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News > World

Afghanistan: A Timeline of Events Since US Troop Withdrawal

  • Taliban militants in Mehtarlam, capital of Laghman province, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021.

    Taliban militants in Mehtarlam, capital of Laghman province, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2021. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 16 August 2021

On Sunday, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country. The Taliban ordered its forces to enter Kabul city after encircling it for hours.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country on Sunday night, while the Taliban forces entered the capital of Kabul and took control of the presidential palace. Here is a timeline of the recent situation changes in Afghanistan:


UN Security Council To Hold a Session on Afghanistan on Monday

Aug. 15: Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has left the country, head of the Afghan National Reconciliation Council Abdullah Abdullah confirmed on Sunday evening.

-- The Taliban ordered its forces to enter Kabul city after encircling it for hours. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Taliban got inside the city to provide security for the countrymen and ensure law and order.

-- A curfew was imposed in Kabul starting 21:00 local time on Sunday to prevent violence.

-- Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told media he could confirm there were talks with the presidential palace about a peaceful takeover of power.

Aug. 13: Mujahid said on social media that the Taliban had seized Kandahar, capital of Kandahar province; Herat, capital of Herat province; Qala-e-Naw, capital of Badghis province; Qalat, capital of Zabul province; Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province; Pul-e-Alam, capital of Logar province; Tirin Kot, capital of Uruzgan; and Firoz Koah, capital of Ghor. By then, the group had reportedly taken 18 provincial capitals of the country's 34 provinces.

-- British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace said the U.S. decision to pull its troops out of Afghanistan was a "mistake," adding that the U.S. withdrawal "causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it's very difficult for what we're seeing today."

-- The Pentagon said that Afghan Taliban militants were trying to isolate the capital city Kabul and the situation on the ground is "deeply concerning."

Aug. 12: Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, confirmed that Taliban militants had overrun Ghazni, the capital city of the east Afghan province of Ghazni, 150 km from the national capital Kabul.

-- The White House announced that the U.S. was withdrawing personnel from its embassy in Kabul, and would deploy 3,000 troops to Kabul's Hamid Karzai Airport to facilitate the drawdown.

-- Representatives of countries taking part in the Doha international meeting on Afghanistan called on the Afghan warring parties to expedite the peace process, and reach a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire as quickly as possible.

Aug. 11: Taliban militants overran Pul-e-Khumri city, capital of northern Baghlan province and Faizabad city, capital of neighboring Badakhshan province, local media reported.

-- President Ghani travelled to Mazar-i-Sharif, capital of northern Balkh province. A security meeting was underway in the city.

-- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told local media that Islamabad was not taking sides in Afghanistan, and that Pakistan had "made it very clear" that it does not want any American military bases in Pakistan after U.S. forces exit Afghanistan.

Aug. 10: President Joe Biden said that Afghan troops must fight for themselves as multiple cities have fallen to the Taliban. The United States will continue to provide Afghan forces with close air support, food, equipment, and salaries, he said.

Aug. 8: Taliban militants took control over Taluqan city, capital of Afghanistan's northern Takhar province, according to a Taliban spokesman.

-- Earlier in the day, the militant group seized Sari Pul city, capital of northern Sari Pul province while it also gained ground in Kunduz city, capital of Kunduz province, in the west of Takhar.

Aug. 6: Taliban militants captured Zaranj city, capital of Afghanistan's western Nimroz province, said a Taliban spokesman.

-- Zaranj, the smallest Afghan provincial capital, was the first Afghan city seized by Taliban militants since the U.S. withdrawal from the country started on May 1.

-- Afghanistan is at a historic conjuncture of war and peace, Dai Bing, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the United Nations, told the Security Council.

The international community should work, following the principle of Afghan leadership and Afghan ownership, to strengthen coordination and contribute positive energy to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, he said.

Aug. 5: The European Union released a statement, condemning the significant escalation of violence across Afghanistan, and calling for "an urgent, comprehensive and permanent ceasefire."

"This senseless violence is inflicting immense suffering upon Afghan citizens… The Taliban's military offensive is in direct contradiction to their stated commitment to a negotiated settlement of the conflict," it said.

Aug. 2: Ghani blamed the withdrawal of U.S. troops for the worsening situation, and revealed a six-month security plan to change the security situation in the conflict-battered country.

July 8: An intra-Afghan dialogue held between high-ranking delegates of the Afghan government and the Taliban group concluded in Iran's capital Tehran.

-- The Afghan government and the Taliban group agreed that war is not a solution to Afghanistan's political conflicts, and that they should endeavor to reach a political and peaceful solution to the differences among the parties concerned, said the statement released at the end of the meeting.

-- Biden said that U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on Aug. 31.

-- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: "The United States is not just withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan: by doing that, it is admitting the failure of its mission."

July 6: The U.S. Central Command said that the U.S. military had completed over 90 percent of the withdrawal.

July 2:  A spokesperson of the Afghan Defense Ministry confirmed that all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan have evacuated the Bagram Airfield near the Afghan capital Kabul and handed over the largest coalition base to the Afghan government troops.

May 1: U.S. and NATO troops began to pull out from Afghanistan.

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