Anniversary of the Return to Power in Afghanistan Date in the current year: August 15, 2024

Anniversary of the Return to Power in Afghanistan The anniversary of the return to power is a public holiday in Afghanistan. Celebrated annually on August 15, it was established by the Taliban-led government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to commemorate the capture of Kabul and the Taliban’s return to power in 2021.

Since the 1973 coup d’état, Afghanistan has been in a near-continuous state of armed conflict: the Saur Revolution, the Soviet–Aghan War, and three consecutive civil wars that resulted in the Taliban gaining control over most of the country.

Following the September 11 attacks, the United States declared the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism and led a multinational invasion on Afghanistan with the goal of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, dismantling al-Qaeda, overthrowing the Taliban, and replacing it with a U.S.-friendly government.

By December 2001, the Taliban had been expelled from major cities. A new government led by President Hamid Karzai was formed on December 22, 2001. However, it wasn’t the end of the Taliban. Following its defeat, the movement took a few years to regroup and launched a guerrilla war against the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

After several years of periodic insurgent attacks, the war in Afghanistan began to escalate in 2006. By 2007, the Taliban had retaken large parts of the country, and the coalition responded by sending a major influx of troops for “clear and hold” counter-insurgency operations. Following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, NATO countries began to withdraw some of their troops from Afghanistan.

The International Security Assistance Force ceased combat operations and was disbanded in 2014. It was succeeded by the Resolute Support Mission, a NATO-led noncombat multinational mission whose main task was to advice and train the Afghan National Security Forces. The withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan resulted in an increase of insurgency.

In 2018, a peace movement began to rise in Afghanistan. Peace talks between the United States and the Taliban began in Qatar in February 2019. They continued throughout most of the year, but a terrorist attack in Kabul in September 2019 prompted President Trump to cancel a secret meeting with Afghanistan and Taliban leaders.

The United States and the Taliban did eventually sign an agreement on February 29, 2020. The Doha Agreement, which didn’t involve the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, provided for the withdrawal of NATO troops from the country within 14 months. In return, the Taliban pledged to keep al-Qaeda at bay and begin talks with the Afghan government.

After signing the Doha Agreement, the Taliban resumed offensive operations against the Afghan National Security Forces. An initial reduction of US troops in Afghanistan was followed by a complete withdrawal that was announced by President Biden in April 2021. On May 1, the Taliban launched a major offensive that ended with the fall of Kabul and the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

The Taliban reestablished the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and declared the anniversary of the capture of Kabul a public holiday to mark the Taliban’s retaking of power.

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