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This account is run by Afghan Historians. Each week different AFG historian/academic takesover. To volunteer contact @mariamamini or email through our website👇
11 Aug
#MazarMassacre: There is no way to precisely know how many were killed in weeks following the fall of Mazar to Taliban in 1998. Hazaras & Uzbeks were killed in reprisal for killing thousands of Taliban after a failed attempt by Taliban to take Mazar in May-July 1997. Source HRW.
Taliban tried to take Mazar twice before Aug1998. After Taliban killed Pres Najib in 1996, there was an attempt for peace. "I’ve proposed to Taliban not continue with this war since it’s better to solve our problems peacefully, through negotiations rather than fighting,” -Dostum.
For background from my thread on Pres Rabbani. Dostum ended up welcoming him to Mazar when Taliban took Kabul. A stronger alliance was made with Rabbani/Massoud. The fighting continued into 1997 and 1998.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jul
Thread on Naghlu Dam
Tweets by AF (@TheFahimi): 1/8

Khrushchev and Bulganin welcomed by PM Muhammad Daud Khan in #Kabul in Dec 1955. They agreed to extend a $100 million aid by USSR to #Afghanistan which would build #Naghlu dam, Bagram military airfield and Darunta dam.
Naghlu dam, also #Afghanistan’s largest hydropower plant with a 100 MW generation capacity, is located on Kabul River in Surobi district of #Kabul. Work on the dam started in January 1960 and by 1968 the dam was ready for operation. /AF
When Surobi area was controlled by Hekmatyar's militia (i.e. during #Soviet-#Afghan war and in the years leading to the #Taliban rule), they used the power plant as a tool to pressure Kabul by cutting the electricity connection.
Later, the Taliban would do the same. /AF
Read 8 tweets
14 Jun
June 13, 2020. #AhmadZahir would have been 74 years old today. MM 1/11
While the details of #AhmadZahir's death are shrouded in both mystery and controversy, it seems more apt to celebrate the societal contributions he made during his life. MM 2/11
The photo below is a glimpse of #AhmadZahir, as a teenager. He holds in his arms an accordion, an instrument he had long since mastered. MM 3/11
Photo Source: @afghanmagazine
Read 11 tweets
27 Apr
“The Revolution of 7th Saur has been victorious & armed forces of the country are in control. We congratulate the people of Afghanistan,” said radio announcement on repeat across #Afghanistan. A government formed with leaders of People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (THREAD)
The new government led by Nur Mohammed Taraki paraded their support in Kabul. They had killed Pres Daoud Khan & 17 members of his family (cousin King Zahir Shah watched from exile in Italy after 1973 coup ended Afghan Monarchy) buried them all in a mass grave discovered in 2008.
The last Afghan King was not the only one watching. At UN, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Hafizullah Amin insisted April 1978 was not another coup d'etat."It was not in anyway sponsored by the Soviet Union, it was sponsored, organized, planned by the people of #Afghanistan."
Read 11 tweets
26 Apr
This is my last thread for @AfghanHistorian on the events of January-April 1992 which led to the collapse of the Communist State in #Afghanistan. I will end with some concluding thoughts and questions for further studies.
25 April: after a month of negotiations btw Tanzim leaders, Peshawar Accord was reached. It agreed 4 d formation of d Transition Council (Shura-i Intiqali) for 2 months led by Prof. Mojaddadi (comprised of 10 nominees of tanzims, 10 ulama,& 30 field com.) (TS)
Followed by Prof. Rabbani as President & Head of Shura-i Qiyadi (Leadership Council) for a further 4 months. This is then followed by a Shura-i Ahl-e Hal va Aqd (Council of Supreme Popular Settlement) 2 form an Interim Govt which would organize elections after 18 months (TS)
Read 17 tweets
25 Apr
With fall of Mazar, a military council (Harakat-i-Shamal-the Movement of the North) was set up under leadership of Dostum. Members: Alam Khan(Jamiat), Juma K. Hamdard(Hizb), Mas’ab (Wahdat), Abdul Wahid (Harakat); militia(Rasul, Ghaffar, Rozi, Jaffar Naderi),& PDPA (Momin&Hilal)
On 21 March, interestingly Gen. Azimi was invited to raise the Jand-e-Bala in Mazar New Year celebrations in which all d Movement of the North members were present. This gave further legitimacy to the Movement. In his speech, Azimi makes no mention of the central government.
