Afghanistan map

History of Afghanistan

  • 100

    Kushan Empire

    King Kanishka, a Buddhist king responsible for calling the second great Buddhist council, establishes the rule of the kushan empire in the Afghan region. During this time, Graeco-Buddhist Gandharan culture also reached the height of its influence in the region.
  • Period: 100 to

    History of Afghanistan

  • 220

    Break-up of Kushan Empire

    The Kushan empire flourished under the rule of Kanishka and enjoyed a time of great prosperity and cultural mixing during his reign. However, the people are unable to carry on the same religious, economical and political success after his death. Wiithout an heir to the throne, the Kushan Empire crumbled and led to a succession of minor unsuccessful dynasties continuously replacing each other.
  • 400

    Invasion of the White Huns

    With a weakened political system, the Afghani region was susceptible to invasion. The White Huns, or Hephthalites, capitlized on the opportunity. They got their name because they were the only Huns to have white skin, and they were known to be anti-Buddhist. They invaded the region and destroyed all aspects of Buddhism in the region, leaving it practically in ruins.
  • 425

    Yaftalee Rule

    After the destruction of the region by the White Huns, the Yaftalee Dynasty was established in the northern Hindu Kush region. By 425, the dynasty was in control of most of the Afghan region.
  • 550

    Power Change

    The year 550 saw the end of the Yaftalee Dynasty ruling in Afghanistan. The Persains re-gained control of the region and expanded their domain to include all of the territory within the current Afghan borders. However, the power change was not warmly received by everyone. Various Afghani tribes revolted, often violently.
  • Nov 18, 652

    Arabs Introduce Islam

    Despite the revolts, the Persians were able to etablish a better life for the common people than that in the nearby Middle East. This caused many Arabs to migrate to the Persian region of what is now Afghanistan. Not long before this, the prophet Muhammad had just recently lived and died and his teachings were beginning to spread. The migrating Arabs brought the teachings with them and infused them into every-day life in Afghanistan.
  • Nov 18, 1030

    Mahmud Ghazni

    While ruling, Mahmud defeated the Samanids and lesser dynasties, sponsored 17 different expeditions that established his control and made Afghanistan the center for Islamic power and organization. However, after his death, the following rulers have conflicts, causing the empire to begin crumbling.
  • Nov 18, 1140

    Burning Ghazni

    Ghorid rulers came from central Afghanistan and burned the great capital of Ghazni, established by Mahmud, officially signifying the end of the Ghaznavid empire.
  • Nov 18, 1219

    Ghenghis Khan

    At this time, Ghengis Khan, ruler of the great expanding Mongol Empire, invaded the region. While occupying the region, Khan had his men destroy the local irrigation systems. Thi coverted the fertile soils into permanent desert.
  • Nov 18, 1332

    Retaking Afghanistan

    Descedants of the pevious Ghorid rulers are able to re-assert their dominance over the Afghan region.
  • Nov 18, 1504

    Moghul Dynasty

    Babur conquers Afghanistan from a string of weaker dyansties. Babur is the founder of the Moghul dynasty, which expanded from its central point in India. Although foreign, the Moghuls would retain power in Afghanistan for over a century.
  • Independence

    Mir Wais, who heads the Afghani revolt for independence at the time, declares Kandahar independent from the Persian Empire.
  • Occupation of Persia

    Mir Wais' son, Mir Mahmud, marches into Persia and takes control over the city of Isfahan. At the same time, the Persians also lose control over Herat due to Durranis revolts.
  • Loss of Control

    The Afghan's control over parts of Persia does not last long. Persain head Nadir Shah takes back control of the region occupied by Afghanistan. However, he does not stop there. He continues to expand, eventually conquering southwestern Afghanistan as well. Two years later, he takes Kandahar, the Afghani capital.
  • Total Independence

    Ahmad Shah Abdali and his supporters retake Kandahar and establish modern day Afghanstan after the assassination of Nadir Shah. Afghanistan is now independent from all foreign powers.
  • Battle with Britain and Russia

    Afghanistan battles the inted and the destruction of indigenous tribes led to this being called “The Great Grvention of the British empire and the Czarist Russia due to their seizure of laname”
  • Revolution

    Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the wave of popular rebellions that rippled through Asia subsequently, the then king of Afghanistan, Amanullah, declared his country’s full independence by signing a treaty of aid and friendship with Lenin, a Communist revolutionary and politician, and declaring war on Britain. However, Afghanistan would remain under British control until 1919.
  • Total Independence from Britian

