A recap of landmark events in Afghanistan since the Taliban regime fell in 2001 following the US-led invasion:
President George W. Bush launches his “war on terror” — in response to the September 11 attacks that killed around 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania — with air strikes on Afghanistan on October 7, 2001.
The Taliban government had sheltered Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda movement, which masterminded the strikes on the US.
In power since 1996, the Taliban are soon defeated and flee the capital on December 6.
Hamid Karzai is appointed to lead an interim government and NATO begins to deploy its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Afghanistan’s first election based on universal suffrage is held on October 9, 2004 and Karzai wins 55 percent of votes on an enthusiastic turnout of 70 percent.
The Taliban regroup in the south and east, and also across the border in Pakistan, and launch an insurgency.
As attacks multiply, the US command in 2008 asks for more troops and the first reinforcements are sent.
Karzai is reelected in August 20, 2009 polls that are marred by massive fraud, low turnout and Taliban attacks.
In 2009 at the start of Barack Obama’s US presidency, the number of US troops doubles to 68,000. In 2010 the number reaches around 100,000.
Bin Laden is killed on May 2, 2011 in a US special forces operation in Pakistan.
In June 2014 Ashraf Ghani is elected president with 56 percent of votes, but the ballot is marred by violence and a bitter dispute over claims of fraud.
In December NATO ends its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan.
The following year the Taliban make their greatest military advances since being ousted.
The Islamic State (IS) group also becomes active. Bloody attacks multiply, notably in Kabul.
In mid-2018 Washington and Taliban representatives discreetly open talks in Doha focused on slashing the US military footprint in Afghanistan.
In return the US demands the Taliban prevent the country from being used as a safe haven for jihadist groups including Al-Qaeda.
Talks focus on a ceasefire and the opening of Taliban negotiations with the Kabul government.
But on September 7, 2019 US President Donald Trump calls off the talks after a US soldier is among 12 killed in an attack in Kabul.
Later that month, Afghans vote in a presidential election that is marred by claims of fraud and plunges the country into months of political crisis.
Ghani is declared victorious for a second term only on February 18, 2020, an announcement that is rejected by his rival and former minister Abdullah Abdullah, who vows to form his own parallel government.
On February 29 the US and the Taliban sign a historic deal in Doha, in which all foreign forces are supposed to quit Afghanistan by May 2021 provided the Taliban start talks with Kabul and adhere to other guarantees.
Ghani and Abdullah sign a power-sharing deal in May, ending their bitter months-long feud. Abdullah takes the role of leading the peace negotiations.
On July 28 the Taliban declare a three-day ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, marking the second such truce in just over two months.
Peace talks are delayed for six months as the Taliban and Kabul conduct a drawn-out US-brokered prisoner exchange.
The sides reach a stalemate over about 400 Taliban prisoners charged with serious crimes but on August 9, a “loya jirga” — a traditional Afghan meeting of tribal elders and other stakeholders — agrees to their release for the sake of negotiations.
On September 10, the insurgents, the Afghan government and Qatari officials announce that talks will begin Saturday following an opening ceremony in Doha.