On October 7, 2001 the United States and Britain began to bomb terrorist targets, such as the Taliban's military forces and Al-Qaeda camps, in Afghanistan.
On August 9, 2003 NATO assumed responsibility for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. After 13 years of conflict Great Britain and the United States of America officially ended their combat operation in Afghanistan on October 26, 2014 and NATO ended combat operations on December 28, 2014. Although combat operations in Afghanistan were formally ended in 2014 with a planned withdrawal of US troops, conflict in Afghanistan continues due to the resilience of the Taliban and the emergence of the Islamic State (IS).
What started the Afghanistan War? The Afghanistan War started on October 7, 2001 in response to the 9/11 terror attacks.
What was the reason the Afghanistan War? The goal was to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for harboring Al-Qaeda terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.
Who was involved in the Afghanistan War? The United States and Great Britain Afghanistan War began the air attacks and were joined by NATO forces.
When did the Afghanistan War end? The Afghanistan War officially ended NATO ended combat operations on December 28, 2014.
Continuation of the Afghanistan War: The War in Afghanistan (2015 - Present) continues due to the resilience of the Taliban and its support from terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (IS).
Background History: The Soviet-Afghan War (December 25, 1979 – February 15, 1989) began when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The Soviets installed an Afghan Communist government which led to the emergence of different factions of anti-communist Muslim Afghan fighters who opposed the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
In 1979 the Taliban, a group of Sunni Muslims and one of the Mujahideen factions meaning "those engaged in jihad", was formed during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Members of the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist political movement, practice Wahhabism, which is considered to be the most extreme form of Islam, the religion of Muslims.
After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 Mujahideen forces, led by Ahmed Shah Massoud ousted the Soviet-backed government of Mohammad Najibullah, starting the Afghan Civil War as different factions fought to gain power in Afghanistan.
The Taliban were supported by many Afghan refugees from Pakistan and attracted the support of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. Al-Qaeda subsequently established bases and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
In September 1996 the Taliban, under the leadership of Mullah Muhammad Omar, assumed power in Southern and Central Afghanistan and implemented an extreme version of Islamic law (Sharia) and targeted several ethnic groups including the Uzbek, Tajik, and Hazara minorities. .
The Northern Alliance (formally known as the National Islamic United Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan), led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, fought to oppose the Taliban's use of indiscriminate violence and the repression of minority Afghan groups.
The Taliban gained increasing recognition, power, and support and by 1997, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
In 1998 Osama Bin Laden published a Fatwah (death sentence) against American civilians and the bombing at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania followed. The terrorist attacks killed more than 200 people and were perpetrated by Al-Qaeda.
In 1998 multi-millionaire Osama Bin Laden also made the chilling declaration that it was his Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WDM's) - nuclear, biological and chemical weapons - to overthrow apostate regimes throughout the Islamic world and to launch attacks on the United States and its allies in the western world.
The FBI subsequently placed Osama bin Laden on its ten most-wanted fugitives list and in President Clinton ordered cruise missile attacks against Osama Bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan.
In 2000 the US demanded that Osama bin Laden to be extradited from Afghanistan to stand trial for the US embassy bombings.
The Taliban refused the extradition request and the United Nations (UN) punished Afghanistan with sanctions that restricted economic development and trade.
The Taliban continued to pressure the Northern Alliance, often with the aid of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization who were making coordinated plans to strike at the heart of the Northern Alliance and wreak havoc, terror and devastation in the United States.
Their plans began to unfold when, on September 9, 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader, was killed - it was just two days the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks: On 11 September, 2001 members of Al Qaeda attacked the United States hijacking four planes that were smashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. The 9/11 terrorist attacks shocked the world and were worst ever attacks on the US homeland, killing over 3000 people.
President George H Bush began the 'War on Terror' demanding the extradition of Osama bin Laden. The Taliban refused. The Afghanistan War and Operation Enduring Freedom started on October 7, 2001 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda, with US and British bombing campaign on the Taliban's military forces and the Al-Qaeda training camps.
Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden began releasing a series of audio and video tapes to the Al-Jazeera TV station, a Doha-based Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel in Qatar. Copies of the tapes were acquired by other TV networks and shown across the world.
On December 5, 2001 Afghan groups agreed a deal in the Bonn Agreement laid the foundation for U.S. and NATO-backed state-building efforts in Afghanistan the Afghan Constitution Commission was established to draft a new constitution
The Afghan Northern Alliance then launched a massive ground attack on the Taliban. The U.S. and its allies believed that Osama bin Laden was hiding in the mountains at Tora Bora and fought the Battle of Tora Bora from December 6, 2001 to December 17, 2001.
After tracking Osama bin Laden to the well-equipped, multi-storied, Tora Bora cave complex the Al-Qaeda leader managed to escape into Pakistan on December 16, 2001 and disappeared for the next nine and a half years.
