afghanistan. Many of the
displaced persons had fled the effects of a major drought that affected the 85% of the
population that directly depends on agriculture. The conflicts in Afghanistan,
including the war against the Soviet Union, left about 2 million dead, 700,000
widows and orphans and about one million Afghan children who were born and
raised in refugee camps outside Afghanistan. However, over 3 million Afghan
refugees have returned since January 2002. A variety of U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) serve as the vehicles for international assistance
to Afghanistan. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) supervises
Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and Afghan repatriation.
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan
During the 1990s, the United States became the largest single provider of
assistance to the Afghan people, even during Taliban rule. No U.S. aid went directly
to the Taliban government; monies were provided through recognized NGO’s and
relief organizations. During 1985-1994, the United States did have a cross-border
aid program for Afghanistan, through which aid was distributed in Afghanistan via
U.S. aid workers in Pakistan. However, citing the difficulty of administering a
cross-border program, there was no USAID mission for Afghanistan from the end
of FY1994 until the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in late 2001. Table 1 breaks
down FY1999-FY2002 aid by program. For a history of U.S. aid to Afghanistan
prior to 1999 (FY1978-FY1998), see Table 3. (It should be noted that, in some
cases, aid figures are subject to variation depending on how that aid is measured.
The figures below might not exactly match figures in appropriated legislation; in
some funds were added to specified accounts from monies in the September 11related Emergency Response Fund.)
Post-Taliban/FY2002. On October 4, 2001, in an effort to demonstrate that
the United States had an interest in the welfare of the Afghan people and not just the
defeat of the Taliban, President Bush announced that humanitarian aid to the Afghan
people would total about $320 million for FY2002. After the fall of the Taliban, at
a donors’ conference in Tokyo during January 20-21, 2002, the United States pledged
$296 million in reconstruction aid for Afghanistan for FY2002. The amounts
About 1.5 million Afghan refugees were in Iran; 2 million in Pakistan; 20,000 in Russia;
17,000 in India, and 9,000 in the Central Asian states.
provided for FY2002 are listed in the table below; the figures include both
humanitarian and reconstruction aid, totaling over $815 million for FY2002, which
includes Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds devoted to the establishment and
training of the Afghan National Army.
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002. An authorization bill, S.
2712, the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, was passed by the Senate on
November 14 and by the House on November 15, and signed on December 4, 2002
(P.L. 107-327). It authorized the following:
$60 million in total counter-narcotics assistance ($15 million per
year for FY2003-FY2006);
$30 million in assistance for political development, including
national, regional, and local elections ($10 million per year for
$80 million total to benefit women and for Afghan human rights
oversight ($15 million per year for FY2003-FY2006 for the Afghan
Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and $5 million per year for FY20032006 to the National Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan);
$1.7 billion in humanitarian and development aid ($425 million per
year for FY2003-FY2006);
$300 million for an Enterprise Fund;
$300 million in draw-downs of defense articles and services for
Afghanistan and regional militaries; and
$1 billion ($500 million per year for FY2003-FY2004) to expand
ISAF if such an expansion takes place.
The total authorization, for all categories for all years, is $3.47 billion. For the
most part, the humanitarian, counter-narcotics, and governance assistance targets
authorized by the act have been met or exceeded by successive appropriations.
However, no Enterprise Funds have been appropriated, and ISAF expansion, to the
extent it has occurred, has been funded by ISAF contributing nations, not U.S.
Proposed September 11 Commission-Related Amendments. Some
legislative proposals to implement the recommendations of the September 11
Commission focus on accelerating efforts to stabilize and reconstruct Afghanistan.
S. 2845, the version of legislation to implement the Commission recommendations,
passed by both chambers in December 2004, contains a subtitle called “The
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act Amendments of 2004.” The subtitle mandates the
appointment of a U.S. coordinator of policy on Afghanistan and contains provisions
requiring additional Administration reports to Congress on progress in
reconstruction. The subtitle also contains several “sense of Congress” provisions
recommending more rapid DDR activities (see above); expansion of ISAF; and new
initiatives to combat narcotics trafficking. The subtitle also eliminates precise dollar
authorizations for U.S. aid to Afghanistan for FY2005 and FY2006, authorizing
instead “such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2005 and 2006.”
FY2003. The Administration provided about $740 million in assistance to
Afghanistan in FY2003, close to the pledge announced on March 17, 2003, at a
donors forum for Afghanistan, held in Brussels. As part of the FY2003 program, the
United States spent $100 million on road reconstruction, as part of an international
pledge of $180 million, primarily for the Kabul-Qandahar road. Table 2 covers
FY2003 aid as appropriated in the regular FY2003 foreign aid appropriations (P.L.
