- Timeline of Afghanistan (March 2003)
__NOTOC__This is a
timeline of the history of Afghanistanin March 2003. The list is not complete and you are welcome to expand it.
March 1, 2003"
Two Afghan government soldiers were wounded in a blast in
Thousands of people gathered outside a police station in the Dasht-e Barchi district of
Kabul, Afghanistanafter claims that a policeman tried to kidnap a woman there. There were also claims that policemen had raped two women. Surrounding the police station, protesters wanted those responsible for the alleged attack to be punished. Protesters also nominated their own candidates to police the district. Some merchants closed shop in solidarity. Police officers were injured by protesters, who attacked them with stones in western Kabul's Dashta-e-Barchi district. Two civilians were also reported wounded. Shots were fired by police.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) announced that 395,752 Afghans had voluntarily returned home from Iransince a UNHCR joint program with Tehran to the effect began on April 9, 2002. (see details of the UNHCR Afghan repatriation programs) United Statestroops raided the compound of Haji Ghalib, the chief of security for Ghanikhel Districtof Nangarhar Provincein Afghanistan, arresting him and two others and seizing heavy weapons. Ghalib's son, Mohammed Shafiq, said the U.S. forces also seized missiles, mortars and a large quantity of anti-tank mines during the arrest. The two people detained along with Ghalib were not identified. Khalid Shaikh Mohammedwas arrested in a joint raid by Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) agents and Pakistani police in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Armed men fired on a
United Statesobservation post at the Salerno basein Khost, Afghanistan. U.S. forces returned fire. There were no casualties.
Three Afghan soldiers were wounded when their pickup truck ran over a landmine during a routine patrol at Panjwai district, 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of
March 2, 2003"
San Francisco Chronicle" reported that Afghan poverty-stricken families earning money by selling their daughters was on the rise. Germanypulled out its elite KSK anti-terror forces from Afghanistan. The German defense ministry refused to comment on the report.
Afghan border guards arrested a Pakistani man,
Sayed Wali, in eastern Afghanistan on charges of illegally entering Afghanistan. They accusing him of spying for his Pakistan. He was arrested in the Shinwar district near Torkham.
March 3, 2003"
At 6 a.m., a rocket hit a house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, injuring a man and his wife and causing panic in the area. The wife, Bibi Koh, was in serious condition.
U.S. military aircraft scattered leaflets over southern Afghanistan, according to residents in
Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. The pamphlets offered cash rewards for help in arresting Osama bin Ladenand Ayman al Zawahiri. The leaflets did not say how to collect the money or who to contact to inform on bin Laden.
The U.S. military pushed into a new valley in southern Afghanistan in search of fugitive leaders of the ousted
Talibanregime. 12 people had been detained over the past three days and more than 60 rifles from two weapons caches were discovered in Baghni valley. One of the weapon caches was found down a well, wrapped in plastic and tied to a rope.
March 4, 2003" United Statesspecial forces found 96 rocket-propelled grenades, five rifles and ammunition after searching a compound in the southeastern border town of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.
Two mortars were fired near
Bagram Air Base, but the explosions occurred about a mile (1.5 km) away and there were no injuries.
A United States military vehicle struck a four-year-old Afghan boy just west of the southern city of Kandahar, Afghanistan. The boy sustained a severe head injury and was medically evacuated to Bagram Air Base for evaluation. By
March 7he was in stable condition.
Copenhagen, Denmark, two Danish officers faced preliminary charges of negligence in connection with an April 6, 2002explosion that killed five bomb squad members in Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzaiarrived in Qatarto participate in the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference(OIC) to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.
A U.S. soldier was brought to a hospital facility at
Bagram, Afghanistanafter being injured when his vehicle rolled over in Bamyan Province. The soldier was in stable condition.
Sher Nawaz Khan, a Pakistani intelligence official, in a border area near Afghanistan. Kahn was riding a motorbike to work in the border town of Wana, 180 miles (290 km) south of Peshawar. The gunmen followed Khan in a car then shot him repeatedly after knocking him off the motorbike. Qari Abdul Wali, a military commander in the hard-line Islamic Talibanregime said from a hideout near the southern Afghan town of Spin Boldakthe that arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammedwould not weaken the al Qaedanetwork.
The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (
OPIC) pledged a $50 million line of credit in support of U.S. private sector investment in Afghanistan. This was in addition to the $50 million OPIC line of credit that the Bush administration announced January 2002. One project will be the construction of a five-star international hotel in Kabulto be managed by Hyatt International, to which OPIC anticipates providing $35 million in financing and political risk insurance. OPIC will also provide political risk insurance to enable a U.S. manufacturer to donate a compressed earth block machine for the construction of three schools, at least one of which will be for girls.
March 5, 2003"
United States and Italian military officials announced that about 500 Italian troops would soon replace a similar number of U.S. soldiers deployed in eastern Afghanistan's
Khostregion. About 1,000 Italian soldiers from Task Force Nibbiohad already arrived at Bagram Air Base. Officials said that 500 Italians will stay at Bagram and the remaining 500 were to take over in mid-March from Americans at Camp Salerno, a coalition base near the eastern town of Khost. To date 8,000 of the 13,000 coalition forces were from the United States. President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzaiarrived in Indiafor a four-day visit. Karzai's agenda included boosting bilateral trade and investment and seeking aid for his war-ravaged country.
