Afghanistan: Current Issues and U.S. Policy [Updated April 1, 2003]   [open pdf - 399KB]

"Afghanistan is stabilizing after more than 22 years of warfare, including a U.S.- led war that brought the current government to power. Before the U.S. military campaign against the Taliban movement began on October 7, 2001, Afghanistan had been mired in conflict since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until its collapse in December 2001 at the hands of the U.S. and Afghan opposition military campaign. […] There are some indications that Afghanistan's different ethnic and political factions are working together at the national level, although each faction exerts substantial influence in its home region. Although the minority coalition Northern Alliance emerged from the war 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 'loya jirga' delegates selected a new government to run Afghanistan for the next 18 months and approved Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun, to continue as leader for that time, but the assembly adjourned without establishing a new parliament. Karzai is said to be highly popular throughout Afghanistan, including among non-Pashtuns."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30588
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