"The United States and its allies are helping Afghanistan emerging from more than 22 years of warfare, although substantial risk to Afghan stability remains. Before the U.S. military campaign against the orthodox Islamist Taliban movement began on October 7, 2001, Afghanistan had been mired in conflict since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. […] During 1998 until its rule ended, the Taliban had come under increasing international pressure to cease hosting of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and members of his Al Qaeda organization, the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. […] Although the Northern Alliance has emerged as the dominant force in the country, the United States and United Nations mediators persuaded the Alliance to share power with Pashtun representatives in a broad-based interim government. On December 5, 2001, major Afghan factions, meeting under U.N. auspices in Bonn, signed an agreement to form an interim government that ran Afghanistan until a traditional national assembly ('loya jirga') was held June 11-19, 2002. The meeting selected a new government to run Afghanistan for the next eighteen months, with interim chairman Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun, to continue as leader for that time. As the war against remaining Al Qaeda and Taliban elements continues, the United States is working to stabilize the interim government, arrange humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, expand a new Afghan national army, and support the international security force (ISAF) that is helping the new government provide security. The United States has reopened its embassy in Kabul and allowed the Afghan administration to reopen Afghanistan's embassy in Washington. To help foster development, the United Nations and the Bush Administration are in the process of lifting U.N. and international sanctions imposed on Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588