Jumping forward: ultimately this alliance leads to the formation of Junbish-i-Milli-Islami (National Islamic Movement) in order to improve Dostum & allies's bargaining power and to establish them as a political force against Jihadis in Kabul.
Read 23 tweets
17 Jan
(1/13) The power struggle within the State Dept. in fall 1996 had two factions: 1) the Afghan desk, under the South Asia Bureau run by Asst. Sec. Robin Raphel, whose members like Lee Coldren were not on board with the Admin's broader attempts to center women's rights as an
(2/13) important foreign policy issue & who wanted to engage with the new #Taliban regime in #Afghanistan due to other US interests in Central Asia; and 2) women's rights advocates in the State Dept., especially members of the Office of Global Women's Issues (#OIWI). The first
(3/13) group thought that women's rights concerns were not as important as "real" policy issues, & they were the ones who released the initial statements that seemed to indicate that the US was going to do business with the Taliban. Their reasons for wanting to engage with the
Read 13 tweets
16 Jan
(1/19) I left off yesterday with the #Taliban seizure of #Kabul in Sept. 1996. The #UnitedStates & much of the international community had largely ignored #Afghanistan since the 1989 Soviet withdrawal, so US policymakers, journalists, & others were startled by the Taliban's
(2/19) seemingly sudden seizure of power & were especially troubled by the Taliban's treatment of the people of Kabul. Had the US news been paying attention before Sept. 1996, they would have seen that, although the Taliban initially positioned themselves as wanting to rescue...
(3/19) the Afghan people from the depredations of the mujahideen, once in control of an area they only added to most people's already considerable suffering.

Once they controlled an area, they imposed draconian codes of “pious” behavior based on their twisted view of Islamic...
Read 19 tweets
15 Jan
(1/12) Thread on sources for further reading for the 1979-1996 period (give or take). The entire bibliography for my book is available online at Here are a few sources drawn from that. This list is certainly NOT exhaustive, and my book was published in
(2/12) Nov. 2017, so this does not include the books and articles published since about 2016 (when I completed the final draft of my book). I've moved on to a new project on Iran and haven't been keeping up as much with the new literature on Afghanistan, so feel free to tweet
(3/12) suggestions of good scholarship that I have left out of these tweets! These are just a few sources to get you started.

Some primary sources: Latifa, written with the collaboration of Shekeba Hachemi. My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman’s...
Read 12 tweets
15 Jan
(1/11) In was in this context of the 1992-1996 civil war between the mujahideen in #Afghanistan that the Taliban Taliban developed & began to take over parts of the country. Afghanistan by this point had been at war for a decade and a half, countless civilians had become refugees
(2/11) or had died, & those still in the country were suffering both because of continued warfare and because of abuses by the warlords. The #Taliban, then, initially positioned themselves as the saviors of Afghanistan, and they said they wanted to protect the Afghan people from
(3/11) the warlords. Their leader (about whom much is still unknown), the one-eyed Mullah Muhammed Omar, mobilized his followers in the early 1990s to “restore peace, disarm the population, enforce Sharia law and defend the integrity and Islamic character of Afghanistan.” They...
Read 11 tweets
15 Jan
(1/9) Hello again! I left off yesterday with U.S. policy during the Soviet-Afghan War and the effect of the war - and the #mujahideen - on Afghan women. Picking up the story today where I left off.

The Soviet-Afghan War was a complex war with multiple conflicts happening...
(2/9) simultaneously. It was 1) a civil war between the Afghan communist government and the mujahideen rebels; 2) an international war between the Soviet Union and the mujahideen rebels; and 3) a proxy war in which the U.S., Pakistan, Iran, and several other countries backed...
