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By Steven Otfinoski

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The mujahideen, however, refused to sign the agreement and pledged to continue to fight. Nevertheless, Soviet troops began to withdraw a month An Afghan woman walks past a Soviet army officer who keeps a watch from a Soviet checkpoint in downtown Kabul on April 25, 1988. (AP/Wide World Photos/Liu Heung Shing) THE NEW INVADERS (1979 TO THE PRESENT) ■ 29 later. It was the first time in 300 years that the Afghans had driven a foreign army from their homeland. But the civil war between the Communist government of Najibullah and the mujahideen continued unabated.

AP/Wide World Photos/Marco Di Lauro) GOVERNMENT ■ 49 Following the Soviet withdrawal, Karzai served as deputy foreign minister in the Rabbani government. When civil war tore the country apart in 1994, he resigned his post. Karzai was an early supporter of the Taliban who emerged from his hometown, but by 1997 he was disillusioned with their repressive reign and broke away from them. He risked his life traveling in the Taliban-held territory in the south to convince Pashtun warlords to fight against the Taliban.

His primary goals are to make the nation safe, to promote education and health care, and to improve the nation’s roadways, many of which are impassable (see sidebar, chapter 10). He has the firm support of the United States and other Western nations, but he will also need the support of the political leaders who have traditionally complicated every Afghan leader’s job—the warlords. The Warlords—Afghanistan’s Power Brokers The provincial warlords have been a powerful force in Afghan politics for centuries.

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