Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: 1996-2001

Kabul fell on September 26, 1996, compelling the forces that had been bitter rivals in Kabul’s civil war to formed a new alliance to oppose them, the United Front. The Taliban’s attempt to take Mazar-I Sharif in May 1997 ended in disaster, with at least 3,000 Taliban soldiers taken prisoner and summarily executed by Junbish forces. The Taliban finally took Mazar in August 1998, and exacted their revenge by killing thousands of civilians, most of them Hazara.

While continuing the battle for control of the rest of the country, in Kabul the Taliban instituted a highly repressive administration based primarily on its intelligence apparatus, the main organization of which was run by Qari Ahmadullah, who operated out of the former office of KhAD in Sedarat. In October 1997, the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, renamed the Islamic State of Afghanistan the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The Taliban seemed poised to take control of Afghanistan from the United Islamic Front in 2001. On September 9th, suicide bombers assassinated Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the United Islamic Front. Two days later, terrorists from Al-Qaida, a terrorist organization which had made Afghanistan its base, attacked the United States. When the Taliban refused a demand by the US to deliver top Al-Qaida personnel and destroy the organization's bases, the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan. By December, the Taliban had fled their last stronghold at Kandahar and dispersed into the country. The Taliban would reemerge as insurgents against the US and the new government of Afghanistan.

Who Are We

The Afghanistan Documentation Project is the product of a partnership between the War Crimes Research Office and the Pence Law Library of the American University Washington College of Law and the U.S. Institute of Peace. It was established to collect and create a fully searchable and publicly accessible database of documents regarding human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in Afghanistan since 1978.