108-7 omnibus appropriations), which earmarked at least $295 million in aid to
Afghanistan, and the FY2003 supplemental appropriations (H.R. 1559, P.L. 108-11).
FY2004. The Administration is providing about $1.9 billion for Afghanistan
in FY2004, in both regular (H.R. 2673, P.L. 108-199) and supplemental
appropriations (P.L. 108-106). Table 3 below contains a chart of FY2004 assistance
to Afghanistan.57 As noted, most of the FY2004 were provided in a supplemental
appropriation, requested to help accelerate reconstruction and expand the capabilities
and effectiveness of the Kabul government. The purposes and results of some of the
aid provided in that supplemental are discussed under the issue categories analyzed
in the previous sections of this paper. The FY2004 supplemental request also asked
that the $300 million limit on military drawdowns from DOD stocks enacted in the
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-327) be increased to $600
million. The FY2004 supplemental conference report increased the level to $450
FY2005. On February 2, 2004, the Administration sent to Congress its
proposed budget for FY2005. The $929 million request for Afghanistan asks for
funding in the following categories:
$150 million in development assistance (DA), including agriculture
($45 million), private sector investment ($31 million), environment
($28 million), primary education ($24 million), child and maternal
health ($13 million), reproductive health ($7 million), and
democracy building ($20 million);
$ 225 million in security assistance (ESF), including assistance to
Afghanistan’s governing institutions;
$400 million in FMF for the Afghan National Army;
$800,00 in International Military Education and Training (IMET)
funds to train Afghan officers in democratic values;
$90 million for police and judicial training and counter-narcotics;
$17.45 million for non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining, and
related programs, including Karzai protection; and
$24 million for peacekeeping, including salaries of ANA soldiers in
In FY2005 foreign aid legislation, H.R. 4818 (P.L. 108-447) appropriates $980
million in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan, plus $6 million
in child and maternal health. As noted above, the law earmarks $50 million of those
funds for programs that benefit Afghan women and girls. From the funds
Much of this section was taken from CRS Report RL31811, Appropriations for FY2004:
Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.
appropriated, the law also earmarks $2 million for reforestation and $2 million for
the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
Additional Forms of U.S. Assistance. In addition to providing U.S.
foreign assistance, since 2002 the U.S. Treasury Department (Office of Foreign
Assets Control, OFAC) has unblocked over $145 million in assets of Afghan
government-owned banking entities that were frozen under U.S. sanctions imposed
on the Taliban in 1999 (see below). These funds have been used by the new
government for currency stabilization, not for recurring costs of the interim
government. Most of the funds consisted of gold that is held in Afghanistan’s name
in the United States to back up Afghanistan’s currency. Together with its allies, over
$350 million in frozen funds have been released to the new government. In January
2002, the United States agreed to provide $50 million in credit for U.S. investment
in Afghanistan, provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
On March 7, 2003, OPIC pledged an additional $50 million, bringing the total line
of credit to $100 million. The United States also has successfully pressed the
International Air Transport Association to pay Afghanistan $20 million in overflight
fees that were withheld because of U.N. sanctions on the Taliban. In April 2002,
OFAC unblocked $17 million in privately-owned Afghan assets.
World Bank/Asian Development Bank. In May 2002, the World Bank
reopened its office in Afghanistan after twenty years and, on March 12, 2003, it
announced a $108 million loan to Afghanistan, the first since 1979. In August 2003,
the World Bank agreed to lend Afghanistan an additional $30 million to rehabilitate
the telecommunications system, and $30 million for road and drainage rehabilitation
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been playing a major role in
Afghanistan and has pledged $800 million in loans and grants and $200 million in
project insurance for Afghanistan. Since December 2002, the bank has loaned
Afghanistan $372 million of road reconstruction, fiscal management and governance,
and agricultural development. The Bank has also granted Afghanistan about $90
million for power projects, agriculture reform, roads, and rehabilitation of the energy
sector. One of its major projects in Afghanistan was funding the paving of a road
from Qandahar to the border with Pakistan. On December 16, 2004, the Bank
approved an additional loan of $80 million to restore and improve key sections of the
International Reconstruction Pledges.