By the end of December 2001 the Taliban regime collapsed when the Taliban surrender Kandahar and their leader, Mullah Omar, fled from the city
The United States and its allies supported the Northern Alliance with financial help and aided them with forming a new government following the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Thousands of US and allied troops arrived in Afghanistan to act as peacemakers and to search for Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorists.
By March 2002 the Northern Alliance forces had fought their way south and the Taliban and Al-Qaida retreated towards the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the US launched Operation Anaconda as Operation Enduring Freedom came to an end.
Operation Anaconda (March 1–18, 2002) took place high in the Arma Mountains and in the Shahi-Kot Valley as US forces attempted to destroy Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Operation Anaconda was beset with problems from the outset as US Forces mistakenly landed in the middle of the valley, instead of the outside and were immediately caught in ambushes in the Taliban's killing zone.
On April 15, 2002 Osama bin Laden appears on a video tape to take credit for the September 11 attacks saying "Our terrorism against the United States is worthy of praise to deter the oppressor..."
In March 2003 the Iraq War (20 March 2003 – 18 December 2011) erupted as the US launched a "shock and awe" bombing campaign the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It was also believed that Saddam Hussein was harboring and supporting Al-Qaeda in Iraq, raising further fears of Al-Qaeda's intent on-going intent to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
On August 9, 2003 NATO assumed responsibility for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. One part of U.S. forces operated under NATO command and the remainder under direct U.S. command.
The Taliban and Al-Qaeda focused on rebuilding its forces and the Taliban insurgency began, funded, trained and organized from Pakistan.
In October 2004 Hamid Karzai won the country’s landmark election and declared the Afghan president, with 55.4% of the vote.
The number of ISAF troops grows from an initial 5000 to about 65,000 troops from forty-two countries, including all twenty-eight NATO member states.
In 2005, just days before George W. Bush wins reelection, Osama bin Laden resurfaced, via a video tape recording, taunting the Bush administration about the war and taking responsibility for the 9/11 terror attacks. Violence and suicide terror attacks increased across the country as the resurgence continues.
In 2006 fierce fighting erupts as the allied forces try to extend government control in areas where Taliban influence is strong.
The 2006 Riga NATO summit took place in Latvia on December 1, 2006 was marked by bitter divisions among member states on troop commitments to the War in Afghanistan
On February 27, 2007 a suicide bomber killed 23 people outside Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan during a visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, that Cheney was its intended target, and that Osama Bin Laden supervised the operation.
On May 15, 2007 Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban’s most senior military leader, was killed during fighting in the south in a joint operation in the war by Afghan, US, and NATO forces in the south of Afghanistan.
In September 2008 President Bush sent extra US troops to fight in the War in Afghanistan, in a move he described as a "quiet surge".
When President Barack Obama entered office in January, 2009 there were 34,400 U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. US military commanders requested more US forces to end the war in Iraq and re-focus the fight in the Afghanistan War.
In February 2010 Nato-led forces launched a major offensive in the war called Operation Moshtarak, in bid to secure government control of southern Helmand province.
2011 witnessed the Death of Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden who was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 by United States Navy SEALs when they overtook a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
U.S. troop levels in the Afghanistan War eventually peaked at 100,000 in August 2010 but President Obama had placed a deadline of July, 2011 as the beginning of the draw-down of US forces in the war. By the end of 2012 the number of US troop levels had returned to pre-surge levels of 68,000.
In February, 2013 President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that the size of the U.S. forces engaged in the war would be reduced by half in 2014.
After 13 years of war the United States and Britain officially ended their combat operation in Afghanistan on October 26, 2014 and NATO ended combat operations on December 28, 2014.
Over the course of the War in Afghanistan 831,576 US service members served at least one tour of duty in Afghanistan. 2,184 American service members were killed in the war and 19,600 were wounded. The Afghanistan war cost the United States $537.8 billion.
Continuation of the War in Afghanistan War (2015 - Present)
The unexpected resilience of the Taliban and the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) left insurgents in control of much of the territory.
In January 2015 the NATO-led follow-on Resolute Support Mission (RSM) began with some 12,000 personnel to provide further training and support for Afghan security forces.
In March 2015, in a significant change in direction, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would delay its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, following a request from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The 2015 War in Afghanistan had begun.
In May 2015 Taliban representatives and Afghan officials hold informal peace talks in Qatar but the Taliban insisted they will not stop fighting until all foreign troops leave the country and implementation of Sharia, or Islamic law.
Clandestine U.S. "counterterrorism units" operating in Afghanistan have been brought in under the new command umbrella. The new group is known as the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) consisting of elements of American, NATO and Afghan special operations under a single organization
American raids against Islamist militants increased and thousands of U.S. soldiers continue to patrol Afghanistan against the new Taliban offensive. The Taliban controls more territory in 2016 than when it was ousted from power in 2001.
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