Timeline of Afghanistan (January 2003)

Timeline of Afghanistan (January 2003)


This is a timeline of the history of Afghanistan in January 2003. The list is not complete and you are welcome to expand it.

"Wednesday, January 1, 2003"

On his way to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Kuchi elder Haji Naim Kuchai (also spelled Naeem Kochi) was detained by U.S. troops. Kuchai had stopped the car in which he was traveling some 25 kilometers south of Kabul when the incident occurred. He was then taken to an undisclosed location.

More than 300 rockets, mostly 107 mm, smuggled from neighboring Pakistan were seized by border police in the Durbaba region of the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.

"Thursday, January 2, 2003"

BearingPoint of McLean, Virginia announced that it had installed and was helping to operate a financial management information system for the government of Afghanistan. The work was part of a $3.95 million contract the company won to help the government upgrade its accounting system.

This marked the last day of a three-month transition period in Afghanistan to swap old Afghani banknotes for new currency, which retained the name but had three zeros knocked off.

International Security Assistance Force peacekeepers found explosive materials planted in a Kabul school.

"Friday, January 3, 2003"

A statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that security problems and poor living conditions meant it was still unsafe for many of the more than 4 million Afghan refugees to return to their homes.

"Saturday, January 4, 2003"

A two-day meeting of Iran, Afghanistan and India marked a new start in boosting cooperation in the region. The meeting was headed by the three countries' trade ministers to discuss ways of implementing their earlier agreements on bolstering trade and transit ties, including construction of a railway which will link Iran's southeastern Sistan Baluchestan to the Afghan provinces of Nimruz, Farah, Helmand and Kandahar.

The first 1,000 of 25,000 Afghans participating in the haj pilgrimage to Mecca departed Kabul, one year after a mob of angry hajis attacked and killed a government minister there. Only 6,500 of some 15,000 applicants were able to make the journey in 2002.

A U.S. paratrooper was wounded when he stepped on a landmine while on patrol in the vicinity of Khost, Afghanistan. The soldier's injuries were not life-threatening.

"Monday, January 6, 2003"

A suspected Taliban was arrested in Bamiyan, Afghanistan and taken to Kabul.

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Turkish General Hilmi Akin Zorlu, told reporters U.S.-led war against Iraq could provoke terrorists to step up attacks against foreigners.

Within the first week of 2003 in Zabul Province of Afghanistan, armed men stole at least seven vehicles belonging to British, U.S. and Afghan aid agencies in broad daylight and the local office of the Afghan Development Agency suffered a grenade attack. These incidents put the future of aid operations to the region in jeopardy.

"Tuesday, January 7, 2003"

Two Ariana Afghan Airlines jetplanes carrying Muslim pilgrims from Herat to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage made precautionary landings in the United Arab Emirates. Forces within the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan suspected a hijacker or a bomb was on board one of the flights. Afghan and UAE officials found no signs of any hijack attempt.

Mullah Salam, a former Taliban regional commander was released from U.S. detention. It wasn't immediately clear where Salam had been held or why was he freed. He went home late to Zabul Province in Afghanistan.

"Wednesday, January 8, 2003"

Afghanistan's trade minister Syed Mustafa Kazmi signed an agreement in Tehran that would open "all channels" to trade between Iran and Afghanistan and allow Afghan vehicles access to all parts of Iran.

Afghanistan's foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah that Pakistan should do more to police the Afghan border and capture Taliban and al Qaeda leaders. He implied that some of the leaders of the Taliban were in Pakistan.

In Kabul, Paula Dobriansky, the U.S. undersecretary of state for global affairs, announced that the United States would provide a $3.5 million grant to support education, small businesses and other programs for Afghanistan's women. Private businesses, including Daimler-Chrysler and AOL Time Warner, would provide another $80,000 for additional programs. Dobriansky was in Afghanistan to lead a U.S. delegation at the second meeting of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council.

Two fuel trucks were damaged by explosions on board as they were parked about three miles from a U.S. coalition forces base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. One of the Afghan drivers was injured slightly.

