Order Code RL30588
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Afghanistan: Post-War Governance,
Security, and U.S. Policy
March 31, 2005
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’s stabilization appears to be gathering strength, about three years
after the U.S.-led war that brought the current government to power. Successful
presidential elections held on October 9, 2004 appear to be accelerating political and
economic reconstruction, and the insurgency led by remnants of the former Taliban
regime has been diminishing significantly. The report of the 9/11 Commission
recommended a long-term commitment to a secure and stable Afghanistan.
Legislation passed in December 2004 to implement those recommendations (P.L.
108-458) contains provisions on Afghanistan, although most of these
recommendations had already formed a major part of U.S. policy 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, and women are participating in economic and
political life, a point highlighted during First Lady Laura Bush’s visit to Afghanistan
on March 29, 2005. Political reconstruction is slowly following the route laid out
by major Afghan factions and the international community during the U.S.-led war.
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 the presidential elections to be
postponed until October 9, 2004. Parliamentary and provincial elections are
postponed until September 18, 2005, with district elections put off until 2006. The
presidential elections were held amid high turnout and minimal violence; interim
president Karzai was declared first-round winner on November 3, 2004. A new
cabinet was sworn in December 27, 2004.
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 and its security forces. 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.
Approximately 18,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan to continue to combat the
Taliban-led insurgency. To build security institutions and assist reconstruction, the
United States gave Afghanistan a total of almost $1.8 billion for FY2004, most of
which was provided in a supplemental appropriation (P.L. 108-106). Aside from
U.S. military costs, over $4 billion in additional security and reconstruction funds are
requested in a FY2005 supplemental and the regular FY2006 foreign aid request.
This paper will be updated as warranted by major developments. See also CRS
Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Presidential and Parliamentary Elections; CRS
Report RL32686, Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy; and CRS Report
RL32783, FY2005 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan, Tsunami
Relief, and Other Activities.
Background to Recent Developments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Rise of the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Clinton Administration Relations with the Taliban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The “Northern Alliance” Anti-Taliban Coalition: Rabbani, Masud,
Dostam, and Sayyaf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
September 11 Attacks and Operation Enduring Freedom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Post-War Stabilization Efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
The Bonn Conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
The 2002 “Emergency” Loya Jirga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Permanent Constitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
National Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Key Obstacles to the Transition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Local Militias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Weak Central Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Narcotics Trafficking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Economic Reconstruction Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Rule of Law/Human Rights Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Advancement of Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Post-War Security Operations and Force Capacity Building . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Counter-Insurgency/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) . . . . . . . . . . 23
International Security Force (ISAF)/NATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Afghan National Army (ANA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) . . . . . . . . . 30
Regional Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Pakistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Russia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Central Asian States . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Saudi Arabia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Residual Issues from Past Conflicts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Stinger Retrieval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Mine Eradication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
Providing Resources to the Afghan Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Post-Taliban/FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
FY2005 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
FY2005 Supplemental and FY2006 Regular Request . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Additional Forms of U.S. Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
World Bank/Asian Development Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
International Reconstruction Pledges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Domestically Generated Funds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Promoting Long-Term Economic Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and WTO
Membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Lifting of U.S. and International Sanctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
List of Tables
Table 1. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan, FY1999-FY2002 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Table 2. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan, FY2003 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Table 3. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY2004 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Table 4. U.S. Assistance to Afghanistan, FY1978-FY1998 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Table 5. ISAF Contributing Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Table 6. Major Factions in Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
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 from 1933 to 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 presiding 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 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 regions remained largely
under mujahedin control. The mujahedin benefited 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
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 capacity 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 FY1986-FY1990. 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.3
The term refers to an Islamic guerrilla; literally “one who fights in the cause of Islam.”
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. See “Country Fact Sheet:
Afghanistan,” in U.S. Department of State Dispatch, vol. 5, no. 23 (June 6, 1994), p. 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 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 (1992-1996) of
civil war among the mujahedin destroyed much of Kabul and created popular support
for the Taliban as a movement that could deliver Afghanistan from the factional
infighting. Hikmatyar was later ousted by the Taliban from his power base 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 insurgents.
The Rise of the Taliban4
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
practitioners of an orthodox form of Sunni 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. 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 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
Rabbani and Masud to their Panjshir Valley redoubt north of Kabul with most of
their 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 59 years old, fled Qandahar city when the Taliban surrendered
it on December 9, 2001. (He is still at large.)
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.
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
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.
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. In May 1999, the Senate
passed a resolution (S.Res. 68) calling on the President not to recognize any Afghan
government that discriminates against women.
In what most observers consider one of its most extreme actions, 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 AD. 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.
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 and the United States and the Taliban had
become 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 hosting of Al
Qaeda’s leadership had become the Clinton Administration’s overriding bilateral
agenda item with Afghanistan.5 During an April 1998 visit to Afghanistan, then
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. 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,6 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, because domestic U.S. support for those steps was
then lacking and because the Taliban’s opponents were considered too weak and not
consistent with U.S. values.
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.
On August 20, 1998, the United States fired cruise missiles at alleged bin Ladencontrolled terrorist training camps in retaliation for the embassy bombings in Kenya and
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, prohibiting the
provision of arms or military advice to the Taliban (directed against
reduction of Taliban diplomatic
representation abroad; and banning 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 “Northern Alliance” Anti-Taliban Coalition: Rabbani,
Masud, Dostam, and Sayyaf
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,
who led the Tajik core of the anti-Taliban opposition. The Tajiks of the Alliance
was located not only in the north but also in western Afghanistan near the Iranian
border. Those in the west were led by Ismail Khan.7 The groups discussed below
joined with the Tajiks into a broader “Northern Alliance :”
Uzbeks/General Dostam. 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
Khan regained the governorship of his former stronghold in and around Herat after the
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 all three, often resulting in minor
clashes, most recently in October 2003, in which both sides
reportedly used heavy weaponry. Largely because of the tensions,
Dostam was hesitant in the post-war period to surrender his heavy
weaponry to central government/international forces. His concerns
faded as heavy weapon disarmament countrywide gained momentum
in late 2004. To ease factional tensions, in July 2004, President
Hamid Karzai appointed Atta governor of Balkh province to curb his
role as militia commander. Dostam was a candidate for president in
the October 9, 2004 elections; in March 2005 Karzai appointed him
as his chief of staff for military affairs.
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. Mohaqiq, mentioned above, ran in the
October 2004 presidential election.
Another former 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 conservative brand of Sunni Islam (“Wahhabism”).