Bagram, Afghanistan, paratroopers from the United States Army's 82nd Airborne Division seized 132 82mm mortar rounds, 34 pieces of unexploded ordnance and "numerous" anti-tank and anti-personnel mines.
One civilian was killed and three were wounded their jeep struck a landmine in
Zer-e-Koh, Afghanistan, just south of Shindand Air Basein western Herat Province, said warlord Ammanullah Khan.
Fighting broke out in
Gosfandi, Afghanistan in Sar-e Pol Provincebetween two local commanders, both loyal to warlord Atta Mohammed. At least two fighters were dead and three others wounded.
Zer-e-Koh, Afghanistan, seven children were injured when explosives placed inside a bottle blew up.
Norbert van Heyst, commander of International Security Assistance Force, said in Kabul, Afghanistan that war in Iraqcould provide an opportunity for remnant al-Qaidaand Talibanforces to try to "destabilize" Afghanistan.
Residents of Khost, Afghanistan found 15 kg (32 lb) of explosives under the seat of a motorcycle. They notified U.S. troops at nearby
Chapman Air Base. The device, designed to detonate by radio, was dismantled and there were no injuries.
March 6, 2003"
A preferential trade agreement was signed in a ceremony in
New Delhi, Indiaattended by Afghan President Hamid Karzaiand Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The trade pact will enable free movement of goods specified by the two countries at lower tariffs. The volume of trade between the two countries in 2001-02 totaled $41.89 million. Vajpayee also announced a $70 million grant to rebuild a major road in Afghanistan. Included in the pledge was the third of three 232-seat Airbus300-B4s to help rebuild Ariana Afghan Airlines.
"The Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan," a
United Nationsreport revealed that intimidation and violence against women continue without resistance Afghanistan. To date, Afghan women worked, studied and even held some government posts, but in more rural areas they continued to be forced into marriages and were victims of domestic violence, kidnapping and harassment. United Statesmilitary coroners ruled as homicides the deaths in December 2002 of two prisoners at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. The two prisoners died at the makeshift prison in the U.S. compound at the Afghan base north of Kabul. The autopsies found that the men had been beaten, and one had a blood clot in his lung.
At least nine suspected
al Qaedamembers were killed in an operation by U.S. and Afghan troops in the far west of Afghanistan in the Ribat area, where the borders of Afghanistan, Pakistanand Iranmeet.
March 7, 2003"
During his 3-day visit of
India, Afghan President Hamid Karzaitold a business meeting in Delhithat he hoped India would join an oil pipeline project to ship gas from Turkmenistanvia Afghanistan and Pakistan. Later, Mr Karzai flew to the Himalayan town of Shimla, India to pick up an honorary doctorate in literature from his alma mater. Mr. Karzai took a postgraduate course in political science at Himachal Universityfrom 1979 to 1983.
Mortar rounds landed about 2.5 km (1.5 mile) from a guard tower north of
Bagram Air Base.
In a small village in
Vardak Province, three men armed with AK-47s stopped a U.N. World Food Programvehicle and blindfolded its three Afghan occupants. The robbers stole radio equipment, a satellite telephone and money before fleeing into the mountains on foot.
United States soldiers took a 4-year-old Afghan boy from the central Madr Valley to the base for treatment of suspected bacterial meningitis. He was in very serious condition.
United States Special Forces near
Spin Majid, Afghanistanin Helmand Provincedetained seven men suspected of planning attacks on coalition forces. They were detained with bomb-making instructions in their possession. U.S. military spokesman Col. Roger King did not say whether they were suspected of being al-Qaidaterrorists or supporters of the former Talibangovernment.
Sanaullah Zehri, home minister of Pakistan's Baluchistan province, said two of Osama bin Laden's sons were wounded and possibly held by United Statesand Afghan troops in Ribat. The White Housecast doubt on the report. Later, Zehri would say that he had been misquoted.
United Statessoldier sustained head injuries in a road accident on in central Bamyan Provincewas evacuated to Bagram, which serves as the headquarters of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The soldier was in stable condition.
The third explosion in as many days rattled
Jalalabad, Afghanistan, blowing out windows of a government office but causing no casualties. The bomb was hidden in a sewage drain. A bomb detonated near the office of the World Food Programthe previous day. The day before that another exploded near a hospital.
Republic of Macedoniasent 10 soldiers to be stationed, under German command, in the Kabul.
Fighting erupted on when Uzbek warlord General
Abdul Rashid Dostum's men attacked positions held by supporters of Ustad Atta Mohammad's Jamiat-e-Islami faction in Pashtoon Kotdistrict, south of Faryab's provincial capital, Afghanistan. Several people were killed or wounded.
March 8, 2003"
Jalalabad, U.S. forces released three Afghans after questioning them at a U.S. detention facility about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. A U.S. helicopter flew them from Bagramto Asadabad. One of the freed men, Saif-ur Rahman, was a border security official in Kunar before he was arrested in December 2002.
