Quick Guide: Afghanistan's challenges
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Soviet invasion

Rise of the Taleban

US-led war



Soviet invasion
Soviet troops were sent to prop up the pro-Moscow regime

The overthrow of Afghanistan's King Zahir Shah in 1973 sparked a chain of events that led to decades of unrest.

Reforms imposed by a Moscow-backed regime sparked rebellions and, in 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan.

US-backed Islamic fighters known as mujahideen - among them Osama Bin Laden - fought the Soviets and the country became a Cold War battleground.

In 1989, the USSR withdrew in defeat, leaving behind a devastated country and hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead.