25 September 1996: the Taliban reach Kabul

After the end of Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, the Taliban reached the suburbs of the capital, Kabul, on this day in 1996.

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, leading to a brutal war over the next decade. The US, Pakistan and others provided the resistance with logistical and financial support, forcing the Soviet Union to withdraw by early 1989.

This defeat helped convince the Soviets not to intervene forcibly in various Eastern European revolutions, aiding the demise of the USSR. But the conflict took a huge toll on Afghanistan; up to 1.5 million Afghans died.

After the Soviet withdrawal, the puppet regime was expected to collapse. But Russian financial support saw it cling on until 1992. The opposition, never united, fractured further. By the early 1990s, swathes of the country were run by warlords and bandits.

In 1991 a group of students in religious schools joined refugees from camps on the Pakistan border to form the Taliban under Mullah Mohammed Omar. By 1994 they had taken Kandahar, Afghanistan's second city. By 25 September 1996 they reached the suburbs of Kabul, the capital. The main anti-Taliban opposition retreated, and they took power.

Over the next five years, the Taliban imposed Islamic rule, banning education for women and imposing draconian punishments for minor crimes. They allowed the terrorist group al-Qaeda to establish bases that were used to organise the September 11th attacks.

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
26 October 1863: the Football Association is founded
This day in history

26 October 1863: the Football Association is founded

On this day in 1863, 12 London football clubs got together at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London to form the Football Association to govern the increasi…
26 Oct 2020
Quiz of the week, 17–23 October
Economy

Quiz of the week, 17–23 October

Test your recollection of the events of the week with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week.
23 Oct 2020
In UK stocks, the market has chucked us a bone – we should grab it
Economy

In UK stocks, the market has chucked us a bone – we should grab it

UK stocks are trading at their biggest discount to global equities in 40 years. You should probably be looking to buy, says Merryn Somerset Webb.
22 Oct 2020

Most Popular

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020
Don’t miss this bus: take a bet on National Express
Trading

Don’t miss this bus: take a bet on National Express

Bus operator National Express is cheap, robust and ideally placed to ride the recovery. Matthew Partridge explains how traders can play it.
19 Oct 2020
Three stocks that can cope with Covid-19
Share tips

Three stocks that can cope with Covid-19

Professional investor Zehrid Osmani of the Martin Currie Global Portfolio Trust, picks three stocks that he thinks should be able to weather the coron…
12 Oct 2020