U.S. troops took part in operations to destroy 800 "bomblets" from a
cluster bomb, discovered near Mazari Sharif.
An explosion in the
Baghrami Districtof Afghanistan about 15 kilometres (9 mile) south of Kabul killed an interpreter working for international peacekeepers and lightly injured a Dutch soldier. Both were airlifted from the scene as International Security Assistance Forcetroops blocked off the scene of the incident on a street lined by shops and mud houses. The injured man was a 23-year-old corporal with the 11th Air Mobile Brigade. The explosion was detonated by remote control.
Intensifying efforts to capture
al-Qaedamembers, a patch of some 400 square kilometers around the town of Rabat, Afghanistanwas the focus of air and ground operations by Pakistani army and paramilitary forces backed by U.S. CIA communications and tracking experts.
Six medics and three other volunteers in charge of logistics, all from
Hungarydeparted for Kabul, Afghanistan, where they will work at a German military hospital and a Dutch surgery unit as part of International Security Assistance Force.
The first Afghan radio station programmed solely for women began broadcasting in Kabul. The first broadcast was called "The Voice of Afghan Women." Director Jamila Mujahed said one-hour radio programs would be broadcast every afternoon in the local
Pashtuand Darilanguages in Kabul on 91.6 FM.
March 9, 2003" Pakistani security forces carried out raids in Jalozaiand Shamshatoo, Afghan refugee camps near Peshawar. No one was detained.
Iraqinational and two Afghan men were picked up in Hayatabad, Pakistan. They were questioned for involvement in the slaying of a Pakistani intelligence officer (was shot and killed on March 4in Wana) and suspected al-Qaidalinks. Computer discs and other unspecified documents were recovered from their possession.
Hamid Karzaisaid that he hoped war in Iraqcould be avoided. But he also said the Iraqi people deserved to choose their own government.
The 22nd suicide attempt by a detainee took place at
Camp X-Rayin Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To date, about 650 detainees from 43 countries were being held there on suspicion of links to al-Qaidaand the Taliban. To date, the men had not been charged and were not allowed lawyers. To date, five detainees had been released, including three Pakistanis and two Afghans.
One U.S. airman suffered multiple fractures to his right foot after he was struck by a fork lift truck during aircraft-loading operations at
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
A 45-year-old Afghan man to the hospital at
Bagram Air Baseafter he was shot in the leg in a hunting accident near Orgun.
March 10, 2003" Afghanistanofficially activated its .af Internet domain name on for Afghan e-mail addresses and Web sites.
National Democratic Frontwas officially launched during a ceremony at a Kabul hotel. Its purpose was to foster Western-style democracy and act as a counterweight to Islamic fundamentalism.
The U.S. military denied reports it had stepped up its presence along Afghanistan's northeastern border with
Pakistanin its ongoing hunt for al-Qaedafugitives. Some sources in Pakistan, however, claimed that Osama bin Laden had been in the Siakoh mountain range near Nimroz Province.
Three members of a local council were killed and five wounded in an explosion in the province in the Zale Dasht district of
Kandaharin Afghanistan. The bomb appeared to be operated by remote control. Among the surviving casualties were Ziaul Haqand Sher Ali Aqa.
U.S. forces in
Spin Boldak, Afghanistan detained a man after finding a cache of anti-personnel mines.
Seeking help in the capture of Osama bin Laden and Mullah
Mohammed Omar, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets in the region of and broadcast radio messages in Spin Boldak.
March 11, 2003" President of the United States George W. Bushapologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzaifor the way Karzai was treated by a U.S. Senate committee on February 26. Some senators said they feared Karzai, by highlighting facts like millions of children returning to school and the government's smooth introduction of a new currency, had put too positive a spin on Afghanistan's problems. One senator said stressing the positive could hurt Karzai's credibility.
A delegation of Afghan legal officials and experts gathered in
Washington, DC, completed a four-day conference managed by International Resources Groupand hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace. The participants worked by consensus to lay out the future of the justice system in Afghanistan.
Three judges on a U.S. appeals court unanimously dismissed a challenge by Afghan war detainees at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in
Cuba. The challenge regarded their being held without access to their family or a lawyer. The judges agreed that the detainees, which include including two Britons, twelve Kuwaitis and two Australians, were not protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, two rockets fired by unknown attackers hit two houses near the governor's house. No one was injured.
One Afghan militia force soldier was killed in a blast near
Barikoton the border with Pakistan. A coalition special forces member and an Afghan interpreter were wounded.
An Afghan man who stepped on a land mine was taken to
Bagram Air Basefor medical treatment. His right leg was amputated.
March 12, 2003" London-based Amnesty Internationalissued a report alleging that Afghan police were ill-equipped, not held accountable and guilty of widespread abuses. Amnesty said it found evidence of torture and ill-treatment by the police. To date, there were some 50,000 police in Afghanistan. The German Government was taking the lead in assisting and training the force.
