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Northern Alliance

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A loose alliance of primarily Pashtun Islamic groups which took control of Kabul in 1992. It disintegrated in 1993, but the alliance was reformed in 1996 as its leaders retreated from the Taliban offensive. It controlled less than 10 per cent of Afghan territory between 1999 and 2001. It received a further blow in early September when its leader, Ahmed Shah Masood, was killed. A few days later, the September 11 attacks changed the position of the Northern Alliance. As the principal opposition army against the Taliban in the War on Terrorism, it became the principal ally of the USA. After weeks of sustained bombing of Taliban positions by US missiles and bombs, Taliban resistance collapsed, and on 13 November the Northern Alliance captured the Afghan capital, Kabul. Under US pressure, the Northern Alliance agreed on a UN‐brokered deal, which on 5 December 2001 established Hamid Karzai as interim leader of Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Northern Alliance regional leaders remained powerful in the north of the country, outside the capital.

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