2004 in Afghanistan

2004 In Afghanistan

Thursday, January 1 - Close to half of the loya jirga boycotted a vote on five disputed articles concerning the Proposed Afghan Constitution, promoting Chairman Subghatullah Mujadidi to call for a two-day adjournment to for negotiations. Advisors from the United Nations (UN) and the United States were present to help mediate between the two sides. The primary controversy concerned whether to have a strong president or a strong parliament.

Friday, January 2 - In Kabul, Afghan leaders met privately with U.S. and UN officials, including UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, to try to end the impasse over the Proposed Afghan Constitution.

  • Canadian governor general Adrienne Clarkson left Kabul, ending a four-day visit with aid workers and soldiers at Camp Julien and Camp Warehouse.
  • About 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Kunduz, several people were detained by U.S. and Afghan troops during a raid of a drug facility, which contained about two tons of drugs and equipment. Once the people were removed a U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt II was called in to destroy the laboratory.

Saturday, January 3 - A rocket exploded in Kabul. There were no casualties.

  • Near Deh Rawood, Uruzgan Province, men attacked a U.S. military convoy that had arrested three relatives of Haji Ghulam Nabi. Two U.S. soldiers were injured.

Sunday, January 4 - The loya jirga adopted the proposed Afghan Constitution by way of consensus.

Monday, January 5 - North of Qalat, Zabul Province, men kidnapped an Afghan aid worker who was part of a caravan for Shelter For Life. Two local people were shot and injured when they tried to stop the militants. Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Hakim Latifi claimed responsibility.

  • Gunmen threw grenades and opened fire on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees office Kandahar.
  • Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy to Afghanistan stepped down as promised to do once the Constitution of Afghanistan was approved. Brahimi's position was filled on an interim-basis by his deputy for political affairs, Jean Arnault.
  • Three soldiers of the Afghan National Army died and two were wounded in a clashed with forces under the control of the Zabul Province governor. Among the dead was the commander of the army division in Zabul, Shah Alam.
  • In Teheran, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed an agreement to give Indian goods heading for central Asia and Afghanistan similar preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Tuesday, January 6 - In Kandahar, at least sixteen people were killed (six of which were children) and 58 people were wounded when a time bomb hidden in an apple cart exploded 100 yards (91 m) away from an Afghan military base. The crowd had gathered to investigate another bomb that had gone off 15 minutes earlier and injured a small child. A suspect was caught trying to hide in a nearby home. The blasts occurred moments before a motorcade was about to pass.

  • In Afghanistan, a minibus on its way from Uruzgan to Helmand was ambushed by gunmen, leaving twelve Hazara passengers dead.
  • In a report issued to the United Nations Security Council, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that violence in Afghanistan could disrupt the timing of elections scheduled for June and noted that south and south-east Afghanistan was mostly off-limits to the United Nations, NGOs and Afghan officials. He called for another political and donor conference to address these concerns.
  • A grenade was thrown at the Core office in Kandahar.
  • Speaking to the media via satellite telephone, senior Taliban commander Mullah Sabir Momin apologized for the bomb attack in Kandahar the previous day that killed fifteen, including many children. Momin said the intended target was the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team office in Kandahar.
  • U.S. and Afghan National Army forces launched an operation in Spin Boldak with the goal of arresting Taliban leaders, particularly fugitive commander Mullah Akhter Mohammad.
  • Fourteen tons of aid from Canadian donors was distributed by Canadian soldiers to widows and orphans in Kabul. The donations included winter clothing, blankets, toys, chewing gum, school supplies and diapers. Care Canada also distributed to each family, through funding from the Canadian International Development Agency, enough to help feed seven people for up to a month.
  • In Afghanistan, a bomb found hidden under straw near a downtown Kandahar bus station was defused.
  • Gunfire was exchanged on the streets of Kandahar, prompting U.S. soldiers to move in.

Thursday, January 8 - In Kandahar, two Afghan National Army soldiers were wounded (one losing a leg) by a bomb that exploded on the roof of a building less than an eighth of a mile from the January 6 incident that killed over a dozen people.