Two people were arrested after they were caught trying to plant explosives outside the regional headquarters of the U.S. relief organization Mercy Corps in
In Afghanistan, a small U.S.-led coalition convoy crossing a mountain pass from
Gardezto Khostcame under small-arms and machinegun fire. Air support was called in and five attackers were killed and two captured in the three-hour clash. There were no U.S. or coalition casualties.
The UNHCR began repatriating thousands of
Afghan refugeesfrom around 200 camps in Pakistan. The goal was to repatriate 600,000 refugees by year's end.
Italian Alpine commandos operating in south-east Afghanistan near Balochistan border regions stepped up their hunt for Osama bin Laden, Mulla
Mohammed Omarand Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The commandos had bene in action along the border with Pakistan since December 2002.
In Kabul, Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanovmet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah and Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim.
World Bankannounced a $108 million, 40-year no-interest loan to Afghanistan. The money was to be spent on repairing disintegrating roads, collapsed bridges, damaged tunnels and the runway at Kabulairport.
United States Agency for International Developmentannounced a new $60 million program to rehabilitate Afghanistan's school system. The money was slated for the printing of 10 million textbooks in Dariand Pashtulanguages. The money was also earmarked for the construction or reconstruction of about 1,200 primary schools in every province. Agha Murtaza Pooya, deputy head of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, told the Pashtolanguage service of Iranian Radiothat Osama bin Laden was in custody but he did not know where he was being held. The governments of Pakistan and the United States denied the reports.
March 13, 2003"
Speaking at an international donor meeting in Kabul, Afghan President
Hamid Karzaitold delegates that $4.5 billion worth of pledges offered at an Afghan reconstruction summit in Tokyoin January 2001 fell far short of Afghanistan's needs. He said Afghanistan would need up to $20 billion to successfully combat the threats of terrorism and the burgeoning opium poppy trade.
A rocket was fired at a coalition base in
Asadabad, Afghanistan. No injuries or damage to coalition equipment was reported.
No one was injured when a land mine exploded on a stretch of road in eastern Afghanistan just minutes after a convoy from the
British Broadcasting Corporationpassed by. They were returning from Tora Bora.
Reports surfaced that increasing numbers of recruits in the Afghan national army were deserting. Low salaries were said to be a primary factor.
After raiding a house in Kandahar, Afghan authorities arrested 10 Taliban suspects and seized arms, explosives, land mines and documents.
Jaikhojukneighborhood of Kandahar, Afghanistan, a bomb exploded on a road that was being repaired. There were no reports of casualties or serious damages.
March 14, 2003"
Afghan authorities raided a house in Kandahar, arresting 10 members of the former Taliban regime suspected of plotting terror attacks. Police also seized arms, explosives, land mines and documents.
Kabul, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzaipresented donor countries with the government's US$550 million budget for this year and said the international community needed to pay for more than half of it. Afghanistan itself planned to come up with US$200 million, double the amount it raised for the previous budget. Afghanistan received pledges of millions of dollars, but US$350 million more were needed to meet their new budget.
Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, a remote-controlled bomb hidden beneath a cart outside a mosque exploded, wounding three people.
Six Afghan agencies signed an agreement with the U.N. Mine Action Program for Afghanistan to share US$7.5 million of U.S. aid to clear land mines along roads and at school construction sites. The project was to be completed by the end of 2003.
March 15, 2003"
A warehouse filled with gunpowder exploded in the village of
Tokhichi, near the Bagram Air Base, killing an Afghan and injuring three others. The burning warehouse created a fiery orange ball that could be seen for several miles.
German's suggestions for the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) to take over International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) in the Afghan capital of Kabul received a setback when Belgiumjoined Francein opposing such a move.
In Afghanistan, some 500 Italian troops took over the
Salernomilitary base from U.S. troops.
The first two brigades of the Afghan national army completed 10 weeks of training. To date, around 2,000 soldiers are said to have been trained so far, while thousands of other Afghans carry arms, and local warlords remain powerful figures. To date, attempts to form a national force were hampered by a lack of non-partisan volunteers, and divisions over how much representation different ethnic factions would have.
U.S. soldiers discovered two ammunition caches in mud buildings in
Bamyan Provinceof Afghanistan, including 37 artillery rounds, more than 200 recoilless rifle rounds, a rocket, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
March 16, 2003"
Afghanistan granted the release of all Pakistani prisoners (almost 1,000) held in its jails. No date was given for the release of the prisoners, mainly held in
Sherberghan. Less than a week later, the number of prisoners to be released was reduced to 72.
A U.S. armored
Humveewas hit by debris from an explosive device near the Afghan city of Kandahar. No one was injured.
In Afghanistan, forces loyal to Uzbek warlord Gen.
Abdul Rashid Dostumclashed with those of his Tajik rival, Gen. Atta Mohammedin Latti village in Sar-e Pol Province. Five of Dostum's commanders were captured and one soldier was injured. Retreating soldiers loyal to Dostum stole 250 sheep.
At a U.S. special forces base in
Gardez, Afghanistan, 18-year-old Afghan Jamal Naseerdied after being in custody for nearly three weeks.
