Pakistan favoured a peaceful, friendly Afghanistan dominated by ethnic Pashtuns with good relations to Pakistan, while Iran wanted the Persian speaking population and the Shiite Hazara to have more influence.
The conflicting interests of neighbouring countries, personal animosity between leaders and ethnic and religious antagonism between resistance groups sustained a tense political climate and, eventually, caused a prolonged civil war.
Civil war and lawlessness
In 1992, the resistance groups conquered Kabul and ousted the communist government. Shortly after the assumption of power, however, internal fighting broke out.
The remains of the communist army joined the Islamic parties in shifting alliances and coalitions, warring in a disintegrating Kabul while local commandants laid the rest of Afghanistan waste with taxation, crime and lawlessness.
The Taliban and the Northern Alliance
In 1994 the ultra-religious Taliban movement appeared in southern Afghanistan. Taliban pacified the local commandants and created peace and security in the conquered areas.
But when the Taliban closed in on Kabul in 1996, their former enemies among the resistance groups joined forces to form a united front against them. This was the beginning of the war between the so-called Northern Alliance and the Taliban.