It has been five years since the Afghanistan's ruling Taliban came to power, however with the threat of a U.S. -led military attack, there is little to celebrate on the anniversary day.
(W3) SALANG HIGHWAY, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 1983) (REUTERS)
HAS SOVIET ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER ON ROAD; SLV ANTI-TANK MISSILE HITS APC (2 SHOTS)
MV MUJAHIDEEN RUNNING; ZOOM IN WOUNDED SOVIET SOLDIER ON GROUND (2 SHOTS)
MV DAMAGED APC AFLAME WITH BODIES ON GROUND (2 SHOTS)
(W3) NEAR JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - FEBRUARY 1983) (REUTERS)
WIDE MOUNTAINS; VARIOUS OF MUJAHIDEEN IN MOUNTAINS ON MANOUEVRES, MUJAHIDEEN FIRING MISSILES (5 SHOTS)
(W3) KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - FEBRUARY 1995) (REUTERS)
FORMER AFGHAN PRESIDENT NAJIBULLAH GREETING DIGNITARIES
(W3) KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - SEPTEMBER 27, 1996) (REUTERS)
WIDE CROWD; MV BODIES OF FORMER AFGHAN PRESIDENT NAJIBULLAH AND HIS BROTHER SHAHPUR AHMADZAI HANGING FROM TRAFFIC POST (2 SHOTS)
(W3) NEAR KABUL AND PANSHIR VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN (FILE - OCTOBER 26-27, 1996)
MV TALIBAN FIGHTERS WAVING TO TALIBAN HELICOPTER AS IT FLIES OVERHEAD
SLV TALIBAN TANK DRIVING ACROSS VALLEY
MV TALIBAN TANK FIRING
SLV/SV TALIBAN FIGHTER FIRING MULTIPLE ROCKET
VARIOUS OF TALIBAN FIGHTERS (2 SHOTS)
MV TANK ON MANOUEVRES AS IT CROSSES A STREAM
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Background: It has been five years since the Afghanistan's ruling Taliban came to power, however with the threat of a U.S. -led military attack, there is little to celebrate on the anniversary day.
When the last Soviet soldier marched out of Afghanistan in 1989, the world and most Afghans hoped peace would return to allow the rebuilding of their war-ravaged country.
Their hopes were dashed. The fighting continued, now amongst the Afghans themselves. The mujahideen groups, who had won fame for their exploits against the Red Army, were marginalised by their own internecine fighting. And while jockeying for power after a communist government, led by President Najibullah, collapsed in 1992, after surviving for three years in power, where taken over by another faction in Afghanistan's long war.
In September 1996, the Taliban Islamic militia captured Kabul and hung Najibullah and his brother Shahpur Ahmadzai on September 27 from a traffic post in the city centre.
During their five years in power, the Taliban have managed to keep control of the capital city and much of the country, although fighting has continued almost unabated since their takeover. The main opposition force is now the Northern Alliance.
However now they may have an even more formidable opponent.
The United States and Britain have told the Taliban that they must hand over Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, the man Washington suspects of masterminding the September 11 attacks that killed up to 7,000 people.
The Taliban have pledged continued defiance of U.S.
demands to hand over bin Laden.
Already one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan faces a "stunning" humanitarian crisis as the threat of U.S. military strikes exacerbates already tenuous conditions, six U.N. agencies have said in a joint statement.
They said war fears could drive another 1.5 million Afghans to flee the country, joining 3.5 million who have already sought refuge in Iran and Pakistan in recent years.