March 17, 2003"
Afghan Finance Minister
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzaitold a meeting in Brusselshe feared that a possible U.S.-led war against Iraqcould make donors shift their focus from Afghanistan, with future aid for the country going instead toward helping rebuild Iraq.
Wheat Disposal Committeeannounced that Pakistan Agricultural Supplies and Storages Corporation(PASSCO) would export around 300,000 tons of wheatto Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Brussels, the European Unionpledged 400 million euro(US$432 million) in financial aid to rebuild Afghanistan until the end of 2004. Canadapledged $250 million to Afghanistan for the same time frame.
United States Trade Development Agencygranted $280,081 to Afghanistan's government to study a proposed national high-speed telecommunicationsbackbone. To date, one out of 625 Afghan citizens had access to telephone services.
International explosive ordnance teams near Kandahar, Afghanistan destroyed a weapons cache that included more than 4,000 mortar rounds, 500 artillery projectiles and about 6 million rounds of machine gun ammunition.
Gardez, a 6-year-old Afghan boy attempted to stab a U.S. soldier with a syringe containing an unidentified liquid, but the needle was blocked by his protective vest. The boy fled the scene.
Brussels, Afghanistan signed a tripartite agreement with Pakistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) calling assistance in the voluntary return of Afghan refugees. Under the agreement, over 1.8 million Afghan displaced persons (DPs) would be voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan by the end of 2006.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, "The Irish Club" opened, serving only foreigners, specifically aid workers, diplomats and journalists.
March 18, 2003"
An agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UNHCR is scheduled to be signed in
Genevathe repatriation of 600,000 Afghan refugees from Pakistan.
The Italian Camp Salerno outside
Khost, Afghanistan came under rocket-fire and gun-fire. Italian soldiers returned fire at the unidentified attackers, wounding at least one before the assailants fled.
In Afghanistan, gunmen used rockets and machine guns to attack U.S. Special Forces at a separate base about six kilometers (four miles) from
Italy's Camp Salerno.
Ashfaq-ur-Rasheed Khanof Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force forecast that Afghanistan was heading for a record opiumpoppy crop in the coming summer.
A bomb exploded on the roof of the home of
Malik Mohammed Nazeer, the senior bureaucrat in the government of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. Three other bombs were found, but did not detonate. No one was injured.
Afghanistan's government signed a repatriation agreement in
The Haguewith the Netherlands, which at the time hosted about 40,000 Afghan refugees.
March 19, 2003"
About two-hundred United States troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, led by a battalion of 800 known as the "White Devils," were ferried by helicopters into the Sami Ghar mountains, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of
Kandahar, initiating Operation Valiant Strike. The objective was to locate Osama bin Ladenand members of al Qaeda. The U.S. troops were accompanied by Romanian infantry.
Ahmed Shah Behzad, an employee of Radio Liberty, was detained, beaten and interrogated by local security forces in Herat. Governor Ismail Khandid not like the questions Mr. Behzad was putting to officials during opening ceremonies of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.
More than a dozen 107 mm rockets landed near the U.S. Special Forces in Orgun (in Paktika),
Suspected Taliban fighters ambushed the Afghan government Sherabik post about 70 kilometers (40 miles) to the southwest of Kandahar, slitting the throats of three Afghan soldiers.
Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan, international explosives experts destroyed two weapons caches, including a dozen rockets and four homemade bombs, left behind by suspected enemy fighters. The bombs were originally found in Jalalabad in February near the home of a secretary of Din Mohammed, the governor of Nangarhar Province.
A 20-year-old Afghan militia soldier was flown from eastern Afghanistan to coalition headquarters in
Bagramfor medical treatment after being shot in the back and foot.
A 12-year-old Afghan boy who stepped on a land mine was rushed to
Bagram Air Basefor medical treatment. The boy's left leg was amputated.
The United States and Afghanistan asked
Norwayto organize and lead a border police along the Afghan border. Norway did not give an immediate reply.
Pakistan approved transit facilities for Afghanistan, including deletion of eight items from the negative list of most controversial
Afghan Transit Trade Agreement(ATTA), reduction in railways freight and new rail and road routes to facilitate the transportation of goods. The items deleted from the negative list are cotton yarn, polyester, metalised film, ball bearings, timers, tape recorders, glass ware/dinner sets, juicers/blenders and videocassette recorders. Australiaannounced it would shut down a second detention center on Christmas Islandfor asylum seekers just a week after it closed the doors of its controversial Woomera camp. The last four detainees were sent back to Afghanistan days earlier.
Expected to replace the 1343 lunar year constitution, a tentative draft of a new Afghan constitution, called "the new constitution for the new Afghanistan", was completed. National unity, ensuring social justice and establishing democracy were stressed and any discrimination in ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic sensitivities would be banned.
March 20, 2003
All U.N. offices and embassies in Afghanistan were closed amid security concerns after the U.S. initiated its war against Iraq. Domestic flights continued, but international flights into Afghanistan were canceled. In Kabul, police stopped and searched most vehicles at major intersections causing mile-long traffic tie-ups. Coalition soldiers maintained a heavy presence on Chicken Street, a popular tourist destination for Westerners.