  • In Afghanistan, Kandahar police arrested six people in possession of documents that linked them to the Taliban. A confession also linked the men to the bomb planted the day before in the bus station.
  • In Jalalabad, Afghan and U.S. officials held a ceremony opening a new U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team.
  • United Nations spokesman Manuel de Almeida de Silva stated that, to date, only 274,000 (2.7%) of the 10 million Afghans eligible to vote have been registered.
  • Pakistan launched a military operation utilizing helicopter gunships and ground troops against suspected al-Qaeda cells in the area of South Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan.
  • Afghan authorities in Kabul arrested eleven people suspected of involvement with a December 28, 2003 suicide bombing near the airport.
  • Protesting against the decision by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to reject their refugee claims, seven Afghan asylum-seekers (including three women) on Indonesia's Lombok island began a hunger strike by sewing up their mouths.
  • In Mazari Sharif, local police removed a bomb from a ditch near a United Nations office.

Friday, January 9 - A rocket hit an army camp in Wana (Pakistan), South Waziristan, Pakistan, killing four Pakistani soldiers.

Saturday, January 10 - Interim Afghan president Hamid Karzai announced that he would be a candidate for the election to be held in June.

  • A U.S. soldier died from complications caused by a vehicle accident southwest of Kabul a day earlier.

Sunday, January 11 - Five Afghan National Army soldiers died and three others were injured when they came under attack in Kandahar Province.

  • In Helmand Province, four men were killed as they planted a land mine on a road regularly used by military patrols.
  • A rocket was fired at the Khost airport in Afghanistan, which was used by U.S. troops, but it failed to explode.
  • In Mazari Sharif, a guard and an employee were injured when a bomb exploded in front of the office of the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development.
  • Pakistan freed about 150 Afghan prisoners being held for violating immigration laws.

Monday, January 12 - The Afghan National Field Hockey Team arrived in Peshawar, Pakistan to play six matches over ten days.

  • In Nimroz Province, dozens of men armed with assault rifles attacked a police checkpoint, killing four policemen.
  • An agreement was signed by ISAF and the Afghan the Ministry of Defense to begin the demobilization of heavy weapons from Kabul.
  • Pakistan prime minister Zafarullah Jamali met with interim Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to discuss economic links and terrorism.
  • Three videos featuring women were shown on Kabul TV. One of the clips included old footage of Salma singing a ballad; another was a religious song in Urdu to honor the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

Tuesday, January 13 - Afghanistan released 100 Pakistani prisoners to reciprocate a similar gesture by Pakistan only days earlier. The prisoners had been suspected of fighting for the Taliban.

  • Tribal elders in South Waziristan, Pakistan handed over to authorities three men wanted for sheltering Al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives.

Wednesday, January 14 - About a dozen rockets were fired at the U.S. base near the Khost airport in Afghanistan. There were no casualties.

  • A ban on women singing or dancing on television in Afghanistan was re-established only days after the ban had been lifted. The Supreme Court of Afghanistan wrote to the Information and Culture Minister, Sayyid Makhdum Rahin, to protest January 12 airing. The court stated that women singing or dancing was in defiance of Islamic law.
  • In Khost, U.S. forces uncovered a cache of weapons that included grenades, mortar rounds, mines and rifles.
  • U.S. troops near Ghazni discovered two tanks, two anti-aircraft guns.

Thursday, January 15 - Outgoing U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the United Nations Security Council that elections scheduled for June were unrealistic because factions and extremists continued to threaten the peace process. Brahimi also criticized the Bonn Agreements on the grounds that the Taliban had not been present there. He also criticized western feminists protesting the burqa. He said women would go further in Afghanistan through education, not changes in dress.

Friday, January 16 - At the request of the United Nations, Chinese police officer Zhang Ming was sent to Afghanistan to help fight drug trafficking.

  • In Canada, ten Afghan National Army military officers started 16-weeks of English language training. The program was to develop the officers into English instructors. Sixty-five more officers were slated for training in the program over the next three years.
  • An estimated seven rockets were fired at the U.S. air base in Khost, but none hit their target.

Saturday, January 17 - Forty rebels ambushed an Afghan convoy in Kandahar Province, provoking a gun fight that left three rebels and two Afghan National Army soldiers dead.

  • In spite of objections by the Afghan Supreme Court, Kabul TV aired footage of 1960s female star Ustad Mahwash singing.
  • German ISAF soldiers removed from Kabul International Airport wreckage of an Antonov cargo plane left over from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Interim Afghan president Hamid Karzai argued that the issue of women singing on television should be left to his government.

Monday, January 19 - In a raid on a compound in Kabul, Canadian soldiers arrested 16 men and seized drugs, cash and weapons.

