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Profile: Northern Alliance

 
  

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Northern Alliance actively participated in the following events:

 
  

August 9, 1998: Northern Alliance Stronghold Conquered by Taliban; Pipeline Project Now Looks Promising      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Northern Alliance capital of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, is conquered by the Taliban. Military support of Pakistan's ISI plays a large role; there is even an intercept of an ISI officer stating, “My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i-Sharif.” [New York Times, 12/8/01] This victory gives the Taliban control of 90 percent of Afghanistan, including the entire proposed pipeline route. CentGas, the consortium behind the gas pipeline that would run through Afghanistan, is now “ready to proceed. Its main partners are the American oil firm Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, plus Hyundai of South Korea, two Japanese companies, a Pakistani conglomerate and the Turkmen government.” However, the pipeline cannot be financed unless the government is officially recognized. “Diplomatic sources said the Taliban's offensive was well prepared and deliberately scheduled two months ahead of the next UN meeting” where members are to decide whether the Taliban should be recognized. [Daily Telegraph, 8/13/98]
People and organizations involved: Energy Information Agency, Northern Alliance, Taliban, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

March 15, 2001: India, Iran, Russia, and US Work in Concert to Remove Taliban      Complete 911 Timeline

       Jane's Intelligence Review reports that the US is working with India, Iran, and Russia “in a concerted front against Afghanistan's Taliban regime.” India is supplying the Northern Alliance with military equipment, advisers, and helicopter technicians and both India and Russia are using bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for their operation. [Jane's Intelligence Review, 3/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Russia, Tajikistan, Northern Alliance, Taliban, India, Iran, Uzbekistan
          

June 2001: US Still Fails to Aid Taliban Resistance      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US considers substantially aiding Ahmed Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance. As one counterterrorism official put it, “You keep [al-Qaeda terrorists] on the front lines in Afghanistan. Hopefully you're killing them in the process, and they're not leaving Afghanistan to plot terrorist operations.” A former US special envoy to the Afghan resistance visits Massoud this month. Massoud gives him “all the intelligence he [has] on al-Qaeda” in the hopes of getting some support in return. However, he gets nothing more than token amounts and his organization isn't even given “legitimate resistance movement” status. [Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Shah Massoud, al-Qaeda, United States, Northern Alliance
          

June 27, 2001: India and Pakistan Discuss Building Pipeline Project Through Iran      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Wall Street Journal reports that Pakistan and India are discussing jointly building a gas pipeline from Central Asian gas fields through Iran to circumvent the difficulties of building the pipeline through Afghanistan. Iran has been secretly supporting the Northern Alliance to keep Afghanistan divided so no pipelines could be put through it. [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/01]
People and organizations involved: Northern Alliance, India, Pakistan
          

September 9, 2001: Northern Alliance Leader Massoud Is Assassinated in Anticipation of 9/11 Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       General Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance, is assassinated by two al-Qaeda agents posing as Moroccan journalists. [Time, 8/4/02] A legendary mujahedeen commander and a brilliant tactician, Massoud had pledged to bring freedom and democracy to Afghanistan. The BBC says the next day, “General Massoud's death might well have meant the end of the [Northern] alliance” because there clearly was no figure with his skills and popularity to replace him. [BBC, 9/10/01; BBC, 9/10/01 (B)] “With Massoud out of the way, the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be rid of their most effective opponent and be in a stronger position to resist the American onslaught.” [St. Petersburg Times, 9/9/02] It appears the assassination was supposed to happen earlier: the “journalists” waited for three weeks in Northern Alliance territory to meet Massoud. Finally on September 8, an aide says they “were so worried and excitable they were begging us.” They were granted an interview after threatening to leave if the interview did not happen in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Taliban army (together with elements of the Pakistani army) had massed for an offensive against the Northern Alliance in the previous weeks, but the offensive began only hours after the assassination. Massoud was killed that day but Northern Alliance leaders pretend for several days that Massoud was only injured in order to keep the Northern Alliance army's morale up, and they are able to stave off total defeat. The timing of the assassination and the actions of the Taliban army suggest that the 9/11 attacks were known to the Taliban leadership. [Time, 8/4/02] Though it is not widely reported, the Northern Alliance releases a statement the next day: “Ahmed Shah Massoud was the target of an assassination attempt organized by the Pakistani [intelligence service] ISI and Osama bin Laden.” [Radio Free Europe, 9/10/01; Newsday, 9/15/01; Reuters, 10/4/01] This suggests that the ISI may also have had prior knowledge of the attack plans.
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Northern Alliance, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Ahmed Shah Massoud
          

November 9, 2001: The Taliban Loses Control of Northern Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Taliban abandon the strategic northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, allowing the Northern Alliance to take control. [Associated Press, 8/19/02] The Taliban abandons the rest of Northern Afghanistan in the next few days, except the city of Kunduz, where most of the Taliban flee. Kunduz falls on November 25, but not before most of the thousands of fighters there are airlifted out. [New Yorker, 1/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Northern Alliance, Taliban
          

November 13, 2001: Kabul Falls to Northern Alliance; Rest of Country Soon Follows      Complete 911 Timeline

       Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, falls to the Northern Alliance. The Taliban will abandon the rest of the country over the next few weeks. [BBC, 11/13/01] As The New Yorker reports, “The initial American aim in Afghanistan had been not to eliminate the Taliban's presence there entirely but to undermine the regime and al-Qaeda while leaving intact so-called moderate Taliban elements that would play a role in a new postwar government. This would insure that Pakistan would not end up with a regime on its border dominated by the Northern Alliance.” The surprisingly quick fall of Kabul ruins this plan. [New Yorker, 1/21/02]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, al-Qaeda, Northern Alliance, Bush administration
          

November 14, 2001: Al-Qaeda Convoy Flees to Tora Bora; US Fails to Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Northern Alliance captures the Afghan city of Jalalabad. [Sydney Morning Herald, 11/14/01] On this night, a convoy of 1,000 or more al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters escapes from Jalalabad and reaches the fortress of Tora Bora after hours of driving and then walking. Bin Laden is believed to be with them, riding in one of “several hundred cars” in the convoy. The US bombs the nearby Jalalabad airport, but apparently does not attack the convoy. [Knight Ridder, 10/20/02; Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Northern Alliance, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

Mid-November 2001: Afghan Politician Says Mohammed Atef US Policy Prevented bin Laden Capture      Complete 911 Timeline

       Ismail Khan's troops and other Northern Alliance fighters are reportedly ready to take back Pashtun areas from Taliban control at this time. Khan, governor of Herat province and one of Afghanistan's most successful militia leaders, later maintains that “we could have captured all the Taliban and the al-Qaeda groups. We could have arrested Osama bin Laden with all of his supporters.” [USA Today, 1/2/02] However, according to Khan, his forces hold back at the request of the US, who allegedly do not want the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance to conquer Pashtun areas. British newspapers at the time report bin Laden is surrounded in a 30-mile area, but the conquest of Kandahar takes weeks without the Northern Alliance and bin Laden slips away (other accounts put him at Tora Bora). [CNN, 11/18/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Northern Alliance, Ismail Khan, United States
          

December 17, 2001: Northern Alliance Declares Victory at Tora Bora; Afghan War Considered Over      Complete 911 Timeline

       Northern Alliance forces declare that the battle of Tora Bora, with a ground assault begun on December 5, has been won. The Afghan war is widely considered finished. However, in retrospect, many consider the battle a failure because most of the enemy escapes, and the Taliban will later regroup. [Christian Science Monitor, 3/4/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Northern Alliance, Taliban
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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