A bomb hidden in a drainage ditch exploded in Kandahar, Afghanistan and a second bomb was found and defused.
United States Special Forcesobserved missile fire in Khost, Afghanistan against a border post on the nearby frontier with Pakistan. Fire was returned and close air support from an A-10 aircraft dropped several bombs on the suspected positions of the attackers. There were no US casualties or damage reports.
Attackers fired 11 rockets toward the U.S. base in the eastern town of
Orgun-E, Afghanistan, but none landed closer than 500 yards from the base.
At Deh Rawood in
Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Forces reported a rocket fired at an observation tower near one of their outpost.
As part of Operation
Valiant Strike, U.S. troops poured into the villages of Gari Kaloayand Sekandarzay, Afghanistan, around 140 kilometres (87 miles) east of Kandahar.
March 21, 2003"
Khost, twelve Afghan policemen were arrested and police chief Mohammad Mustafawas dismissed for alleged involvement in corruption, drug trafficking or having links with the Talibanand al-Qaida. The arrests were made by about 50 U.S. and 20 Afghan troops. About 60 police officers were believed to be involved, but when the arrests were made, several fled. Mustafa was replaced by Mohammed Zaman Khan. About 800 officers remain in the force.
A new strategy to disarm militias in Afghanistan will be given to President
Hamid Karzaiby a team of United Nationsand Afghan government officials, when he will announce it to the nation.
The U.S.-backed Afghan government called for a quick end to the war in
Iraq, saying President Saddam Husseinshould leave Iraq. The statement read: "We want the people of Iraq to be free from despotism...It is in the interest of the Iraqi people for Saddam Hussein to leave power. The interests of the people of Iraq are higher than the interests of Saddam Hussein and his family...We want a united Iraq, with a government representing its people for peace and stability in the region and world."
By the third day of Operation
Valiant Strike, U.S. forces had arrested 12 people, including members of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime.
18 Afghan prisoners left
Camp X-Rayat Guantanamo Bay, Cubato be released home.
March 22, 2003"
A large weapons cache was found inside several buildings in a walled compound near the southern Sami Ghar mountains,
Afghanistan, where hundreds of U.S.-led troops were hunting for terror suspects as part of Operation Valiant Strike. Two suspected rebels were captured. The cache included 170 107mm rockets, two 82mm mortars and 400 mortar rounds, two heavy machine guns, two antiaircraft cannons, thousands of rocket-propelled grenades with eight launchers, and thousands of machine gun rounds.
In the Wath army post, about 20 miles south of Spin Boldak, attackers opened fire, killing three Afghan soldiers.
Three Afghan soldiers were killed and four kidnapped in two separate pre-dawn attacks on security checkposts near
Hamid Karzaiarrived in Pakistan for a four-day visit with Pakistan President Pervez Musharrafand Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.
The school year in most of Afghanistan officially started, but schools were closed because of a holiday for the Afghan New Year. Education Minister
Yunus Qanoonisaid 5.8 million students would go to school, up from 3.3 million the year before. The United Nationshad a more conservative estimate of about 4.5 million. Many villages set up informal schools in mosque courtyards, tents and private homes because they never had schools in the first place or the buildings were destroyed.
March 23, 2003"
A Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crashed while on a medical evacuation mission in Afghanistan, killing all six people on board. The accident occurred about 18 miles north of
Ghazni. The accident brought the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Afghanistan to almost 60, more than half of whom died in noncombat operations.
About 30 new prisoners were taken to
Camp X-Rayin Cuba, bringing to about 660 the number of inmates there.
About 1,000 people in
Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan demonstrated against the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Sato Kandow, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Forces, patrolling a stretch of road from Gardezto Khost, clashed with militiamen loyal to Bacha Khan Zardran, prompting the special forces to call in Apache helicopter gunships. Up to 10 rebels were killed and seven were wounded.
A mediation team, consisting of
United Nationsofficials and military officials from key northern factions, was dispatched to Latti, Afghanistan to stem fighting between Abdul Rashid Dostumand Atta Mohammed.
March 24, 2003"
A patrol of U.S. forces from the Shkin base in the
Paktika Provinceof Afghanistan came under gunfire and grenade attack by as many as five militants. There were no injuries. A Humvee, containing three soldiers, was damaged after tumbling into a ditch to evade the fire. A grenade landed underneath the vehicle, but did not detonate.
In Afghanistan, U.S.-led forces participating in Operation
Valiant Strikefound more than 170 rocket-propelled grenades and scores of land mines and mortar rounds.
In reaction to questions raised by
Ahmed Shah Behzadat the opening ceremonies of human rights commission on March 19, the governor Herat, Ismail Khan, expelled the Behzad from the province. Most journalists in Herat protested the move and went on strike to also demand more press freedom in the province.
Afghanistan marked World
TuberculosisDay with a ceremony in Kabul. To date, Afghanistan had one of the highest incidences of the disease in the world, killing 23,000 a year. The disease was mainly the result of povertyand malnutrition.