Common estimates of
reconstruction needs run up to about $10 billion. At the Tokyo donors’ conference,
mentioned above, the following international reconstruction pledges were announced:
European Union, $495 million in 2002; Japan, $500 million over the next 30 months;
Germany, $362 million over the next four years; Saudi Arabia, $220 million over the
next three years; Iran, $560 million over the next five years; Pakistan, $100 million
over the next five years; India, a $100 million line of credit; South Korea, $45
million over 30 months; and United Kingdom, $86 million in 2002. Total pledges
in Tokyo for reconstruction amounted to $2 billion for 2002 and $4.5 billion over
the next five years. Of the amounts pledged for 2002, about $2 billion was spent or
received. In March 2003, the EU announced a $410 million donation for 2003-2004.
This is in addition to its contribution, noted above, for 2002.
During March 31 - April 1, 2004, international donors met in Berlin and pledged
$8.2 billion for Afghanistan for 2004-2006, of which about $4.5 billion is to be
provided in 2004. The United States committed about $2.9 for the whole period,
which includes the $1.2 billion planned for U.S. FY2005.58 Afghan leaders had said
before the meeting that Afghanistan needs $27.5 billion for reconstruction over the
next seven years, but they said they were satisfied with the Berlin outcome. Other
pledges for 2004-2006 included European Union ($2.2 billion); Canada (200
million); Japan ($400 million); World Bank loans ($900 million); Asia Development
Bank loans ($560 million); India ($225 million), and Iran ($155 million).
Domestically Generated Funds. Obtaining control over revenues has been
a key U.S. and Kabul goal. In May 2003, Karzai threatened to resign if the regional
governors did not remit some of their privately collected customs revenue to the
central government. Twelve regional leaders did so, subsequently remitting nearly
$100 million to Kabul. Kabul raised internally about $210 million of its $600
million budget for the fiscal year ending March 2004. Karzai has sought to reassure
international donors by establishing a transparent budget and planning process.
Promoting Long Term Economic Development. In an effort to find a
long-term solution to Afghanistan’s acute humanitarian problems, the United States
has, when feasible, tried to promote major development projects as a means of
improving Afghan living standards and political stability over the long term. During
1996-98, the Clinton Administration supported proposed natural gas and oil pipelines
through western Afghanistan as an incentive for the warring factions to cooperate.
One proposal by a consortium led by Los Angeles-based Unocal Corporation59 was
for a Central Asia Oil Pipeline (CAOP) that would originate at the TurkmenistanUzbekistan border and extend through the western region of Afghanistan to Pakistan.
A $2.5 billion Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CentGas) would originate in southern
Turkmenistan and pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan, with possible extensions
The deterioration in U.S.-Taliban relations after 1998 largely ended hopes for
the pipeline projects while the Taliban was in power. Immediately after the August
20,1998 U.S. strikes on bin Laden’s bases in Afghanistan, Unocal suspended all its
Afghan pipeline-related activities, including a U.S.-based training program for
Afghans who were expected to work on the project. With few prospects of improved
U.S. relations with Taliban, Unocal withdrew from its consortium in December 1998.
Saudi Delta Oil was made interim project leader, although Delta lacked the financing
and technology to make the consortium viable. The rival consortium led by Bridas
of Argentina reportedly continued to try to win approval for its proposal to undertake
Afghanistan’s Top Donors To Pledge Nine Billion Dollars - Report. Agence France
Presse, March 11, 2004.
Other participants in the Unocal consortium include Delta of Saudi Arabia, Hyundai of
South Korea, Crescent Steel of Pakistan, Itochu Corporation and INPEX of Japan, and the
government of Turkmenistan. Some accounts say Russia’s Gazprom would probably
receive a stake in the project. Moscow Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 30, 1997. Page 3.
Prospects for the project have improved in the post-Taliban period. In a summit
meeting in late May 2002 between the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and
Pakistan, the three countries agreed to revive the gas pipeline project. Sponsors of
the project held an inaugural meeting on July 9, 2002 in Turkmenistan, signing a
series of preliminary agreements. However, financing for the project is unclear.
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. The United States is
trying to build on Afghanistan’s post-war economic rebound. The Afghan economy
grew 30% in 2002, 25% in 2003, and it is expected to grow 20% in 2004, according
to Karzai. Following a meeting with Karzai on June 15, 2004, President Bush
announced the United States and Afghanistan would negotiate a bilateral trade and
investment framework agreement (TIFA). These agreements are generally seen as
a prelude to a broader but more complex bilateral free trade agreement. On
December 13, 2004, the 148 countries of the World Trade Organization voted to start
membership talks with Afghanistan.
Lifting of U.S. and International Sanctions.
Shori n g u p a postTaliban government of Afghanistan with financial and other assistance has required
waivers of restrictions or the permanent modification of U.S. and U.N. sanctions
previously imposed on Afghanistan. Most of the sanctions discussed below have
now been lifted.
On May 2, 1980, Afghanistan was deleted from the list of designated
beneficiary countries under the U.S. Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP), denying Afghanistan’s exports duty free
treatment, by Executive Order 12204 (45 F.R. 20740). This was
done under the authority of Section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974, as
amended [P.L. 93-618; 19 U.S.C. 2464]. On January 10, 2003, the
President signed a proclamation making Afghanistan a beneficiary
of GSP, eliminating U.S. tariffs on 5,700 Afghan products.
On June 3, 1980, as part of the sanctions against the Soviet Union
for the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States imposed controls
on exports to Afghanistan of agricultural products, oil and gas
exploration and production equipment, and phosphates. This was
implemented at 15 CFR Part 373 et seq (45 F.R. 37415) under the
authority of Sections 5 and 6 of the Export Administration Act of
1979 [P.L. 96-72; 50 U.S.C. app. 2404, app. 2405]. On April 24,
1981, these sanctions were modified to terminate controls on U.S.
exports to Afghanistan of agricultural products and phosphates.
In mid-1992, the George H.W. Bush Administration determined that
Afghanistan no longer had a “Soviet-controlled government.” This
opened Afghanistan to the use of U.S. funds made available for the
U.S. share of U.N. organizations that provide assistance to
On October 7, 1992, President George H.W. Bush issued
Presidential Determination 93-3 that Afghanistan is no longer a
Marxist-Leninist country. The designation as such a country had
prohibited Afghanistan from receiving Export-Import Bank
guarantees, insurance, or credits for purchases under Sec. 8 of the
1986 Export-Import Bank Act, which amended Section 2(b)(2) of
the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 (P.L. 79-173, 12 U.S.C. 635).
However, President George H.W. Bush’s determination was not
implemented before he left office.
President George H.W. Bush’s October 7, 1992 determination (933) also found that assistance to Afghanistan under Section 620D of
the Foreign Assistance Act is in the national interest of the United
States because of the change of regime in Afghanistan. The
presidential determination, had it been implemented in regulations,
would have waived restrictions on assistance to Afghanistan
provided for in the act, as amended [P.L. 87-195; 22 U.S.C. 2374];
as added by Section 505 of the International Development
Cooperation Act of 1979 [P.L. 96-53]. These provisions prohibit
foreign assistance to Afghanistan until it apologizes for the death of
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Adolph Dubs, who was kidnapped
in Kabul in 1979 and killed when Afghan police stormed the hideout
where he was held, unless the President determines that such
assistance is in the national interest because of changed
circumstances in Afghanistan. This restriction has consistently
been waived since the fall of the Taliban. A provision of S. 2845,
passed by both chambers, repeals this restriction outright.
Section 552 of the Foreign Assistance Appropriations for FY1986
[P.L. 99-190] authorized the President to deny any U.S. credits or
most-favored-nation (MFN) tariff status for Afghanistan. Under that
law, on February 18, 1986, the height of the Soviet occupation,
President Reagan had issued Presidential Proclamation 5437,
suspending (MFN) tariff status for Afghanistan (51 F.R. 4287). On
May 3, 2002, President Bush restored normal trade treatment to the
products of Afghanistan.
On March 31, 1993, President Clinton, on national interest grounds,
waived restrictions provided for in Section 481 (h) of the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961, as amended [P.L. 87-195]; as amended and
restated by Section 2005(a) of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986
[P.L. 99-570]. The waiver was renewed in 1994. Mandatory
sanctions include bilateral aid cuts and suspensions, including denial
of Ex-Im Bank credits; the casting of negative U.S. votes for
multilateral development bank loans; and a non-allocation of a U.S.
sugar quota. Discretionary sanctions included denial of GSP;
additional duties on country exports to the United States; and
curtailment of air transportation with the United States. On
February 25, 2002, President Bush waived restrictions on FY2002
aid to Afghanistan under this Act.
On June 14, 1996, Afghanistan was formally added to the list of
countries prohibited from receiving exports or licenses for exports
of U.S. defense articles and services. This amended the International
Traffic in Arms Regulations (22 CFR Part 121 et seq.) under the
authority of Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended
(P.L. 90-629; 22 U.S.C. 2778) by adding Afghanistan at Section
126.1 of 22 CFR Part 126. On July 2, 2002, the State Department
amended U.S. regulations (22 CFR Part 126) to allow arms sales to
the new Afghan government.