During the U.S.-backed war against the Soviet occupation, Sayyaf’s
mujahedin faction, along with that of Hikmatyar, was a principal
recipient of U.S.-supplied weaponry. Both criticized the U.S.-led
war against Saddam Hussein after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
The similarity of Sayyaf’s ideology to that of the Taliban partly
explains why many of Sayyaf’s fighters defected to the Taliban
movement during its ascendancy. Despite that similarity, Sayyaf
joined the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. Sayyaf is
retaining some militia fighters and he is said to want to exercise
major influence over the judiciary in the post-presidential election
government. Many Afghans believe his Islamic orthodoxy would
slow modernization of the judiciary and hinder an expansion of
Bush Administration Policy Pre-September 11, 2001
Bush Administration policy did not much initially differ from Clinton
Administration policy — applying pressure short of military action against the
Taliban, while retaining some dialogue with it. Prior to the September 11, 2001
attacks, the Bush Administration did not provide the Northern Alliance with U.S.
military assistance, although the 9/11 Commission report says that, in the months
prior to the September 11 attacks, the Administration was coming to consensus on
taking such a step. The Commission report says some Administration officials
wanted to also assist Pashtun forces opposed to the Taliban, and not just the
Northern Alliance; other covert options might have been under consideration as
Even before the September 11 attacks, the Administration did step up
engagement with Pakistan in an effort to persuade it to end 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. 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 Northern Alliance was
unable 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. He was
successor by his intelligence chief, Muhammad Fahim, a veteran figure but who
lacks Masud’s charisma or 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 immediately
extradite bin Laden. The Bush Administration decided that a friendly regime in
Drogin, Bob. U.S. Had Plan for Covert Afghan Options Before 9/11. Los Angeles Times,
May 18, 2002.
Kabul was needed to create the conditions under which U.S. forces could eliminate
Al Qaeda activists from Afghanistan and deny it a base of operations. The decision
received virtually universal support in Congress. S.J.Res.23 (P.L. 107-40), which
authorized “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations,
or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist
attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such organizations or
persons...” passed both chambers with no opposing votes cast (98-0 in the Senate, no
objections in the House). 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).
The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF) began on
October 7, 2001. The major combat phase of OEF consisted primarily of U.S.
airstrikes on Taliban and Al Qaeda forces, coupled with targeting by relatively small
numbers (about 1,000) 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 to pressure the Taliban
around Qandahar at the height of the fighting ( October-December 2001), but there
were few pitched battles between U.S. and Taliban soldiers. Most of the ground
combat was between Taliban units and Afghan opposition militias. Some critics
believe that U.S. dependence on the use of local Afghan militia forces in OEF
strengthened the militias’ subsequent assertions of independence.
The Taliban regime unraveled rapidly after it lost Mazar-e-Sharif to Dostam on
November 9, 2001. 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 collapse in the
north was followed by its loss of control of southern and eastern Afghanistan to proU.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 in
the south after another Pashtun leader, Abdul Haq, entered Afghanistan in October
2001 without coordination with or support from U.S. forces; he was captured and
killed by the Taliban. As the Taliban collapsed, 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. Smaller operations against
Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants continue, as discussed below.
Post-War Stabilization Efforts9
The war paved the way for the success of an eight year long U.N. effort to form
a broad-based Afghan government. The United Nations was viewed as a credible
mediator by all sides largely because of its role in ending the Soviet occupation, but
some observers criticized U.S. policy as being insufficiently engaged to bring about
a settlement. Proposals from a succession of U.N. mediators 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. One U.N.
mediator, Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi suspended his efforts in frustration
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.10) 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; it held
meetings during 1997 and 1998 in Bonn, Frankfurt, Istanbul, and Ankara. Another
group was centered around former King Zahir Shah (“Rome Grouping”), and a third
grouping, the “Cyprus Process,” consisted of other Afghan exiles.
The Bonn Conference. Immediately after the September 11 attacks,
Brahimi was brought back as U.N. mediator. 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. In late
November 2001, after Kabul had fallen, the United Nations invited delegates of the
major Afghan factions — most prominently the Northern Alliance and that of the
former King — to a conference Bonn, Germany. The Taliban was not invited. On
December 5, 2001, the factions signed the “Bonn Agreement,” which
formed a 30-member interim administration to govern until the
holding in June 2002 of a loya jirga, to be opened by the former
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, Afghanistan Reconstruction, GAO-04-403 (June 2004).
Federal Register, vol. 61, no. 125 (June 27, 1996), p. 33313.
King. That meeting would choose a government to run Afghanistan
until a new constitution is approved and national elections held in
June 2004. Hamid Karzai was selected to chair the interim
administration, weighted heavily (17 out of 30 of the positions)
toward the Northern Alliance. This bloc held 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. It was
agreed that, in the interim, Afghanistan would abide by the
constitution of 1964.11
An international peace keeping force would be formed 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 (December 20, 2001).12
Hamid Karzai and His Governing Style. President 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, some of his several brothers
lived in the United States. 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 which reflected Afghanistan’s
ethnic and factional balance. Northern Alliance military leader Fahim remained as
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.
Text of Bonn agreement at [http://www.runiceurope.org/german/frieden/afghanistan/talks/
Defense Minister and acquired the additional title of vice president. The loya jirga
did not establish a parliament.
Permanent Constitution. After the loya jirga, the process of drafting a
permanent constitution began. A 35-member constitutional commission, appointed
in October 2002, drafted the document, and it was publicly unveiled in November
2003. It was debated by 502 delegates, selected in U.N.-run caucuses, at a
“constitutional loya jirga (CLJ)” during December 13, 2003 - January 4, 2004. The
CLJ, chaired by Islamic scholar and former mujahedin party (Afghan National
Liberation Front) leader Sibghatullah Mojadeddi, 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 drafting
process or at the CLJ. The Alliance had wanted to set up a prime minister-ship as
a check on presidential power, but that was not included in the draft out of broad
concerns that a prime minister might emerge as a rival to the presidency.13 As an
alternative, the Northern Alliance sought a strong elected parliament.14 At the CLJ,
some additional powers were given to the parliament, such as veto power over senior
official nominees. Some experts believe that setting up a strong presidency places
undue weight on Karzai’s incumbency and self-restraint. According to the new
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. If
no presidential candidate receives at least 50%, a run-off is to be
held within two weeks. The constitution gives parliament the ability
to impeach a president.
There is to be a two-chamber parliament, provincial, and district
councils. The lower house (Wolesi Jirga, House of People), to
consist of 249 seats, is to be fully elected at the same time, if
possible, as presidential elections.
The 102 seat upper chamber (Meshrano Jirga, House of Elders) is
selected as follows: one-third of the seats (34) are appointed by the
President; another one third (34, one per province) are selected by
provincial councils (elected, if possible, the same day as the
parliamentary elections); and a final 34 are selected by the nearly
400 district councils (elected, if possible, the same day as the
parliamentary elections). The constitution does not stipulate other
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
roles for the district councils, although some believe they will
ultimately acquire some power to impose local taxes and provide
In the elected lower house, at least 68 of those elected (two per
province x 34 provinces) “should” be women. That would give
women about 25% of the seats in that body. The goal is to be met
through election rules that would give the top two women votegetters in each province a seat. In the upper house, 50% of the
president’s appointments are to be women - giving women at least
17 seats (half of the president’s 34 nominees).
The constitution allows political parties to be established so long as
their charters “do not contradict the principles of Islam,” and they do
not have affiliations with other countries. 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. (As of October
2004, the latest date for which official information is available, 70
political parties were registered with the Justice Ministry. Karzai
has not formed his own party, and some of his allies in government
say he is unlikely to do so.)
Protects minorities by giving Uzbeks and Turkmens rights for their
language to be official languages in their regions, provisions not
contained in the original 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.
A separate CRS report, CRS Report RS21922,
Afghanistan: Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, provides information on the
presidential election, including results and funding, as well as the upcoming
parliamentary and provincial elections. As noted in that CRS report, the October
9, 2004 presidential 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. He was inaugurated on December 7, 2004, with Vice President
Cheney in attendance.
Parliamentary elections had been targeted for April-May 2005, although they
have now been scheduled for September 18, 2005, according to Afghanistan’s
electoral commission on March 20, 2005. The provincial councils are to be elected
that same day. However, because of the difficulty in confirming voter registration
rolls and determining district boundaries, elections for the district councils, each of
which will have small and contentious boundaries, have been put off until some time
in 2006. Voting district boundaries are to be set 120 days prior to the election.
Aizenman, N.C. Afghans Face a Rocky Road to Next Vote. Washington Post, February
Because the district elections will not be held at the same time as the
parliamentary and provincial elections, the Afghan election commission has said
that, as an interim measure, the upper house of parliament is to consist of the 34
selectees of the provincial councils, and 17 presidential appointees. The remaining
51 seats of the upper house are to be filled when the district elections are held in
2006. The FY2005 supplemental request asks $60 million in democracy and
governance funds, including funds for parliamentary elections and voter education
functions. These funds were included in the House-passed version of H.R. 1268.
Post-Election Cabinet.16 On December 27, 2004, a new cabinet was sworn
in. Broadly, the cabinet appears to retain the factional balance (among Pashtuns,
Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and others) that previously existed, but Pashtuns now hold
the security ministries (Defense and Interior) in a cabinet that generally emphasizes
technocratic qualifications (nine have Ph.D’s) over factional allegiances:
The most prominent Northern Alliance minister, Fahim, was
replaced as Defense Minister by his Pashtun deputy, Abdul Rahim
Wardak. Wardak lived in the United States during Taliban rule.
Yunus Qanooni, Karzai’s main election challenger, was not given a
cabinet seat. He has since announced the formation of “New
Afghanistan” opposition party that will compete in the parliamentary
Prominent Northern Alliance figure, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, was
retained as Foreign Minister. Eight other Tajiks are in the 27-seat
Interior Minister Ali Jalali, a Pashtun, was retained, although he is
required to relinquish his U.S. citizenship to retain the post.
Finance Minister, Ashraf Ghani (a Pashtun), well liked by
international donors, was dropped in favor of another Pashtun,
Karzai ally (and Central Bank governor) Anwar ul-Haq Ahady.
Two women are in the new cabinet, an addition of one from the
previous cabinet. Female presidential candidate Masooda Jalal was
made Minister of Women’s Affairs, and another woman, Sediqa
Balkhi, was made Minister for Martyrs and the Disabled.
To emphasize his stated commitment to end the burgeoning
narcotics trafficking problem, Karzai created a new Ministry of
Counter-Narcotics, headed by Habibullah Qadari.
Part of the U.S. and Afghan stabilization strategy is to build democratic
traditions at the local level. The Afghan government’s “National Solidarity
Biographic information on the new cabinet was provided to CRS by the Embassy of
Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. December 2004.
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.17
Key Obstacles to the Transition
Karzai’s government has held together at the national level, although tensions
remain among factions of the national government and between the central
government and some regional leaders. Some argue that most Afghans have always
sought weak central government and substantial regional autonomy. Aside from the
security concerns generated by continuing Taliban insurgency, as discussed below,
Afghanistan’s political transition is proceeding steadily but continues to face
substantial hurdles. They are discussed below.
Local Militias. 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
that posed by continuing Taliban attacks. In his first post-election speech on
November 4, 2004, Karzai said he would continue curbing militias.
Karzai’s 2004 cabinet selections showed his attempts to marginalize regional
strongmen — removed Pashtun regional leader Ghul Agha Sherzai as Minister of
Public Works and of Urban Development but then returned him to his prior post as
governor of Qandahar. Herat strongman Ismail Khan was appointed Minister of
Water and Energy; he had been removed by Karzai as governor of Herat Province in
September 2004. As noted above, Dostam has been appointed Karzai’s top military
advisor, taking him away from his political base in northern Afghanistan. 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.
One commander of concern is former Defense Minister Fahim, still the Northern
Alliance’s military chief, who now has no position or stake in the Kabul central
government. Although he has mostly withdrawn Northern Alliance militia fighters
from Kabul, as required in the Bonn agreement, and turned almost all of his heavy
weapons over to U.N. and Afghan forces (see below), he could conceivably still pose
a military threat to Karzai’s government, should he turn to armed rebellion. Another
potential threat is Abd — Rab Rasul Sayyaf, discussed above. Sayyaf has refused to
allow his “Division 1” militia in Kabul to be dismantled.
The State Department human rights report on Afghanistan for 2004 (released
February 28, 2005) cites the arbitrary implementation of justice and corruption in
areas controlled by regional leaders as a key source of Afghan human rights abuses.
On the other hand, some ethnic minorities look to the regional leaders to defend their
Khalilzad, Zalmay (U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan). “Democracy Bubbles Up.” Wall
Street Journal, March 25, 2004.
interests, and some candidates, such as Dostam, received a large share of votes
among their ethnic kinsmen. Some critics attribute the continued strength of
regional militias to U.S. policies to use these militias to combat Taliban and Al
Qaeda remnants. Others believe that easily obtained arms and manpower, funded by
narcotics trafficking profits, help to sustain the independence of local factions and
militias. Still others maintain that local militias did not interfere to any great extent
on the presidential vote, and that the issue is fading as an obstacle to Afghan stability.
Weak Central Government. Afghanistan’s central government still lacks
broad administrative capacity. As part of the U.S. push to build government
capacity in advance of the 2004 Afghan elections, the Administration 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 additional
advisors to the Afghan government. 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.18 Zalmay Khalilzad, an
American of Afghan origin who was President Bush’s envoy to Afghanistan, became
ambassador in December 2003, and he reportedly has significant influence on Afghan
government decisions. 19 However, he is widely expected to be nominated to become
ambassador to Iraq. 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.20 The 9/11 Commission report appears to echo some
of these criticisms; the report says the State Department presence in Afghanistan is
As a demonstration of high-level U.S. support for Karzai, the Administration
has maintained a pattern of senior visits. As noted above. Vice President Cheney
attended Karzai’s inauguration in December 2004. In March 2005, Secretary of
State Rice, and then First Lady Laura Bush (March 29, 2005) visited Afghanistan.
Funding Issues/FY2005 Supplemental.
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
FY2005 supplemental appropriation request asks $240 million to help build the
capacity of the Afghan central government, including salaries, and to promote
democracy and rule of law. An additional $17 million is requested (nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, and demining, NADR funds) to support protection for
Karzai and other Afghan officials; and $60 million was requested for the U.S.
Embassy in Kabul. (Most of the funds requested for these functions are provided in
the House-passed version of the FY2005 supplemental, H.R. 1268 ) The House18
Kaufman, Marc. “U.S. Role Shifts as Afghanistan Founders.” Washington Post, April
Waldman, Amy. “In Afghanistan, U.S. Envoy Sits in Seat of Power.” New York Times,
April 17, 2004. Afghanistan’s ambassador in Washington is Seyed Jalal Tawwab, formerly
a Karzai aide.
This section is taken from Scarborough, Rowan. “Afghanistan Reconstruction Faces
‘Increasing Threat.’” Washington Times, August 2, 2004.
passed H.R. 1268 also provides $55 million for security, construction, and
operations for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, part of which is to fund contract security
to replace U.S. marines that now guard the compound. The requested $25 million
to improve the Kabul international airport was not provided. The conference report
on the FY2004 supplemental appropriation (P.L. 108-106) provided $44 million for
improvements to the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
Narcotics Trafficking. A detailed discussion of the narcotics trafficking
issue, including U.S. funding to combat this problem in Afghanistan, is provided in
CRS Report RL32686, Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy. Narcotics trafficking
has been identified as a growing problem facing the Karzai government, and the
“U.S. International Narcotics Strategy Report,” released March 4, 2005, says that
Afghanistan is “on the verge of becoming a narcotics state.” 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. A U.N. report released March 27, 2005 said there has been some positive
response to Karzai’s initiatives, and that poppy crop planting for next year’s crop is
falling from the prior year’s level in 29 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
U.S. official reports say that about $2.3 billion — half of Afghanistan’s GDP
— is generated by narcotics trafficking. 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.21 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, according to that report, although some estimates say that as
much as 206,000 hectares were under poppy cultivation. Several reports and
observers say that narcotics trafficking is funding Taliban insurgents and their allies
in Afghanistan, and there are widespread fears that local leaders might use narcotics
profits to fund their campaigns for the parliament in spring 2005. On the other hand,
the traffickers do not appear to have formed cartels or strong organizations, and it is
not clear that those involved in narcotics in Afghanistan are necessarily adversaries
of Karzai or have independent political objectives.
Britain has thus far been formally the lead coalition partner in reducing narcotics
production and trafficking; it has raided some drug processing labs and has sent
counter-narcotics forces to the Qandahar province. 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 operated in the provinces of
Wardak and Nangahar, although the Afghan government apparently has persuaded
the United States not to focus on eradication but rather on creating alternative
livelihoods that will dissuade Afghans from engaging in cultivation. Additionally,
Karzai is reportedly considering offering an amnesty for drug smugglers as an
Tohid, Owais. “Bumper Year for Afghan Poppies.” Christian Science Monitor, July 24,
incentive to turn instead to legitimate businesses,22 while at the same time building
a special court to try traffickers.
Some Bush Administration officials want 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.23 The New York Times reported on March 25, 2005 that a
senior Pentagon official said the U.S. military will become more involved in this
effort by supporting Afghan and U.S. agencies (DEA, State Department International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement, INL) — providing military air transportation and
identifying targets. In 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.24 On November 17, 2004, the Bush Administration (Assistant
Secretary of State for INL, 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)
is a participant in Plan Afghanistan. There might be some controversy over a U.S.
plan to buy 14 used Israeli helicopters for use by the Afghans in drug eradication;
Afghanistan’s conservative Muslims will likely oppose the use of formerly Israeli
equipment.25 Administration officials apparently believe that supplying Afghans with
equipment to do their own eradication will ease pressure on the U.S. military to take
on that mission.
Funding Issues/FY2005 Supplemental.
narcotics funds are being provided.
Substantial U.S. counter-
For FY2004, the United States provided $220 million to assist
Afghanistan’s counter-narcotics effort and to train Afghan police,
both handled by INL. Of that, $170 million was appropriated in the
FY2004 supplemental appropriation (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.
The FY2005 regular foreign aid appropriation (P.L. 108-447)
contains no hard earmark for Afghan counter-narcotics, although the
“Afghan Leaders Considering Opium Amnesty.” Baltimore Sun, January 10, 2005.
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.
Cameron-Moore, Simon. “U.S. to Seek Indictment of Afghan Drug Barons.” Reuters,
November 2, 2004.
“IAF Choppers to Fight Afghan Drugs.” Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2005.
conference report recommends that $1.5 million go to a counternarcotics program run by the International Foundation for Hope.
The FY2005 supplemental appropriation, requested in February
2005, asked for funds to implement “Plan Afghanistan”: $257
million for DoD counter-narcotics in Afghanistan; $260 million for
INL counter-narcotics; $8 million for DEA operations in
Afghanistan; and $248 million to promote alternative livelihoods.
The House-passed H.R. 1268 provides virtually all of the $773
million in requested counter-narcotics funds for Afghanistan,
except: $46 million for aerial eradication was not funded; the
Afghan government does not want this form of eradication because
of an uproar caused when this process was tried in late 2004.
The request for regular FY2006 foreign aid appropriations asks $260
million for counter-narcotics and police training purposes.
The Bush Administration has not imposed sanctions on post-Taliban
Afghanistan even though it has determined that Afghanistan is a major drug transit
or illicit drug producing country. The Administration has preferred to work with the
Karzai government to address the growing problem rather than impose punishments.
To avoid sanctioning Afghanistan, the Administration has not included Afghanistan
on an annual list of countries that have “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.26
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.27 The Northern Alliance did not issue a
similar ban in areas it controlled.
Economic Reconstruction Needs. U.S. and Afghan officials see the
growth in narcotics trafficking as a product of an Afghan economy ravaged by war
and lack of investment. An accelerated U.S. economic reconstruction plan has
showcased some evidence of success, particularly the Kabul-Qandahar roadway
project (Phase I) on December 16, 2003. According to USAID, Phase II paving was
completed in November 2004, and several bridges have been completed. Work has
also begun on the Qandahar-Herat roadway, which will be funded by the United
States, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, and U.S.-funded ($2.7 million) work began on
March 15, 2005 for a road out of the Panjshir Valley. Additional work is being
conducted on school and health clinic rebuilding (180 schools and clinics were built
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.
Crossette, Barbara. “Taliban Seem to Be Making Good on Opium Ban, U.N. Says.” New
York Times, February 7, 2001.
during 2004), and agriculture projects, such as the setting up of 138 market centers
country-wide. During her March 29, 2005 visit to Afghanistan, First Lady Laura
Bush announced U.S. grants - out of FY2005 funds — of $17.7 million for a private
“American University of Kabul,” and $3.5 million for primary school education.
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.
Funding/FY2005 Supplemental. The FY2005 supplemental requests $800
million for road building, power generation, and other reconstruction projects. The
House-passed version of H.R. 1268 provided $1.4 billion out of $2 billion requested
for all categories of reconstruction; most of the $600 million not funded were,
according to H.Rept. 108-16, for “new and ongoing programs as well as large new
construction projects. . .including refurbishment of Kabul Airport, venture capital
funding, industrial park funding, higher education including costs of a new law
school in Kabul, and various long term construction projects including a hydropower
and a gas fired power plant, industrial parks, courthouses, and an IDP community
housing project.” The FY2006 regular foreign aid requests asks for about $620
million for economic reconstruction-related activities.
Rule of Law/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 2004.
However, according to the 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. 28 Some have blamed the increased restrictions on chief justice Fazl
Hadi Shinwari, a religious conservative who was appointed in late November 2001
by Northern Alliance political leader Rabbani, just after the Taliban fled Kabul but
before Karzai took office. In January 2003, Shinwari ordered shut down cable
television in Kabul on the grounds it was un-Islamic, and called for an end to coeducation. 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. The United
States has provided numerous training programs for judges, prosecutors, and court
Shea, Nina. “Sharia in Kabul?” National Review, October 28, 2002.
administrators for the Ministry of Justice, the office of the Attorney General, and the
Supreme Court. The FY2005 supplemental requests $25 million for court
administration, a law school, and other rule of law programs. The House-passed
version of H.R. 1268 did not include funds for the law school.
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.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 P.L. 108-447, the
regular FY2005 appropriation.
Advancement of Women. 29 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.
The first notable development in post-Taliban Afghanistan was been the
establishment of a Ministry of Women’s Affairs, now headed by former presidential
candidate Masooda Jalal, which is dedicated to improving women’s rights. 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. As noted above, two
women are in the new cabinet. In another notable development, in March 2005
Karzai appointed former Minister of Women’s Affairs Habiba Sohrabi as governor
of Bamiyan province, inhabited mostly by Hazaras. First Lady Laura Bush
highlighted the progress for women under the post-Taliban government during her
March 29,2005 visit to Afghanistan.
Afghan women are playing an active role in political and economic
reconstruction. About 3 million women voted on October 9. The presidential
candidacy of Masooda Jalal has been discussed previously; she received 1.1% of the
vote. 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, 30 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
See also CRS Report RS21865, Assistance to Afghan and Iraqi Women: Issues for
Amanpour, Christiane. CNN special report on Afghanistan. Broadcast November 2,
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. The
United States was active at the constitutional loya jirga to enshrine in the new
constitution protections for women and policies to advance women in government.
Funding to Advance Afghan Women. 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) 31 to fund educational and
health programs for Afghan women and children.
The Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-327)
authorized $15 million per year, for FY2003-2006, for the 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 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
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. On March 11, 2005, the Administration announced
a $2.275 million grant (FY2005 funds) to the Ministry of Women’s
Affairs, during a visit to the United States by Minister Masooda
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.
The FY2005 supplemental request says that some of a $60 million
request for democracy and governance funds, if appropriated, would
be used for “Muslim outreach with an emphasis on women’s
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 below.
Counter-Insurgency/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The
primary U.S. military mission is to combat Taliban and other insurgents that continue
to attack the Afghan government and election and reconstruction workers mainly in
the south and east. OEF forces also contributed to security for the October 9
presidential elections; U.S. commanders say that several hundred U.S. troops were
deployed to Afghanistan for that mission. OEF forces do not routinely conduct
“peacekeeping” missions or patrol Afghan neighborhoods. The United States (U.S.
Central Command, CENTCOM) has about 18,000 troops in Afghanistan, and six
coalition countries are contributing another 1,600 combat troops to OEF. (Additional
foreign troops are dedicated to international 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.
Top U.S. commanders, including Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers (on a
visit to Afghanistan in March 2005) say that the United States might seek permanent
bases in Afghanistan, but that no decision or recommendation on that had been made.
At the same time, U.S. forces are improving living and other facilities at the large
Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, where many U.S. troops are based,32 as well as
thirteen other airfields around Afghanistan that handle the 150 U.S. aircraft
(including helicopters) in country. Because of the uncertain duration of the U.S.
presence in Afghanistan, a requested $57 million to construct a fuel storage tank
farm at Bagram was not provided in H.R. 1268, the House-passed version of the
FY2005 supplemental appropriation.
Harris, Kent. “Buildings Going Up at Bagram Air Base as U.S. Forces Dig In for the
Long Haul.” Stars and Stripes, March 15, 2005.
U.S. forces along with Afghan troops are often on the offensive against the
militants. Earlier, the United States and Afghanistan launched “Operation Mountain
Viper” on August 25, 2003, followed up by “Operation Avalanche,” (December 8-30,
2003). During March to 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. Other significant
operations against militants, particularly in southeastern Afghanistan, took place in
May-October 2004 as part of a “spring offensive.” A winter offensive, “Operation
Lightning Freedom,” was conducted in December 2004-February 2005.
The combat, coupled with overall political and economic reconstruction,
appears to be succeeding against the insurgency. Although U.S. commander —
including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers on a visit to Afghanistan in
early March 2005 — are saying the insurgency is weakening, they caution that an
early reduction in U.S. or other foreign troops in Afghanistan could allow insurgents
to regroup. 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 counterinsurgency missions.
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 (and
reportedly with U.S. forces) to join the political process, or surrendering. President
Karzai has engaged “moderate” Taliban to bring them into the political process; in
January 2005, the U.S. forces in Afghanistan released 81 detained Taliban fighters
at Karzai’s request. Karzai has said about 100-150 of the top Taliban leadership
would not be eligible for amnesty or political engagement. As a result, according
to an outgoing top U.S. commander in Afghanistan (Maj. Gen. Eric Olson) on
March 7, 2005, Omar essentially has lost control of the insurgency, although he
reportedly continues to travel around eastern and southern Afghanistan, meeting with
Taliban insurgent commanders and exhorting them to continue their insurgency.
Some of his top aides have been captured, but others, such as Jalaludin Haqqani, are
still at large. (Two top Omar aides were captured by U.S. forces in December 2004,
and another senior commander surrendered in February 2005.)
Because U.S. and other OEF forces do not routinely patrol major cities, ending
Taliban urban terrorist attacks is considered a more complicated mission. Such
attacks have included a September 5, 2002, car bombing in a crowded marketplace
in Kabul and a virtually simultaneous unsuccessful assassination attempt against
President Karzai. Other such attacks attributed to Taliban activists include the
bombing of a marketplace in Qandahar on December 5, 2003, two February 2004
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. (In January 2005, Afghan authorities arrested
an Afghan judge for allegedly harboring Al Qaeda or Taliban militants who
conducted 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 release. A British citizen working in Afghanistan was
shot by unknown assailants in Kabul in March 2005.
The Hunt for Al Qaeda and Other Militants. U.S. Special Operations
Forces continue to hunt for bin Laden and his close ally, 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. However, bin
Laden is widely believed to be on the Pakistan side of the border. 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 and officials and U.S.
commanders have said on several occasions since December 2004 that bin Laden’s
trail has “gone cold.”
As noted above, another target of OEF is the Hikmatyar faction (Hizb-e-Islami
Gulbuddin, HIG) allied with Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents. On February 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 included in the section on “other terrorist groups”
in the State Department’s report on international terrorism for 2003, released April
2004. The group is not formally designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
OEF Costs and Casualties. As of December 2004, about 160 U.S.
military personnel have been killed in OEF including from enemy fire, friendly fire,
and non-hostile deaths (accidents). 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. air-strike 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 (P.L. 108-106). Supplemental FY2005 funds for Afghanistan combat were
requested in February 2005, and the amounts requested for military operations in
Afghanistan were provided in the House-passed H.R. 1268. Information on U.S.
military costs and funding requests for these operations is analyzed in CRS Report
RS21644, Costs of Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Enhanced Security, by Amy
International Security Force (ISAF)/NATO. 33 The Bonn Agreement, 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, initially limited to Kabul. ISAF’s baseline force for
Afghanistan is about 6,400 troops from all 26 NATO countries, plus 11 non-NATO
countries. ISAF force levels increased to about 9,000 to help secure the October 9,
As noted above, six countries (in addition to the United States) are providing forces to
OEF, and twelve countries are providing forces to both OEF and ISAF.
2004 elections, but has now fallen back to under 8,500.34 Table 5, an appendix at the
end of this report, contains a table listing each contributing country to ISAF and the
number of forces being contributed.
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. This
commitment put to rest the perpetual difficulty of identifying a lead country for ISAF
each six-month period. NATO took over from Germany and the Netherlands; earlier
leaders were Turkey (June 2002 to February 2003) and Britain (December 2001 to
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. 35 The Bush
Administration 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.
Currently, 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 contributing nations. ISAF coordinates with Afghan security
forces and with OEF forces as well, and it assists the Afghan Ministry of Civil
Aviation and Tourism in the operation of Kabul international airport. The United
States contributes a small amount of force to ISAF, primarily to coordinate assistance
to it from U.S.-led OEF forces in Afghanistan.
ISAF - OEF Mission Merger. As discussed further below, NATO/ISAF has
been expanding its operations in Afghanistan by establishing or taking control of
additional “provincial reconstruction teams” (PRTs), mainly in western and northern
Afghanistan. (The PRT’s are discussed in greater detail below.) However, there has
been discussion and study about whether the ISAF and OEF missions should be
combined. In February 2005, in conjunction with meetings between European
leaders and Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, NATO and
Many of the additional 2,500 election-related troops were from Spain and Italy; the Italian
battalion was 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 Netherlands and Britain each provided six combat aircraft that
could have been used to help suppress any election-related violence.
Driver, Anna. “U.N. Envoy Pushes for Troop Expansion in Afghanistan.” Reuters,
August 13, 2003.
the United States said they would eventually merge the OEF combat mission and the
NATO/ISAF peacekeeping mission, possibly as early as 2006. Uncertain is whether
or not such a move would pave the way for most U.S. forces to withdraw and turn
over the combat mission over to NATO. However, some NATO countries,
including Germany and France, want U.S forces to remain in Afghanistan to perform
the combat mission. Some observers also want NATO/ISAF to assume a role in
Some U.S. commanders are said to remain skeptical about whether NATO is
able to conduct the combat mission effectively. Personnel and equipment shortages
have plagued the organization’s ability to build up 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.
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. Some observers say Canada is to soon take over the U.S.-led PRT in
The other six PRTs in operation are run by NATO/ISAF or OEF coalition
partners. The ISAF/NATO-run PRTs are in Konduz (Germany is the lead force);
Mazar-e-Sharif (Britain is the lead); Faizabad (as a satellite of Germany’s Konduz
PRT); Meymaneh (U.K./Norway/Finland-led); and Baghlan (Netherlands-led). New
Zealand leads an OEF-run PRT in Bamiyan. In addition, U.K. forces have formed
three satellites of the Mazar PRT: in Sari Pol, Samangan, and Shebergan.
In conjunction with the February 2005 U.S.-NATO meetings (see above),
NATO/ISAF has committed to take over and establish additional PRT’s. The U.S.run PRT’s in Herat and Farah will convert to NATO/ISAF control. Two new PRT’s
will be established - one at Gaghcharan (capital of Ghor Province), with Lithuania
as the lead force; and one at Qaleh-ye Now (capital of Badghis Province), with Spain
in the lead. Both are in western Afghanistan. In addition, Italy and Spain will form
a “Forward Support Base,” in Herat Province, that will serve all four of these PRT’s.
Spain will move its forces from Kabul to the base and the PRT it will run. The new
responsibilities will also entail adding a total of 500 troops to NATO/ISAF’s force
in Afghanistan. These NATO deployments into western Afghanistan began on
March 2, 2004, and the U.S. troops at these PRTs are likely to redeploy to the south
and east to combat insurgents. U.S. plans are to eventually establish PRTs in most
of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. In conjunction with the merging of NATO/ISAF and
the OEF mission, NATO/ISAF apparently is to eventually take over running all the
Some aid agencies say they have felt more secure since the PRT program began,
fostering reconstruction activity in areas of PRT operations. 36 However, other relief
groups do not want to associate with any military force because doing so might taint
their perceived neutrality. 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
RDZs 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.
The FY2004 supplemental appropriation provided $50 million in Economic
Support Funds (ESF) for “PRT projects” (P.L. 108-106). The FY2005 supplemental
requested about $87 million in ESF for PRT reconstruction-related programs.
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 March 2005, the ANA now
exceeds 20,700 troops, according to U.S. fact sheets. U.S. commanders say the
number of trained ANA soldiers is expected to rise to about 33,500 by 2006 as
training accelerates; and the ultimate size of the army is to be 70,000 by 2007. The
United States is also building four bases for the ANA, according to U.S. officials.
The bases are in Herat, Gardez, Qandahar, and Mazar-e-Sharif.
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.
Kraul, Chris. “U.S. Aid Effort Wins Over Skeptics in Afghanistan.” Los Angeles Times,
April 11, 2003.
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. 37 The
naming of a Pashtun, Abdul Rahim Wardak, as Defense Minister in December 2004
could also reduce desertions and absenteeism among Pashtuns. 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. 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, a carryover from the Afghan Air Force that existed prior
to the Soviet invasion, remains, although it has virtually no aircraft to fly. It has
about 400 pilots, as well as 28 aging helicopters and a few cargo aircraft. Russia
overhauled 11 of these craft in 2004. 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, and Afghanistan is seeking the return of 26
aircraft, including some MiG-2s that were flown to safety in Pakistan and Uzbekistan
during the more than two decades of warfare in Afghanistan.
Funding and Armament. Thus far, weaponry for the ANA has come
primarily from Defense Ministry weapons stocks — with the concurrence of former
Defense Minister Fahim who controlled those stocks — and from international
donors, primarily from the former East bloc. 38 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 services, according to statements by U.S.
officials. In December 2004, President Bush authorized (Presidential Determination
2004-15) the draw-down from U.S. stocks of $135 million worth of U.S. defense
articles and services, including training.
The FY2004 supplemental appropriation (P.L. 108-106) provided $287 million
in foreign military financing (FMF) to accelerate ANA development, 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. The FY2005 foreign aid appropriation (P.L. 108-447) earmarked
$400 million in FMF for the ANA. The FY2005 supplemental request asks $1.3
billion for DoD operations to train and equip the ANA; virtually all of that is
provided in the House-passed H.R. 1268.
Gall, Carlotta. “In a Remote Corner, an Afghan Army Evolves From Fantasy to Slightly
Ragged Reality.” New York Times, January 25, 2003.
Report to Congress Consistent With the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, July
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. 39 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. Some Afghan officials believe that building up a credible
and capable national police force is at least as important as building the ANA. Some
do not believe the ANA should have a role in maintaining internal security, and that
this should be the role of the 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
(trained and untrained) 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.
Germany is focusing on police commander training, and it has trained about 3,700
police commanders thus far, with another 1,500 in training. 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, according to
U.S. officers in Afghanistan. Part of the training consists of courses in human rights
principles and democratic policing concepts.
The State Department (INL) has placed 30 U.S. advisors in the Interior Ministry
to help it develop the national police force and counter-narcotics capabilities.
According to the State Department, the United States has completed training of the
first unit of National Interdiction Unit officers under the Counter-Narcotics Police
of Afghanistan. U.S. trainers are also building Border Police and Highway Patrol
forces. The FY2005 supplemental request asks for $400 million in State Department
INL funds to train Afghan police and carry out counter-narcotics. These funds were
provided in the House-passed H.R. 1268. An additional $260 million in such
funding is requested for FY2006.
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR). Japan, the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA), the United Kingdom,
and Canada, with participation of the United States are leading (funding and
implementing) an effort to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate (DDR) into society
fighters from individual militias. The DDR program is intended to undercut the
military strength of the regional governors relative to the central government. The
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. In September 2003, Karzai took action on the issue, replacing
Dempsey, Judy. “US Planning for Stopgap Afghan National Guard.” Financial Times
(London), February 12, 2004.
22 senior Tajik officials in the Defense Ministry with 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 identified about
60,000 total to be demobilized. According to the UNAMA on March 2, 2005,
43,700 militia fighters have been disarmed (about two thirds of the total to be
disarmed). Most of those disarmed 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 identified) by parliamentary elections.
As noted above, some Sayyaf loyalists in Kabul are not cooperating with DDR,
according to UNAMA.
A related program is the surrender and cantonment of heavy weapons possessed
by major factions. According to UNAMA, at least 20,000 light weapons and about
8,650 heavy weapons (tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery pieces) have
been collected as of March 2005. This is nearly all of the heavy weapons believed
controlled by militia forces, although there are still believed to be about 220 heavy
weapons pieces uncollected in Shindand, Farah, and Konduz. Heavy weapons
cantonment was completed in Kabul in January 2005 because Fahim submitted the
heavy weapons under his control — including the weapons kept in the Northern
Alliance stronghold of the Panjshir Valley. The final weapons submitted by him
included the last four Scud missiles that were under his control, along with 70 tanks
and 20 artillery pieces. As noted above, the U.K.-led PRT in Mazar-e-Sharif has
collected and (along with the ANA) is guarding some heavy weapons (tanks,
artillery) from Dostam and rival factions in northern Afghanistan.
The FY2004 supplemental requested asked $60 million for DDR operations.
However, $30 million was provided in that law (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 security threats emanating from Afghanistan. Some experts believe
that the neighboring governments are now attempting to manipulate Afghanistan’s
factions to their advantage, despite the signing on December 23, 2002 of a noninterference pledge (Kabul Declaration) by six of Afghanistan’s neighbors.
Pakistan publicly ended its support for the Taliban in the aftermath of the
September 11, 2001 attacks, although questions persist about Pakistan’s commitment
For further discussion, see Rashid, Ahmed. “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism.”
Foreign Affairs, November-December 1999.
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. 41 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
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
Constable, Pamela. “New Sanctions Strain Taliban-Pakistan Ties.” Washington Post,
January 19, 2001.
Waziristan area as part of the search for bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.42
Pakistan subsequently increased operations in north Waziristan.
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 has sought to
improve relations further now that Karzai has won a free election.
Despite the improving climate between these neighbors, there are occasional
border clashes, apparently caused by the lack of clear border delineation, and the
presence of independent armed factions on the Afghan side of the border or
aggressive commanders on the Pakistani side. The most recent border clash was on
January 4, 2005. 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
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
Risen, James, and David Rohde. “A Hostile Land Foils the Quest for Bin Laden.” New
York Times, December 13, 2004. For more information, see CRS Report RL32259,
Terrorism in South Asia.
1995. Iran subsequently drew even closer to the Northern Alliance than previously,
providing its groups with fuel, funds, and ammunition, 43 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 or out of fear that
Pakistan would intervene on behalf of the Taliban.
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 has opposed the subsequent U.S. use
of the western Afghan air base of Shindand, 20 miles from the Iranian border. 44 Iran
is said to be helping Afghan law enforcement with anti-narcotics along their border.
About 300,000 Afghan refugees have returned from Iran since the Taliban fell, but
about 1.2 million remain, mostly integrated into Iranian society.
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.
Some reports link at least one faction of the guerrillas to Al Qaeda. 45 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
Steele, Jonathon, “America Includes Iran in Talks on Ending War in Afghanistan.”
Washington Times, December 15, 1997.
Rashid, Ahmed. “Afghan Neighbors Show Signs of Aiding in Nation’s Stability.” Wall
Street Journal, October 18, 2004.
Whittell, Giles. “Bin Laden Link to Dagestan Rebel Fightback.” Times of London,
September 6, 1999.
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.46 Even before the U.S.-led war, Russia was supporting the
Northern Alliance with some military equipment and technical assistance.47 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. 48 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 denies
Pakistan’s allegations that it is recruiting anti-Pakistan insurgents in Afghanistan
through its diplomatic facilities or other means.
India is currently considering co-financing, along with the Asian Development
Bank, several power projects in northern Afghanistan. In other signs of cooperation,
in January 2005 India, among other joint projects announced, promised to help
Afghanistan’s struggling Ariana national airline and to begin India Air flights from
Delhi to Kabul.
Central Asian States
During Taliban rule, leaders in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan grew
increasingly alarmed that Central Asian radical Islamic movements were receiving
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 possible eventual
entry of Afghanistan into the grouping. Of the Central Asian states that border
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.
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. 49
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. 50 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. 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 Namangani’s death.
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, was initially reluctant to
allow 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.
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan do not directly border Afghanistan. However, IMU
guerrillas have transited Kyrgyzstan during past incursions into Uzbekistan.51 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.52 About 2,000 U.S. and other OEF personnel remain based at Manas.
(French aircraft withdrew in September 2002 as the war wound down.) There was
some uncertainty following the March 2005 toppling of Kyrgyz President Askar
Akayev, but his successors have said the United States will be able to continue using
CRS conversations with Uzbek government officials in Tashkent. April 1999.
The IMU was named a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department in
Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999, pp. 14, 92.
Some information based on CRS visit to the Manas facility in Kyrgyzstan, May 2002.
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. 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.
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. In addition,
China has been an ally of Pakistan, in part to balance out India, a rival of China.
Pakistan’s cooperation with OEF appeared to allay 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.
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 Past 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 suggested that 200-300 Stingers remained at large in Afghanistan out of
about 2,000 provided during the war against the Soviet Union, although more recent
estimates put the number below 100. 53 The Stinger issue resurfaced in conjunction
with 2001 U.S. war effort, when U.S. pilots reported that the Taliban fired some
Stingers at U.S. aircraft during the war. No hits were reported. 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.
In February 2002, the Afghan government found and returned to the United States
“dozens” of Stingers. 54 In late January 2005, the Afghan intelligence service began
a new push to buy remaining Stingers back, at a reported cost of $150,000 each. 55
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, after the fall of the
Saleem, Farrukh. “Where Are the Missing Stinger Missiles? Pakistan,” Friday Times.
August 17-23, 2001.
Fullerton, John. “Afghan Authorities Hand in Stinger Missiles to U.S.” Reuters,
February 4, 2002.
“Afghanistan Report,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. February 4, 2005.
Russian-backed government of Najibullah, 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.
The lingering danger of these weapons has become apparent on several
occasions. 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. 56 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
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 U.S. de-mining program was providing about $3
million per year for Afghanistan, and the amount escalated to about $7 million in the
post-Taliban period. Most of the funds have gone to HALO Trust, a British
organization, and the U.N. Mine Action Program for Afghanistan.
Providing Resources to the Afghan Government
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, 57 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
“U.S.-Made Stinger Missiles — Mobile and Lethal.” Reuters, May 28, 1999.
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.
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 NGOs 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
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 ANA.
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:
$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 what ISAF has occurred
has been funded by ISAF contributing nations, not U.S. appropriations.
A bill, S. 2845 (P.L. 108-458, signed December 17, 2004), the version of
legislation to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, 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 does not
specify dollar amounts for U.S. aid for FY2005 and FY2006, authorizing “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. In 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 (P.L. 108-11).
FY2004. The Administration is providing almost $1.8 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.58 As noted, most of the FY2004 were provided in a supplemental
appropriation 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 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 million.
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:
Much of this section was taken from CRS Report RL31811, Appropriations for FY2004:
Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs.
$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
For FY2005, H.R. 4818 (P.L. 108-447) appropriated $980 million in
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan, plus $6 million in child
and maternal health. Of those amounts, $225 million are earmarked for ESF, and
$400 million are FMF, mostly for training and equipping the ANA (both sums met
the Administration request). As noted above, the law also earmarks $50 million of
those funds for programs that benefit Afghan women and girls, as well as $2 million
for reforestation, and $2 million for the Afghan Independent Human Rights
FY2005 Supplemental and FY2006 Regular Request. As noted in the
sections above, on February 14, 2005, the Administration requested additional funds
for Afghanistan for FY2005. In addition to requests for U.S. military costs, the
request includes $1.3 billion to train and equip the ANA, with funds to be controlled
by DoD; $257 million for DoD counter-narcotics operations; and $2.046 billion for
reconstruction from foreign policy budget accounts. As noted throughout, the
House- passed H.R. 1268 fully funds the DoD accounts, but funds $1.4 billion of the
foreign policy budget request. What is cut from that version is: $46 million for
aerial eradication of poppy crop; $25 million to improve the Kabul airport, and
several capital construction projects and other ongoing programs totaling about
$550 million. (For a discussion of what was cut, see the section above on
“Economic Reconstruction Needs.”)
The regular request for FY2006 requests a total of $920 million, as follows: $43
million for child survival and health; $430 million to train and equip the ANA; $260
million for State Department police training and counter-narcotics; $18 million for
Karzai protection; $18 million for peacekeeping operations; and $150 million for
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) 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. 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. Afghan leaders say that
Afghanistan needs $27.5 billion for reconstruction for 2002-2010. At the 2002
Tokyo donors’ conference, total pledges for reconstruction amounted to $2 billion
for 2002 and $4.5 billion over five years, as follows: European Union, $495 million
in 2002; Japan, $500 million over 30 months; Germany, $362 million over four
years; Saudi Arabia, $220 million over three years; Iran, $560 million over five years;
Pakistan, $100 million over five years; India, a $100 million line of credit; South
Korea, $45 million over 30 months; and United Kingdom, $86 million in 2002. 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.
In April 2004 international donors meeting in Berlin 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
nearly $1.0 billion appropriated for FY2005. 59 Other pledges for 2004-2006 included
European Union ($2.2 billion); Canada (200 million); Japan ($400 million); World
“Afghanistan’s Top Donors to Pledge Nine Billion Dollars--Report.” Agence France
Presse, March 11, 2004.
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 insisted that regional governors
remit some of their privately collected customs revenue to the central government.
Twelve regional leaders did so, subsequently giving $100 million to Kabul. Kabul
raised internally about $210 million of its $600 million budget for the fiscal year
ended 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 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 Corporation60 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
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. They recommitted to it on March 1, 2005, although
financing for the project is unclear.
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and WTO
Membership. The United States is trying to build on Afghanistan’s post-war
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. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Moscow), October 30, 1997, p. 3.
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. Shoring up a post-Taliban
government of Afghanistan with financial and other assistance required waivers of
restrictions or the permanent modification of U.S. and U.N. sanctions previously
imposed on Afghanistan. Virtually all U.S. and international sanctions on
Afghanistan 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
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 C.F.R. 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
That designation had prohibited
Afghanistan from receiving Export-Import Bank guarantees,
insurance, or credits for purchases under Sec. 8 of the 1986 ExportImport Bank Act, which amended Section 2(b)(2) of the ExportImport 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. P.L. 108-458 (9/11
Commission recommendations) 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 C.F.R. Part 126. On July 2, 2002, the State Department
amended U.S. regulations (22 C.F.R. 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 the 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 $500,000)
in the United States and a ban on U.S. citizens’ flying on the airline.
On January 29, 2002, the State Department issued a determination
that the Taliban controls no territory within Afghanistan, thus
essentially ending this trade ban. On July 2, 2002, President Bush
formally revoked this executive order.
On October 15, 1999, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution
1267; on December 19, 2000, it adopted U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1333, imposed a number of new sanctions against the
Taliban. For the provisions of these sanctions, see the section on the
harboring of bin Laden. As noted, these sanctions were narrowed to
penalize only Al Qaeda by virtue of the adoption of U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1390 of January 17, 2002.
Table 1. U.S. Aid to Afghanistan, FY1999-FY2002
($ 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
NGOs 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 (FMF)
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. ISAF Contributing Nations
(As of late November 2004)
NATO website: [http://www.nato.int/issues/afghanistan/040628-factsheet.htm]
Non-NATO Partner Nations
Table 6. Major Factions in Afghanistan
Muhammad Umar Pashtun
Islamic Society (dominant Burhannudin
party in the “Northern
Rabbani (political Islamic,
Ismail Khan (part of
Eastern Shura (Council)
No clear leader,
after death of
Abdul Qadir; son Pashtun
succeeded him as
groups, mostly in the
south and east. No
official presence in
Much of northern
Herat Province and
removed as Herat
environs; Qadir was
Movement of Afghanistan Dostam
secular, Uzbek Mazar-e-Sharif,
by Karzai. Gul
Khost, Tarin Kowt,
Small groups around
Jalalabad and in the
No clear regional
Figure 1. Map of Afghanistan