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The Afghan Civil War (30 April 1992-7 October 2001) was a nine-year civil war that was fought between the Islamic State of Afghanistan government of Afghanistan, the Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin forces of the autocrat Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the former communist Junbish-i-Milli army of Abdul Rashid Dostum, and the Islamist Taliban and al-Qaeda militias in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The civil war broke out as Mujahideen forces raced to capture the Afghan capital of Kabul from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan at the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, with Gulbuddin refusing to join forces with the other parties in ruling the Islamic State. Hekmatyar's HIG forces began to besiege and bombard Kabul, and fighting occurred in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, and Kandahar, while the countryside remained peaceful. HIG had the support of Pakistan until 1994, when the rise of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban and the decline of HIG led to Pakistan supporting the ascendant Islamist faction. From 1994 to 1999, between 80,000 and 100,000 Pakistanis trained and fought in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban, with Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf sending large numbers of Pakistanis to assist in the creation of a puppet regime.

In 1996, the Taliban captured Kabul, creating the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Islamic State of Afghanistan's remaining forces, under warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud, joined forces with Dostum's Junbish-i-Milli to form the "Northern Alliance", opposing the Taliban from the northern provinces of Afghanistan. The mainly-Pashtun Taliban faced opposition from the Northern Alliance of Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, and other minority ethnic groups, and the Northern Alliance would face a tough foe. Pakistan sent battalions and regiments of its Frontier Corps and the Pakistan Army to assist the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, while Saudi Arabia financed the fundamentalists; al-Qaeda imported thousands of foreign fighters from Pakistan, the Arab World, and Central Asia, training them in camps in Taliban territory. The Taliban captured the majority of Afghanistan, but al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks on the United States led to the USA intervening militarily in the region. The United States invaded Afghanistan on 7 October 2001, joining forces with the Northern Alliance to destroy the al-Qaeda training camps and overthrow their Taliban protectors. Thus began the Afghanistan War, continuing the period of violence that had been experienced without pause since 1978.

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