In a ruling largely redundant with the one above, on May 15, 1997,
the State Department designated Afghanistan under the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (P.L. 104132), as a state that is not cooperating with U.S. anti-terrorism
efforts. The designation, made primarily because of Taliban’s
harboring of bin Laden, makes Afghanistan ineligible to receive U.S.
exports of items on the U.S. Munitions List. The designation was
repeated every year since 1997. Afghanistan was deleted from the
list of non-cooperative states when the list was reissued on May 15,
2002, thereby eliminating this sanction on Afghanistan.
On July 4, 1999, the President declared a national emergency with
respect to Taliban because of its hosting of bin Laden, and issued
Executive Order 13129 that imposed sanctions. The sanctions
include the blocking of Taliban assets and property in the United
States, and a ban on U.S. trade with Taliban-controlled areas of
Afghanistan. On August 10, 1999, the Administration determined
that Ariana Afghan Airlines was a Taliban entity.
determination triggered a blocking of Ariana assets (about $500,000)
in the United States and a ban on U.S. citizens’ flying on the airline.
On January 29, 2002, the State Department issued a determination
that the Taliban controls no territory within Afghanistan, thus
essentially ending this trade ban. On July 2, 2002, President Bush
formally revoked this executive order.
On October 15, 1999, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution
1267; on December 19, 2000, it adopted U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1333, imposed a number of new sanctions against the
Taliban. For the provisions of these sanctions, see the section on the
harboring of bin Laden. As noted, these sanctions were narrowed to
penalize only Al Qaeda by virtue of the adoption of U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1390 of January 17, 2002.
Table 1. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan in FY1999-FY2002
($ in millions)
U.S. Department of
and USAID Food For
Peace (FFP), via
and Migration (PRM)
via UNHCR and
Office of Foreign
Aid to Afghan
Refugees in Pakistan
$42.0 worth of
Iran, and to
$7.0 to various
NGO’s to aid
tons for May
Title II, and
$14.03 for the
$7.0 to Halo
went to similar
Office of Transition
Dept. of Defense
$50.9 ( 2.4
Table 2. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan, FY2003
($ in millions, same acronyms as above table)
From the FY2003 Foreign Aid Appropriations (P.L. 108-7)
Non-Proliferation, Demining, AntiTerrorism (NADR)
Total from this law:
From the FY2003 Supplemental (P.L. 108-11)
($100 million for Kabul-Qandahar road;
$plus 10 million for provincial
reconstruction teams; and $57 million for
operational support to Afghan
(to train Afghan national army)
Total from this law:
Total for FY2003:
Table 3. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004
($ in millions, same acronyms as previous tables)
From the FY2004 Supplemental (P.L. 108-106)
Disarmament, Demobilization, and
Reintegration (DDR program)
Support to Afghan government
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs)
Private Sector/Power Generation
Afghan National Army
Total from this law:
From the FY2004 Regular Appropriation (P.L. 108-199)
(includes earmarks of $2 million for
reforestation; $2 million for the Afghan
Judicial Reform Commission; $5 million
for Afghan women; and $2 million for
aid to communities and victims of U.S.
Total from this law:
Total for FY2004
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998
(Title I and II)
(Soviet invasion - December 1979)
(Incl. Regional Total
Source: U.S. Department of State.
* Includes $3 million for demining and $1.2 million for counternarcotics.
** Includes $3.3 million in projects targeted for Afghan women and girls, $7 million in earthquake
relief aid, 100,000 tons of 416B wheat worth about $15 million, $2 million for demining, and
$1.54 for counternarcotics.
Table 5. Major Factions in Afghanistan
Muhammad Umar Pashtun
groups, mostly in the
south and east. No
official presence in
Islamic Society (dominant Burhannudin
party in the “Northern
Rabbani (political Islamic,
Fahim ( Vice
Much of northern
Ismail Khan (part of
Herat Province and
removed as Herat
Eastern Shura (Council)
No clear leader,
after death of
Abdul Qadir; son Pashtun
succeeded him as
environs; Qadir was
Movement of Afghanistan Dostam
secular, Uzbek Mazar-e-Sharif and
was deputy defense
minister in interim
Karim Khalili (a
headed by Hamid
Small groups around
Jalalabad and in the
No clear regional
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan