Despite these victories and the support of Pakistan (interested not only in encouraging Muslim fundamentalism, but also in securing a corridor to Central Asia, to import gas from Turkmenistan, and a strategic background to India), the Taliban found internationally isolated due to their links with Islamic terrorism, in particular with Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden, who took refuge in Afghanistan in 1996 and accused by the United States of being the instigator of the attacks against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998). Subjected to strong diplomatic-military pressure from both the US and Iran (a supporter of the Shiites), Afghanistan managed to avoid an unequal war confrontation with both countries. Inside, however, the regime – recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – had to continue to face the armed resistance of the North, led by General Ahmed Shah Massoud (moderate Islamic and former defense minister, assassinated on 9 September 2001) and supported by Iran, India and Russia, which repeatedly accused Afghanistan of supporting terrorism and rebellions in neighboring areas of the former Soviet Union, especially in Chechnya, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. No progress towards pacification was achieved in March 1999, as the agreement, then stipulated with the opposition to form a government of national unity and a common army, soon proved fragile. The consequent resumption of the civil war threw the population into such a dramatic situation as to discredit the Taliban leadership itself among the Pashto ethnic group, tired of a conflict that in twenty years had cost a million victims and reluctant to join the Taliban army. now largely supported by volunteers recruited in Pakistani religious schools. Further isolated in the world following the entry into force of UN sanctions, Bamiyan.
At the end of September of the same year, the Taliban regime, once again posting itself as the indulgent defender of Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist organization Al-Qāiʽda, whose training camps were located in Afghan territory, dragged the country into the most complete international isolation and led him into a conflict of greater magnitude than the civil war he had been in for years. Having proven that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, in Washington, the Taliban government denied the extradition of the Saudi terrorist to the United States, inducing these and his allies, supported by both the Western world and Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to launch the first attacks on Taliban military targets and terrorist training camps on October 7, 2001. from their most faithful ally, Pakistan, and strengthened the Northern opposition by Western military contingents, the Taliban found themselves opposing attacks on multiple fronts and, at the beginning of December, weakened by many losses and ousted from their last stronghold, the city of Kandahar, were forced to surrender. Meanwhile, in Petersberg, a German town near Bonn, a summit was meeting under the aegis of the UN between the representatives of the four major Afghan ethnic and political groups. Hamid Karzai (close to the former king Ẓāhīr), who took office on December 22nd. The government, which also included two women, had the task of accompanying the country until the elections. In January 2002, a multinational peacekeeping force (ISAF), almost half made up of British soldiers, was established in Afghanistan, to which a contingent of 350 Italian soldiers also contributed. In June of the same year, the Council of Elders (Jirga), the great tribal assembly convened in the most delicate moments in the country’s history, at the end of which Karzai was elected head of state. In April 2003 Karzai set up a commission charged with drafting a new Constitution, which was approved by the Jirga in January 2004.
In January 2004, according to aceinland, a new Constitution was enacted according to which Afghanistan is a presidential Islamic Republic, but without any reference to. However, the progress in the institutional field did not resolve the conflicts for the control of the territory that pitted forces loyal to the government, the local “warlords” and the Taliban resistance. Legislative elections were held in September 2005, in a climate of strong tensions due to the fear of attacks. The government was able to exercise its authority only in and around the capital, while the various provinces continued to be controlled by traditional “warlords”. Air strikes against Taliban bases often resulted in civilian massacres and contributed to increased hostility towards NATO troops (2007). In September 2008, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the ISAF for one year. In August 2009, presidential elections were held with outgoing president H. Karzai clearly in the lead. In October, however, the Afghan electoral commission, having ascertained fraud and irregularities in the votes, decided to return to the polls for the ballot between Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who however decided to retire. Karzai was thus elected president by the Independent Electoral Commission. In 2013, after years of negotiations with the US and NATO, the Taliban opened a representative office in Doha, Qatar, to facilitate peace talks, but the positions of the most radical fringes led to a diplomatic stalemate. In September 2014, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai won the presidential election. With the conclusion of the US-led ISAF mission, in 2015 the Afghan armed forces took control of military operations in the country. The withdrawal of the ISAF has allowed the Taliban to regain ground, to the point that currently about a third of the national territory has returned to their control. In February 2020, President Ghani was reappointed for a second term.