    After a brief period of border skirmishes, and the bombing of Kabul by the Royal Air Force, Britain conceded Afghanistan’s independence. Stung by this turn of events, Britain conspired with conservative religious and land owning elements of the country who were unhappy with Amanullah’s attempts to secularize and reform the nation. The outbreak of an uprising and civil war forced him to abdicate.
  • Struggling for Power

    Different warlords contended for power until a new king, Muhammad Nadir Shah took power. He was assassinated four years later by the son of a state execution victim, and was succeeded by Muhammad Zahir Shah, who was to be Afghanistan’s last king, and who would rule for the next 40 years.
  • Muhammad Zahir Shah

    Zahir Shah’s rule, like the kings before him, was one of almost total autocratic power. The word of the king was the word of law. And while advisory councils and assemblies were sometimes called to advise the king, these bodies had no power, and in no way represented the people of Afghanistan. These bodies were made up of the country’s tribal elders – a nice sounding term that in reality referred to the brutal land owners and patriarchs.
  • Muhammad Zahir Shah, Cont.

    And while some history books refer to this time of Afghanistan’s history as one where attempts were made to “modernize” the country – all this really meant was newer rifles for the army, the purchase a few airplanes for a token air force, the creation of a tiny airline to shuttle the ruling elite around, and some telegraph wires to allow the king to collect this taxes more promptly. Under his rule political parties were outlawed, and students were shot and killed when they protested.
  • Muhammad Zahir Shah Part 3

    In 1973, the king was overthrown and a republic was declared.
  • Muhammad Daoud Khan

    Daoud was originally the Prime Minister of Afghanistan and became its first president when the republic was set up in 1973. His lead was short, however, and only lasted five years. He was assassinated in 1978.
  • Rebellion

    The People's Democrat Party of Afghanistan, or PDPA, seized power from Daoud in a military coup. After seizing power, they began a series of limited reforms, such as declaring a secular state and that women were deserving of equal treatment of men. They sought to curtail the practice of purchasing brides, and tried to implement a land reform program. They quickly met with fierce opposition from many sections of the deeply religious population though.
  • Rebellion Continued

    The PDPA’s response to this was very heavy-handed, aggravating the situation. Soon several rural areas rose in open armed rebellion against the new government.
  • Soviets Cease Power

    Immediately following the PDPA coup, the Soviet Union took an active interest in the so-called socialist revolution unfolding in its backyard. Dismayed by the clumsiness of the radical faction of the PDPA, the Soviet Union invaded and handed power over to a man named Karmal, who was the leader of the more moderate faction of the PDPA.
  • Soviet Withdrawal

    The Soviets withdrew, leaving the PDPA government to fend for itself. The CIA soon lost interest in its mercenary forces now that they had accomplished their mission of bleeding the Soviets white. The misc. Mujahadeen factions began fighting as much with themselves as with the PDPA forces, resulting in increased suffering and bloodshed.
  • Toppling of the PDPA

    Mujahadeen fighters were able to topple the remnants of the PDPA government – ending the Stalinists attempts to bring revolution to the people of Afghanistan at the point of a gun.
  • Birth of the Taliban

    The Taliban militia is formed and takes off quickly, continuously attacking the Rabbani government. Other attacks by Dostum and Hekmatyar also impair the Rabbani governent, while reducing the city of Kabul to piles of ruins.
  • Taloqan falls

    The Taliban is able to defeat opposing forces and take control of the city of Taloqan.
  • Teaming Up Against the Taliban

    The Taliban murders Abdul Haq, a commander that fought against the Soviets and the Afghan communists. In the meantime, the forces of the United Front or UNIFSA, the UK and the US begin launching airstrikes on the Taliban.
  • New Republic

    Afghanistan as a nation adopts a new constitution, modelled after the United States. The political system of Afghanistan becomes a republic with three branches of government: the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches, just like the U.S.
  • Ghaznavid Dynasty

    Although Islam was already present in Afghanistan, the Ghaznavid reign solidified it as the dominant religion in the region. Sebuk Tigin, an earlier ruler in the dynasty, made himself lord over the entire Afghanistan territory after succeeding his predecessor. After his death, he was replaced by his younger son, Ismail. His older son, Mahmud Ghazni, jailed him after returning from war and took his pace.