(3/9) different Afghan factions (i.e., Iran supported the Shia mujahideen factions). Ultimately, the USSR withdrew from #Afghanistan in defeat in 1989. The U.S. and many other countries then turned their attention elsewhere, but the war was not over for Afghans. The civil war ...
Read 9 tweets
14 Jan
(1/14) From the US perspective, the Soviet invasion of #Afghanistan = global communist aggression. All remnants of detente ended once the Red Army crossed the Afghan border. To counter the USSR, the #Carter and #Reagan administrations supported the #mujahideen. Throughout the... Image
(2/14) 1980s, US policymakers - in Congress, the CIA, and the White House - provided covert military & financial
aid to the mujahideen and assumed, incorrectly, that the US could use Islam as a weapon in the Cold War. The US secretly provided an est. $10 bil. in aid to the...
(3/14) mujahideen, although estimates vary widely because records on this remain classified. What we know for sure was that was in the billions of dollars and included money, weapons, training, and CIA recruitment of fighters from the Arab Middle East. Few Americans asked... Image
Read 14 tweets
14 Jan
(1/4) Today's tweets offer more historical context for the Clinton policy tweets later this week. I left off yesterday with the Soviet-Afghan War. During the war, #Afghanistan's communist government was deeply unpopular with much of the country's population. The rebels who fought
(2/4) both the invading Soviets and the Afghan communist government were collectively called the mujahideen, who often expressed their opposition to atheistic communism in religious terms and cast the war as a jihad. The mujahideen, however, were very diverse. They
included at... Image
(3/4) least 7 different main factions: most were
Sunnis, some were Shia, and their interpretations of Islam varied widely. The mujahideen were also divided along ethnic, linguistic, and regional lines. The rebels’
opposition to the communists bound them together during the war.
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
(1/9) The political instability that created the conditions for the eventual rise of the Taliban to power started in 1973. Mohammed Zahir Shah had been king since 1933. During his 40 years on the throne, the country had made steady progress and in 1963 adopted a new... Image
(2/9) constitution that introduced an elected parliament and other reforms and that included women's rights provisions, so from 1963 onward Mohammed Zahir Shah ruled as a constitutional monarch. In July 1973, while the king was in Europe, his cousin and former prime minister...
(3/9) Mohammed Daoud Khan (PM 1953-1963) staged a coup, declared Afghanistan a republic, and declared himself president, thus ending the monarchy. Daoud Khan pursued progressive policies, including promoting women's rights, but he governed for only about 5 years (1973 to... Image
Read 9 tweets
13 Jan
(1/8) Okay, this thread establishes some basic historical context on #Afghanistan for my tweets later this week on the 1990s, the Taliban, and the Clinton Administration. As previous tweeters from this account have explained, Afghanistan has a long and proud history. Image
(2/8) As a very diverse country with mountainous terrain, Afghanistan has both been difficult for outsiders to conquer and for centralized governments to govern. Different regions were typically semi-autonomous. In 1919, Afghanistan won its third war against Britain, which...
(3/8) is often called the War for Independence. Amanullah Khan, the nation's monarch, then embarked on an ambitious modernizing and centralizing reform program modeled on the West. Among other reforms, Amanullah Khan's government promoted women's education and women's rights... Image
Read 8 tweets
19 Dec 19
#Thread 4
#AhmadShahDurrani wrote both prose & poetry mainly in Pashto, but also in Dari/Persian.
He regularly held Majlis-e ulama (“Assembly of the Learned/Scholars”) devoted to divinity, civil law & literature, even when on expeditions.
@DawoodAzami DA 1
@DawoodAzami Ishrat (who composed #AhmadShahDurrani’s Shahnamah in #Persian) says that the #Shah really likes the company of & discussions with the scholars/learned people.
He adds the #Shah doesn't have any other love "except the love of #book".
ندارد محبت بغیر از کتاب
@DawoodAzami DA 2
@DawoodAzami #AhmadShahDurrani regularly held Majlis-e ulama (Assembly of the Learned/Scholars) devoted to divinity & civil law & literature.
