Afghanistan, for much of the latter half of the 20th century, was wracked by civil war. In the 1980s Soviet troops intervened to install new rule, while the US backed Mujahedin rebels: the country became a Cold War battleground.

When Soviet troops withdrew at the beginning of the 1990s, the Mujahedin took power but were destabilized by factional rivalry, allowing hard-line Taliban to seize control of the capital and around two thirds of the country. The Taliban introduced strict Islamic law, and were suspected of providing harbour to al-Qaeda and its militant leader Osama bin Laden.

By the end of the century, the United Nations had imposed sanctions on the Taliban to force them to hand over Osama bin Laden for trail, as he was accused of bombing US embassies in Africa. In October 2001, the USA and Britain launched air strikes on Afghanistan after the Taliban had again refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, now held responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. On the ground the allies lent support to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, a multi-ethnic opposition group. By November the Taliban had fallen, but UN-sanctioned allied forces continued their military campaign to oust pockets of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces.


Afghanistan, Kabul, Taxi
Afghanistan, worshipers finish prayers in Taloqan.
Afghanistan, Panjsher Valley, Refugees camp
Afghanistan, Mazar-I-Sharif.
Afghanistan, Kabul, child crying near bunker, portrait
Afghanistan, Refugee's camp
Afghanistan, a Pakistani fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Kabul, paint of cannon on wall
Afghanistan, Kunduz, people standing near dead body
Afghanistan, Kabul, Taliban fighter sitting inside cell
Afghanistan, Kabul, children playing near destroyed plane
Afghanistan, Pakitika, group of men praying by reservoir
Afghanistan, Khowst, armed soldier guarding
Asia, Afghanistan, Sangin, militants at police checkpoint, side view
Afghanistan, Kandahar, police surveying the scene of a bomb blast
Asia, Kabul, Afghanistan, shadow of people standing in blood sheds
Afghanistan, Pul e charki, afghan policemen stopping demonstrators from protesting
Afghanistan, Kabul, refugee the former Soviet cultural center, portrait
Member of Taliban standing beside mutilated body
Afghanistan, Kandahar, man standing in field
Afghanistan, Kandahar, Taliban cemetery
Afghanistan, Mazar-Sharif, women begging by road
Afghanistan, Kabul, military tanks on ground, low angle view
Afghanistan, Kabul, dervish playing flute in damaged roofless building
fghanistan, Kabul, mother holding baby (3-6 months) in soviet cultural center
Afghanistan, bazaar