  • In Afghanistan, Uruzgan Province governor Jan Mohammad Khan and Charcheno district chief Abdur Rahman claimed that four children and seven adults were killed January 18 by a U.S. air strike on the village of Saghatho. The U.S. military refuted the claims (even as late as February 3) and said that the attack killed five armed men who near a Taliban compound.
  • Three U.S. soldiers were wounded in an attack on the U.S. base in Deh Rawood in Uruzgan Province. One attacker was killed in the gunfight.
  • U.S. playwright William Mastrosimone presented a play (The Afghan Women) to a group of actors at the headquarters of the Afghan television company in Kabul.
  • Ismail Khan, the governor of Herat Province stated at a session of the Afghan Islamic Unification Council his harsh protest against the Afghan women's songs broadcast by Afghan TV. He and other lecturers stated they wanted the government to stop the broadcasting of such songs by the TV. Khan ordered the collection of music tapes and video tapes in Herat.

Tuesday, January 20- Pakistan announced there no longer any bans on goods exported to Afghanistan, with the exception of ghee and cooking oil.

  • ISAF and Afghan police arrested several top suspects in the Gulbuddin Hekmatyar-network.

Thursday, January 22 - 100 Canadian soldiers arrived in Kabul to start a six-month tour of duty.

Friday, January 23 - Iran announced that it would place a dozen jailed al-Qaeda suspects on trial.

  • Afghan National Army General Bismillah Khan arrived in New Delhi, India for a three-day official visit with planned meetings with chief of the Indian army staff general NC Vij, air chief S Krishnaswamy and Admiral Madhvendera Singh, Chairman Chiefs of Staff committee.

Saturday, January 24 - In Nangarhar Province, at least four children were wounded by a landmine.

  • In Nangarhar Province, rockets hit a governmental building, causing some damages but no injuries.
  • The Faroe Islands, Hope for Humanity, HELP International, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency completed an education project in Jowzjan Province that rehabilitated the Oramast Elementary School, the Mirwaismina School and the Jowzjan Orphanage. The six-month effort provided the schools with wooden desks and chairs, glass for windows, sports equipment kit, playground equipment and a water wells. Hygiene and sanitation curriculum was also introduced.

Sunday, January 25 - Responding to rocket attacks on its air base in the region, U.S. planes bombed several areas in the Narang district, Kunar Province.

  • Near the Afghan border town of Chaman, Pakistani forces arrested Maulvi Abdul Mannan Khawajazai, who ran the Taliban finances and was once the governor of the western Badghis Province.

Monday, January 26 - With assistance from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, the Afghan Ministry of Health began a three-day vaccination program intended to reach about five million children aged five and under in Afghanistan.

  • In a ceremony in Kabul, interim president Hamid Karzai officially signed the Constitution of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, January 27 - A Canadian soldier, Jamie Brendan Murphy, and one Afghan civilian were killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul. Three others soldiers and nine bystanders were injured.

  • Afghan higher education minister Mohammed Sharif Fayez announced that more than 6,000 people who passed a matriculation exam January 26 had to retake their exams after it was discovered that questions had been sold around the country.

Wednesday, January 28 - A British soldier was killed and another four were wounded by a car bomb in Kabul. Mullah Hakim Latifi of the Taliban claimed responsibility.

  • Near the German base outside Kabul, five foreigners were injured by a suicide bomber. Mullah Hakim Latifi of the Taliban claimed responsibility.
  • In Kabul, a group of Loya jirga delegates led by Abdul Hafiz Mansoor made claims that the version of the Constitution of Afghanistan signed by Hamid Karzai on January 26 contained more than fifteen changes from the document approved of on January 4. The group sent a copy of their complaints to the U.S. embassy, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, the European Union and former king Mohammad Zahir Shah.

Thursday, January 29 - Eight U.S. soldiers were killed and at least three were wounded when an explosion occurred at a weapons storage area near Ghazni. The explosion may have been caused by a booby-trap.

  • Pakistani authorities seized 1600 kg of heroin at the border town of Kili Ali Akbar, but made no arrests.
  • Asadullah Abdul Rahman, Muhammad Ismail Agha and a third child (ages 13 to 15) were released by U.S. officials from Camp X-Ray in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and returned to Afghanistan.
  • A bipartisan delegation from the United States House of Representatives visited with interim Afghan president Hamid Karzai in Kabul. Delegates included Curt Weldon, Rodney Alexander, and Mark Souder.

Saturday, January 31 - In Deh Rawood, a remote-controlled bomb destroyed a vehicle, killing Mayor Khalif Sadaht and seven of his relatives.

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