On a train between the
Belarusian capital Minskand Moscow, Maj. Gen. Viktor Karpukhindied of heart failure. Karpukhin had been a commander of an elite Soviet commando unit that took part in one of the riskier operations of the Soviet Union's 10-year war in Afghanistan.
March 25, 2003"
In Afghanistan, a group of U.S.-led forces (dubbed
Task Force Devil) participating in Operation Valiant Strikecaptured four suspected rebels and seizing a major weapons cache. The cache included electronic detonators, timers, dozens of mortar and rocket-propelled grenade rounds and land mines.
Ammanullah Khan, a Pashtun, said forces loyal to Tajik warlord Ismail Khan, the governor of the Herat Province, began attacking the Pashtun village of Atashanin Badghis Province.
In Jalalabad, more than 2,000 university students protesting the U.S.-led war on Iraq clashed with the security forces. Seven students were lightly injured. The confrontation began when students tried to remove barricades set up to prevent them from blocking the main Jalalabad-Kabul highway. Some students threw stones on two vehicles carrying U.S. special forces on the highway.
A rocket was fired toward the coalition-controlled airport in
Three rockets were fired near a U.S. base in
Gardez, Afghanistan in Paktia Provinceand 11 were fired at another base in the province, near the Pakistan border.
Around 20 Canadian troops left for Afghanistan to pave the way for Canadian troops to join the U.N. peacekeeping force
International Security Assistance Force(ISAF).
The Perini Corporation was awarded a contract by the
United States Army Corps of Engineersfor the design and construction of facilities to support the First Brigade of the Afghan National Army, located near Kabul.
About 400 gunmen attacked a checkpoint in
Tora Shaikhin Badghis Province, Afghanistan near the border with Turkmenistan. Seven attackers and six government soldiers were killed.
March 26, 2003"
Two kilometers from the
Kandaharairport, a bomb blew up a tanker carrying 45,000 liters (11,885 gallons) of fuel to a U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan, but there were no casualties. BearingPointannounced it had been awarded a three-year, $39.9 million contract from the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) to help Afghanistan implement policy and institutional reform measures that will lead to an improved environment for economic development. The agreement includes an option for another two years, for a total award of $64.1 million.
Ammanullah Khansaid that Ismail Khan's forces captured Atashanand burned scores of houses before advancing toward nearby Mangan.
U.S. soldiers near
Jalalabad, Afghanistanfound a cache of 800 BM-12 rockets.
The Afghan government trained 20 finance officers to ensure revenues across the country were collected transparently. The officers completed one-month training courses sponsored by the
United States Agency for International Developmentand the World Bank. Japandonated about US$20 million to Afghanistan. One source claimed the money was meant to help rebuild its transportation infrastructure, including buying new ambulances and buses. The " Japan Times" claimed the money was meant to create jobs, to promote education, and to create a constitution.
U.S. forces detained one person with suspected
Talibanties during Operation Valiant Strikein the Sami Gharmountains in the Kandahar Provinceof Afghanistan.
U.S. troops treated a 20-year-old Afghan man who was shot in the leg in
Deh Rawood. The man was flown to Kandahar, where part of his left leg was amputated. It was unclear how the gunshot was inflicted.
March 27, 2003"
On the dirt road to Kandahar,
Ricardo Munguia, an International Committee of the Red Crosswater engineer, was fatally shot by gunmen, prompting the humanitarian aid agency to suspend operations across Afghanistan. After intercepting two Red Cross vehicles, the gunmen shot Muguia in the head, burned one car and warned two Afghans accompanying him not to work for foreigners. Abdul Salaam, a witness, alleged that Taliban leader Mullah Dadullahgave the gunmen their orders via mobile phone.
Khowri Khorah, Afghanistan, a company of 60 U.S. soldiers working in Operation Desert Liondiscivered hundreds of mortar and recoilless rifle rounds, rockets and more than 120 cases of ammunition. Thailand’s government, working with the Asian Foundation for Wheelchair Usersand the Thai Foundation for the Disabled, sent 100 wheelchairsto the people of Afghanistan. Amnesty Internationalexpressed concern for the health of Kuchi elder Haji Naim Kuchai, who was detained by U.S. troops in Afghanistan on January 1. Kuchai, whom had had a kidneyremoved four years prior and whom suffered from diabetes, was being detained at an unknown location.
At least 11 people were killed and 2,000 affected by floods which damaged hundreds of homes in the
Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. The district of Khanabadand the major city of Mazari Sharifwere affected the greatest. U.N.aid agencies, along with local and national governments mobilized to provide food, plastic sheeting, blankets and other emergency assistance.
U.S. warplanes conducted an air assault in the
Kohe Safimountains of Afghanistan, in the first strike of Operation Desert Lion.
International Organisation for Migration(IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) and the Afghan Ministry for Refugees and Repatriationbegan a joint registration exercise in the northern provinces of Takhar, Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol, Faryab, Balkh, Samangan, Baghlan, Kunduz and Badakhshan. An estimated 45,000 internally displaced persons were to be registered by 76 registration teams.