Raverty (1862) described the knowledge/education of the #Shah to be the equivalent of a "Doctor of Literature or Divinity” (p. 289). @DawoodAzami DA 3
Read 9 tweets
14 Oct 19
A thread on C20th #Afghanistan this evening, the theme “modernisation”, periodically the goal of Afghan govts. I start from a building, the British Legation in Kabul, which I first heard about from an archaeologist on Cyprus who’d helped catalogue its library in the 70s. (LlM)
Here is film of life at the Legation in the 1930s, from the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge:… I saw it in 2009, when it was a shell: it has now been restored & houses the Embassy of Pakistan. (LlM)
It was built in the 20s, & was designed to communicate a message to Afghanistan from its neighbour, British India. Curzon, Foreign Sec, wished His Majesty’s representative in Afghanistan to be “the best-housed man in Asia,” better housed, by implication than the Afghan King (LlM)
Read 30 tweets
6 Oct 19
Hello everyone, I am @IbrahimiNiamat wth a last thread about Hazara War. I appreciate your interest in the 1sth thread. In this thread, I make sme observations about what a critical understanding of incidents like this war mean for understanding of #Afghanistan history & politics
1. In 1893, the Hazara War ended with a total one-sided victory. No significant effort was to heal the deep wounds that were left behind by the Amir. In 1921, Amanullah Khan outlawed slavery but structural and socio-economic power relations that developed in 1893 persisted. NI
2. When he died, in the words of Prof. @BRRubin, the Amir left behind a ‘consolidated if terrorized state’ (2002, p. 52). That is to say, the state gained an overwhelming coercive power but the society it governed was left with deep traumas and wounds. NI
Read 23 tweets
5 Oct 19
Hello Tweeps, I am @IbrahimiNiamat and I am taking over this account for a day. I am a researcher based in Melbourne Australia. I would like to thank @mariamamini for creating the page and innovatively using it to generate debate and increase awareness of #Afghanistan history.
@IbrahimiNiamat @mariamamini Many thanks to @basirahang & @KadrieNama for their threads and to @NikValentini for starting this debate about the 1891-93 Hazara War. I will add a few remarks about the war and then focus on its consequences. Usual caveats apply, all views my own and my tweets r undersigned NI.
@IbrahimiNiamat @mariamamini @basirahang @KadrieNama @NikValentini 1.Short commentaries on complex events are always fraught with challenges. Twitter character limits make it even more difficult, so it will not be possible to unpack the full complexity of the Hazara Wars here but the goal is to generate critical debate and historiography. NI.
Read 23 tweets
3 Oct 19
In analysing the history of #Afghanistan, scholars and historians often assessed the independence and autonomy of a given region based on their ability to resist an imposition of tax. Paying levies was therefore the way power-relations and supremacy was understood. 5/N.K.
In this sense, the #Hazarajat as a whole was what scholars often deemed as a “semi-independent” region. By 1891, aside from #Uruzgan, every other region (14 districts) of the #Hazarajat paid taxes to Abdur Rahman Khan. 6/N.K.
Most regions throughout the #Hazarajat were headed by ‘mirs’ or ‘khans’ and a system of feudalism operated throughout this sphere. 7/N.K.
Read 14 tweets
19 Sep 19
In 2009 dozens of Afghan war veterans carrying nearly a decade of lessons helped GEN McChrystal to reset the Afghan war strategy and worked in key positions around the nation and with the Afghan government to put the changes in wouldn’t be their last tour yet
The shift in resources & ideas would bring a big shift in professionalism to the ANA
By 2008 the ANA was growing, but also losing too many men to desertion. Professionalism lagged. Leaders were not being promoted on merit enough. Morale was not high enough.
The enemy knew this
In DC there was a lot of pressure being placed on LTG McChrystal to fix it all. I was his ADC as he moved thru senate confirmation. The expectations were high. We talked often about the ANA as we prepped for his introductions to the Afghan government in May 2009.
Read 19 tweets