Attackers fired a rocket at a U.S. military base near Shkin, along the Afghan border with Pakistan, but it missed its mark and there were no injuries.

U.S. special forces uncovered about 150 landmines near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, after being tipped off by local Afghans.

In Keshende, Afghanistan, one person was killed and three were wounded in an armed clash between forces of Ustad Atta Mohammad and of Abdul Rashid Dostum.

In Loi Karez, four people died and one was hurt in a firefight between Afghan forces and suspected members of the ousted Taliban militia.

"Thursday, January 9, 2003"

A U.S. Army soldier was severely injured when he stepped on a landmine while clearing mines at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The soldier, of the 769th Engineering Battalion of the Louisiana National Guard, suffered severe injuries to his right foot, but was in stable condition. He was medically evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where his foot was amputated. A Polish soldier was slightly injured in the same blast.

A ceremony was held at the Kabul Inter-continental Hotel to celebrate the reopening of the Xinhua Kabul Bureau, which was originally set up in 1956 and had to suspend its operation in 1979.

Eight Afghans were killed and 10 were injured when a minibus traveling from Spin Boldak to Pakistan crashed on a mountain road. The driver lost control of the vehicle near the Pakistani border town of Chaman.

At Bagram Air Base, an Afghan working with a road construction crew was critically injured by a landmine.

"Friday, January 10, 2003"

The governor of Herat Province, Afghanistan, Ismail Khan, placed further restrictions on women's education by banning women being taught by men in privately run courses and by preventing women from attending classes in a building at the same time that men are being taught.

The U.S. military halted mine-clearing operations at Bagram Air Base, its main base in Afghanistan, so troops could review safety procedures following a mine explosion that injured a U.S. soldier the previous day.

The World Health Organization reported 115 cases and 17 deaths from pertussis in the Khwahan District, the provincial capital of Badakhshan in Afghanistan.

Utilizing the Generalized System of Preferences, U.S. president George W. Bush named Afghanistan a "least-developed beneficiary," a move that allowed Afghanistan to export about 5,700 products to the United States without tariffs.

In Jalalabad, Afghanistan, U.S. special forces soldiers discovered in feed sacks about 900 pounds of propellant, 180 pounds (82 kg) of steel ball bearings, and 200 rocket-propelled grenades.

"Saturday, January 11, 2003"

As a gesture of goodwill, Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum released 50 prisoners who fought for the former Taliban regime from a jail in Kunduz. Incarcerated since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, the prisoners were handed over to Pashtun tribal elders. Dostum had been accused of war crimes against prisoners, including the suffocation of nearly 1,000 Taliban fighters transported in airless cargo containers after their surrender. The general denied the charges, but said 200 detainees already suffering from illness and wounds sustained during fighting may have died while being taken to jail. President Hamid Karzai supported the release.

Residents of Paktia Province in Afghanistan reported a pirate radio station broadcasting appeals to overthrow the fragile Afghan government and attack U.S.-led coalition forces.

The U.S. military resumed clearing landmines Saturday at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, two days after an explosion injured a U.S. soldier. The base had nearly 1.5 square miles that had not yet been cleared of landmines. Since the beginning of 2002, more than 7,000 mines had been removed from Bagram.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the formation of four commissions to accelerate the disarmament of warlord armies and rebuild the Afghan National Army. The disarmament commission would be headed by Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili. The re-integration commission would be headed by Deputy Defense Minister Attiqullah Barlai. Two ex-army generals, Rahim Wardak and Gulzarak Khan were to head the recruitment and training commissions.

A rocket landed about 300-500 meters outside the perimeter of the U.S. Salerno Base near Khost, but caused no damage or casualties.

People in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan found posters threatening death to anyone supporting Hamid Karzai's U.S.-backed government.

"Sunday, January 12, 2003"

In Balkh, Afghanistan, an electronics repairman and a 14-year old boy were killed immediately when a bomb hidden inside a tape recorder detonated. An unidentified man left the tape recorder at the shop, saying he would return later. When the man failed to return, the repairman inserted batteries, setting off the blast.

In Shebergan, Afghan authorities arrested a man suspected of planning to assassinate warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and his top deputies. The man allegedly admitted to acting on orders of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Pamphlets distributed in Peshawar, Pakistan said a group calling itself the "Secret Army of Muslim Mujahideen" had claimed responsibility for at least 50 attacks in Afghanistan, mostly on U.S. soldiers and bases concentrated near the eastern Afghan border.

"Tuesday, January 14, 2003"

U.S. special forces found 322 107-mm rockets in the vicinity of Zarin Kalay, near Khost, Afghanistan.

The Afghan security chief of Spin Boldak said that minor clashes had been reported recently between Afghan forces and suspected members of the Taliban. He said small groups of Taliban fighters, led by local commander Hafiz Abdur Rahim, were operating in Kandahar and other southern provinces.

The Parliament of Slovakia voted 113-10 to approve the extension of their 40-member military engineering unit in Afghanistan. Working in Afghanistan since September 2002, the engineers worked on major rehabilitation projects such as the runway at the airport in Bagram.

Three Afghans were treated at the U.S. base in Kandahar, after two were shot and one stabbed. Causes of the incidents were not released.

Iran and Afghanistan signed a contract regarding a two-phase project meant to transfer electricity from Iran to Herat.

"Wednesday, January 15, 2003"

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz took a one-day tour of projects in Afghanistan, including a women's hospital in Kabul, road work done by U.S. military personnel, and mock attacks by the Afghan National Army. Later Wolfowitz met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, met with Turkish General Hilmi Akin Zorlu (commander of the International Security Assistance Force), and had dinner with U.S. troops.

European Union External Relations Commissioner Chris Pattenannounced more than €230 million in new aid to Afghanistan for improving stability and human rights. In 2002, the EU spent €275 million on Afghanistan.

Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers were slightly injured about 31 miles northeast of Jalalabad, Afghanistan when an explosive detonated under their vehicle. The soldiers were treated for facial lacerations and released. A second device also exploded, damaging another vehicle but causing no injuries.

At the airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a U.S. soldier was shot in the abdomen. The incident was under investigation. The soldier underwent surgery at Kandahar before being taken to Bagram Air Base where his condition was described as "critical but stable."

"Thursday, January 16, 2003"

A U.S. Special Forces soldier was shot in the leg while on mounted patrol in an area some 40 kilometers southeast of Shindand, Afghanistan.

A U.S. base in Asadabad, Afghanistan, not far from the Pakistan border, came under rocket fire. B-52 heavy bombers were called in to provide close air support.

Fifty-two Afghan agents of the Afghan Presidential Protective Service graduated from a basic training course run by the U.S. Diplomatic Security Bureau's Anti-Terrorism Assistance department.

"Friday, January 17, 2003"

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend and improve efforts to control the remnants of Afghanistan's former Taliban government and the al-Qaeda network.

Around 5,000 Afghan police were sent to the southern town of Spin Boldak because of reports that some former Taliban activists weee trying to re-group in the region.

Outside the city of Khost, Afghanistan, two U.S. paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division received minor injuries when a parked bicycle rigged with explosives detonated as their patrol passed. The two men were in the lead car.

At the invitation of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Afghanistan's cricket team arrived in Peshawar, Pakistan to compete in the Cornelius Trophy. The Afghan team was expected to play four three-day matches during its 18-day visit.

"Saturday, January 18, 2003"

On the one-year anniversary of its first visit to Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the International Committee of the Red Cross renewed its appeal to the United States to clarify the status of hundreds of terror suspects it was holding without charge. To date, the United States designated them as illegal combatants rather than prisoners of war.

In a warm-up one-day game, the Afghan cricket team earned a draw match against Peshawar in Pakistan. Chasing 219 runs for victory in 30 overs, Afghanistan was 199 for six in 27 overs when the match was called off due to darkness.

Twelve Afghan women in Kabul took automobile road tests. The driving program was sponsored by Medica Mondiale. Women had not been allowed to drive in Afghanistan since 1992.

U.S. Special Forces troops traded fire with two Afghan gunmen north of the U.S. base at Gardez. The two men fled.

"Monday, January 20, 2003"

Around midnight near the U.S. base at Shkhin, a U.S. patrol from the 82nd Airborne Division traded shots with two Afghan gunmen. One of the assailants was wounded. The U.S. soldiers tracked the gunmen for several hours but lost them in the night. USAF A10s took to the air to support the troops but never fired.

In the midst of his three-day tour of India, the Afghanistan Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mohammed Sharif announced that India pledged to provide 100,000 tons of wheat and 15,000 tons of fertilizers to Afghanistan. However, Pakistan remained a road block in the plans because it had objections over Indian food passing through its territory.

The head of the Afghan Cable Center in Jalalabad appealed to the Afghanistan Supreme Court to reverse its decision of December 12, 2002 that banned cable TV. However, chief justice Mowlawi Fazl Hadi Shinwari reaffirmed his original decision. Shinwari said that the decision was based on Islam, and that the Court regard cable broadcasts to be immoral and against the Afghan traditions and Islamic principles.

A kindergarten complex in northern Kabul that was refurbished by the British contingent of the International Security Assistance Force re-opened for school. The $20,000 project, paid for by the British government, charities and the soldiers themselves, included new paint, new windows, a new boiler, desks, carpets, electricity and running water.

"Tuesday, January 21, 2003"

Near the U.S. firebase at Shkin, Afghanistan, U.S. special forces soldiers opened fire on three people seen carrying AK-47s, a shotgun and binoculars. Two of them were detained, while the third escaped.

"Wednesday, January 22, 2003"

A 107 mm rocket landed near the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan prompting close air support to be called in. Shortly thereafter, three observation posts at the base received small arms fire. There were no casualties.

At a U.S. firebase at Deh Rawud, Afghanistan, U.S. special forces soldiers shot and killed a man who opened fire on their base.

About 25 kilometers east of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, Afghan soldiers seized more than 1,000 containers of acetic anhydride — a chemical used in turning opium into heroin.

Afghan Transitional President Hamid Karzai issued a decree to fight against illegal excavation and antique smuggling.

"Thursday, January 23, 2003"

A reported from the British Royal Institute of International Affairs stated that a sizeable portion of the money channeled to rebuilding Afghanistan had been spent on humanitarian aid. Furthermore, much of the $5.8 billion promised by international donors had not yet arrived.

"Friday, January 24, 2003"

In different villages near Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, U.S. forces and Afghan troops arrested 20 armed suspects, including two alleged Taliban commanders. Rocket launchers, explosives and automatic rifles were also recovered.

An Afghan physician and four clinicians arrived in Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan under a program sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The five medical specialists were to learn a basic tuberculosis-diagnosis procedure at the Research Institute of Tuberculosis. They would return to Afghanistan on February 13.

"Saturday, January 25, 2003"

A district security chief of Lowgar Province in Afghanistan, was kidnapped by suspected antique smugglers.

"Sunday, January 26, 2003

Gunmen attacked a convoy from the U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, as it traveled through Nangarhar Province, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Two policemen were killed, and another four men were believed to have died. One of the alleged attackers was later arrested.

In the central Ahmedzai Market in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers arrested three Afghan businessmen suspected of links to militant Islamic groups.

A bomb exploded on the roof of the United Nations Mine Action Center in Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan, shattering through the neighborhood, but caused no injuries.

Near the town of Shkin in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, unidentified gunmen shot and killed two Afghan soldiers and one civilian, injuring another.

A U.S. Special Forces soldier fell down a well in central Afghanistan sustaining wounds that merited his removal to a hospital in Germany.

A rocket landed near the U.S. Chapman airfield in Khost Province, Afghanistan.

"Monday, January 27, 2003"

Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered a Cabinet inquiry into the ban on cable television broadcasts which had been dictated by Chief Justice Fazl Hadi Shinwari a week earlier. At least 18 enemy personnel were killed near mountains north of Spin Boldak, as U.S.-led coalition forces battled nearly 80 rebels in Afghanistan. B-1 bombers, F-16s and an AC-130 gunship were called in for supports, including two Norwegian F-16s, one of which dropped a pair of laser-guided bombs on a bunker. It was reported that this marked the first time a Norwegian aircraft had fired at hostile forces in combat since World War II. The B-1s dropped nineteen 2,000 pound (900 kg) bombs.

The United Nations Development Programme held a ceremony reopening thirty communal baths (hammams) in Kabul, Afghanistan, bringing back to female citizens a vital institution for their social and hygienic needs.

"Tuesday, January 28, 2003"

U.S. war planes, including B-1 Lancer bombers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and AC-130 gunships, bombed rebel fighters in the mountainous region near Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. Some 200 U.S. special forces troops were engaged in the mountain battle.

Before giving his State of the Union address, U.S. president George W. Bush spoke by telephone with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and reiterated the commitment of the U.S. to seeing "a prosperous, democratic and stable Afghanistan" and that the U.S. would "stay the course."

In Afghanistan, a decree by Herat Province governor Ismail Khan allowed women to perform on radio, television, and the stage for the first time since 1992. This move came in response to accusations that Khan was stymying the advancement of women in the province.

In the Bagram Air Base barracks north of Kabul, Afghanistan, South Korean army major Lee Kyu-sang shot and killed Captain Kim Hyo-sung. The captain had refused an order to speak quietly on the telephone. The call involved the leasing of construction equipment with some Afghans. Kyu-sang, who said he didn't know the gun was loaded, was arrested. (Reuters, Jan. 29, 2003)

"Wednesday, January 29, 2003"

The United Nations Environment Programme reported that more than half of Kabul's water supply was going to waste. It found children working 12-hour shifts in dangerous factories, and sleeping at their machines. In Herat, only 10% of the 150 public taps were working. There, and in Mazari Sharif, Kandahar and Kabul, the team found medical waste from hospitals in the streets and an abandoned well.

In the Adi Ghar mountain area about 14 miles north of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, U.S.-led coalition forces, conisting of 300 men, identified 27 caves and had cleared 12 of them. The caves contained supplies such as food, water, blankets, fuel, mules, and signs that wounded men had been treated. U.S. and allied warplanes then pounded the cave complex with 500 and 2,000 pound (220 and 900 kg) bombs. In fire exchanges, at least 18 rebel fighters were killed. A U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopter came under small-arms fire. This was part of Operation Mongoose.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai fired its interior minister and replaced him with Ali Ahmad Jalali, a former mujahideen (holy warrior) commander who fought in the resistance during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

UNESCO and the Afghan government launched a major project to boost literacy throughout Afghanistan. The project was financed by a US$500,000 contribution from the Japanese government through a funds-in-trust. The main focus of the project involved development of literacy teachers production of teaching materials. To date, only 51.9 percent of men over the age of 15 and a mere 21.9 percent of women in the same age group could read and write.

Near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, U.S. special forces detained two men with bomb-making materials.

In Kandahar, Afghanistan, a bomb was thrown at the offices of the French aid agency Action Against Hunger. No one was injured, but the agency decided to suspend its activities in the city.

"Thursday, January 30, 2003"

An MH-60, an adapted version of the Black Hawk, crashed during training near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, killing four.

Sweden announced it would contribute $5.9 million to help Afghanistan repay debts to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan forces arrested three men with explosives and bomb-making equipment.

"Friday, January 31, 2003"

An anti-tank mine rigged to a mortar bomb destroyed a bridge outside Kandahar, Afghanistan, killing as many as 15 people traveling on a bus. The bus driver Ahmad Zia, and a 12-year-old boy survived.

A lone gunman opened fire on U.S. troops searching caves in the Adi Ghar mountain of southeastern Afghanistan.

Three small explosions went off near a base housing members of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan.

"See also"

Timeline of the War in Afghanistan:
<< December 2002 | January 2003 | February 2003 >>

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