Major Wars Of 20th Century
Years 2001 2012 Battle deaths 42,932 The War in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001 as the U.S. military operation Operation Enduring Freedom, was launched by the United States with the United Kingdom in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al Qaeda. The United States Bush Doctrine stated that, as policy, it would not distinguish between al Qaeda and nations that harbor them.Two military operations in Afghanistan seek to establish control over the country. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is a United States combat operation involving some coalition partners and currently operating primarily in the eastern and southern parts of the country along the Pakistan border. Approximately 28,300 U.S. troops are in OEF. The second operation is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), initially established by the UN Security Council at the end of December 2001 to secure Kabul and its surroundings. NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003. By January 12, 2009, ISAF had around 55,100 troops from 41 countries, with NATO members providing the core of the force. The United States has approximately 23,300 troops in ISAF.
The U.S. and the UK led the aerial bombing campaign, with ground forces supplied primarily by the Afghan Northern Alliance. In 2002, American, British and Canadian infantry were committed, along with special forces from several allied nations. Later, NATO troops were added.The initial attack removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have since regained some strength. The war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al Qaedas movement. Since 2006, Afghanistan has seen threats to its stability from increased Taliban led insurgent activity, record high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabul. As of end 2008, the war has been unsuccessful in its primary purpose of capturing Osama bin Laden.