Washington, D.C., Representatives Carolyn Maloneyand Dana Rohrabacherintroduced the Access for Afghan Women Actinto the United States Congress. The intention of the bill was to lay out a roadmap for incorporating women into Afghanistan's development process. Such incorporation would be achieved through funding organizations such as the Ministry of Women's Affairs(MOWA) and the National Human Rights Commission.
Despite Afghan president
Hamid Karzaipreviously ordered that there would be no zones in Afghanistan, deputy defence minister General Abdul Rashid Dostumcreated an office for the North Zone of Afghanistan. Disobeying Karzai's order, Dostum appointed the following officials to the North Zone: Lt-Gen Mohammad Daud Aziziand Lt-Gen Majid Rozias deputies of the Control and Management; Lt-Gen Mohammad Shahzadaas head of the departments of the Control and Management; Lt-Gen Esmatollah as general head of operations of the Control and Management.
March 28, 2003"
United Nations Security Councilvoted unanimously to extend the U.N. assistance mission in Afghanistan for another year, enough time to see the country through to general elections.
Four suspected Taliban were killed and six captured as U.S. special forces and hundreds of Afghan soldiers fought in
Sangisakh Shailaagainst about 100 suspected Taliban holdouts.
Claiming to be somewhere in Afghanistan, senior Taliban military commander
Mullah Dadullahtold the BBCthat the Taliban hoped to regain power in Afghanistan, utilizing popular support. Dadullah said that the Taliban had regrouped under the leadership of Mullah Mohammed Omarand were attacking U.S.-led coalition troops with renewed vigour and ferocity. He added that the Taliban would fight until " Jews and Christians, all foreign crusaders" were expelled from Afghanistan. According to Dadullah, al-Qaedano longer existed in Afghanistan and that he did not know the fate or whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.
Asian Development Bankforwarded a draft proposal to Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan regarding India's participation in a proposed 1,300 km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan natural gas pipeline project. The draft was subject to approval of all parties.
March 29, 2003"
A four-vehicle reconnaissance patrol was attacked near
Gereskin Helmand Province, Afghanistan, killing two U.S. special forces soldiers and wounding another. Killed were Army Special Forces Sgt. Orlando Moralesof Manati, Puerto Rico, and Staff Sgt. Jacob L. Frazier, a member of the Illinois Air National Guardfrom St. Charles, Illinois. Three Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack.
earthquakeof 5.5 magnitude rattled parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The quake, which was centered about 60 miles north of Peshawar, was felt in Kabulfor about 30 seconds.
*While on a routine surveillance mission, two Norwegian
F-16fighters were called in to provide air support for U.S.-led alliance forces which were under attack from enemy soldiers in a mountainous area north east of Kandahar. The F-16s dropped four laser guided bombs.
Fighters launched rockets at an air base housing U.S. and Afghan forces near Jalalabad, but there were no casualties.
Afghanistan's government set up a special bank account to channel money for
humanitarian aidto Iraqand urged wealthy Afghans to contribute to it. Money from the account, which was opened at the central bank in Kabul, would be delivered to the Iraqi people later by the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.
Some 600 Afghan soldiers were sent to
Sangisakh Shaila, 75 kilometers (50 miles) north of Kandahar, to take on the suspected Taliban fighters. U.S. helicopters and an aircraft were used in the operation.
March 30, 2003"
U.S. forces called in air support that smashed a cluster of suspected rebel vehicles and killed at least two attackers in the eastern border town of
Six Afghan civilians were killed and six were injured when their taxi hit a landmine 12 kilometers (7 miles) north of
Lashkargah. It was alleged that the mine had been laid during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The taxi had left a rutted dirt road apparently to avoid potholes.
Assailants fired about a dozen 82 mm mortar rounds toward a U.S. base near
Shkin, Afghanistan, triggering an attack by a United States Marines AV-8 Harrier IIjet that dropped a 1,000-pound (454-kilo), laser-guided bomb on three vehicles spotted trying to leave the area. Two AH-64 Apachehelicopter gunships were also called in, but they did not fire.
A 122 mm rocket struck the headquarters of the
International Security Assistance Forceheadquarters in Kabul. The explosion sprayed shrapnel across trees and buildings and damaged two ISAF vehicles inside the compound, but no one was hurt.
Attackers fired two rockets at a U.S. base in the eastern town of
Gardez, Afghanistan, but there were no casualties.
March 31, 2003"
50 reservists of the
321st Civil Affairs Brigadefrom Fort Sam Houstonin Texaswere deployed to Afghanistan to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.
After fierce fighting during a joint operation with U.S.-led coalition forces in central Afghanistan's
Oruzgan Province, Afghan government troops captured Mulla Ahdul Razaq, minister of commerce of the former Taliban regime.
About 80 suspected Taliban members were arrested in
Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
The participation by Norwegian
F-16fighters in the U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan came to its scheduled end.
At 9:30 a.m., five men armed with
AK-47s attacked a car of Afghan border commander Najibullah who was on his way from Kang District to the center of Nimroz. The commander and two of his men were killed. The car was stolen and later found in the neighboring Farah Province, but the attackers had fled.
Timeline of the War in Afghanistan:
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