Afghanistan has always been a country involved in conflict. from the BC era through the Cold War and even through to today Afghanistan is a center of conflicting interests. This country has been a hot bed for conflict and it still is today even with the goverment of the Islam Republic of Afghanistan and foreign military assisting them on retaining control of the area.
September 11, 2001EditBeing one of the most devastating and important events in world history, it has made the news as a terrorist attack by the Al Qaeda, a group of Islamic fundamentalists. The terrorists had boarded four plane and hijacked them, taking control by killing the pilots and taking hostages from among the passengers. Eventually, they piloted the hijacked planes into the World Trade Center in New York, as well as the Pentagon building (1). The aftermath of the attacks were equally devastating with many people dead and a whole new changed perspective on those who practice Islam, despite the fact that the terrorists themselves were an extremist group of Islam (1). Osama bin Laden was branded as the organizer of the attacks and became wanted in places all over the world. He had personally trained the terrorists, who were from different countries in the Middle East including Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The 9/11 incident became the primary reason for war within Afghanistan and the United States did not hesitate in launching daily air strikes into Afghan military bases. Eventually the United States decided to assemble an army and dispatch them into Afghanistan, to completely take out the Al Qaeda camps to discontinue the training of possible terrorists (1). The objective of the campaign was to capture Osama bin Laden. However, they were not able to capture him, though they did topple the oppressive Taliban government as well as disrupting bin Laden's Al Qaeda networks (1).
The War in AfghanistanEdit
War in Afghanistan:
2001-2006Following September 11, 2001 the United States would declare war on not a country but a way of life. They declared war on terror and the starting point for this would be the Taliban controlled Country of Afghanistan. The main reason that they started with Afghanistan is because 18 out of the 19 terrorists who hijacked the planes for 9/11 were trained in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan. In retaliation with the findings the United states deployed on October 7, 2001. Up to January 2012 there have been a total of 123,961 troops deployed to Afghanistan to fight this war. On November 13, 2001 the City of Kabul fell to the hands of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). This was after the Taliban had left on the night of November 12. By November 14th most Taliban fighters had been pushed back to Southeastern Afghanistan near Kandahar. The first American combat death in the war came on November 25th in the battle for Qala-i-Jangi. When a revolt of 300 prisoners took over a wing of a prison killing a CIA operative. Kandahar fell in early December 2001 after a week long siege/ battle for the city. Kicking off 2002 the US and their Coalition forces put into work an offensive that would come to be known as operation anaconda. They were trying to flush out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda troops left in Afghanistan. First reports were that there were 200 guerrillas but then there were report towards the end that there were 1,500-2,000 soldiers for the guerrillas. In the end of the less then successful offensive 15 coalition forces were dead and a reported 400 Taliban Al-Qaeda troops had been killed in this onslaught. Starting in 2003 the Taliban found a renewed offense after surviving the coalition forces through 2002. In 2003-2005 the Taliban was mainly on the offensive raids and such while NATO attempted to take over the Zabul Province where the Taliban was started. In 2006 NATO started to relieve US troops of duty in southern Afghanistan and replace them with an ISAF. In 2006 the Dutch and Australians launched an offensive that wiped out a Taliban base and killed 300 Taliban.
2007 marked a major Offensive push for NATO and the ISAF. The goal of these offensives was to keep pressure on the Taliban as they were still trying to strengthen and strategize for a anticipated spring offensive. In the early months of the year the UK Department of Defense announced that they would increase troop levels to 7,700 through 2009. In March however things started making turns for the worst after a group of 120 US Marines responded to a bombing attack and killed 12 civilians while injuring another 33. Then in May another positive occurred as ISAF forces killed Mullah Dadullah who was in charge of the Taliban operations in the southern part of the country. However in August the first war criminals were charged after Polish soilders killed 8 people in a shelling. In the later months of 2007 the ISAF and NATO forces made big pushes and killed Malawi Abdul Manan and around 130 Taliban fighters were killed in just the last two months of 2007.
2008 kicked off with a reassessment of priorities and a renewed commitment to extinguishing the Taliban from Afghanistan. To show the commitment of this new promise US increased to 48,250 troops while Britain increased to 8,030. On June 13th NATO was embarrassed when The Taliban freed 1200 prisoners from a Kandahar jail 400 which were POWs. Then on in August operation Eagle Summit was to bring power to the Helmand province. Throughout 2008 is when the Pakistan and NATO got very touchy. An example of this is when on September 25th Pakistan shot toward ISAF helicopters. In 2008 it also appeared that the Taliban were no longer connected to al-Qaeda.
2009 started out as It was mainly increases in troops as the US sent 17,000 men to Afghanistan. A general in Afghanistan said that it would take 500,000 troops and 5 years to successfully win the war in Afghanistan. Several operations were launched with little to no progress. Also the Taliban still had all of their networks in use to sustain themselves.
2010 was when the US and Great Britain launched an all out offensive again. There first target however was to win the support of the afghan people. Multiple offensive were launched the most successful of them being the Marja offensive. The troop reinforcements continued to come as 18,000 of the 30,000 were in place by June. The Taliban unleashed an offensive on the ISAF throughout Afghanistan in the spring of 2010. The US and the Taliban became locked in a stand off over Kandahar.
2011 kicked off with the Taliban assaulting government building in Kandahar. Plans of withdrawal were originally released but based on those plans the US would still have 80,000 troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2012. No major offensives made progress for either sides.
2012 The major things to happen this year is that all NATO military presence will be out of Afghanistan by 2014 and will relinquish control to the Afghanistan military.
Hamid Karzai was the interim president of Afghanistan after the Taliban was kicked out of power by the Operation Enduring Freedom, organized by the Western Allies. He was the first popularly elected president in Afghanistan, has served twice and is still in power. The United States also played a key factor in his success and popularity.Karzai was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan and was educated there in his younger years. Later, he was educated in Kabul, finally graduating from university in India where he had studied political science. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the Taliban rose up against it, Karzai had supported the Taliban. However, after ousting the Soviets from Afghanistan, he started to question the Taliban's original policies and beliefs, and thus started to work against them. This eventually led to his popularity and hence his continued presidency (2).
In January 2004, Karzai ratified the current constitution of Afghanistan. The constitution basically outlines a democratic state under a strong presidency. Another important feature about the constitution is that it states that all men and women are equal before the law, making the constitution a large step in rebuilding the war-torn nation (8).
In October 2004, despite the fears of violence and insurgent activity, Karzai won 55.4% of the votes, beating all 22 of his opponents (3). Many people in attendance thought how the ceremony was symbolism for a "new start" for the war-torn nation of Afghanistan when Karzai was sworn in as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Then in 2009, Karzai won his second election, despite it being wrought in controversy. Reelections were held in October and Karzai was deemed the winner, gaining another five year term as the President of Afghanistan.
Ever-present TalibanEditThe Western Allies knew that even with Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban would be hard to put down. After five years of a free government in Afghanistan, the Taliban started to plot for their return into power. Due to some factors, including that of the opium trade, the Taliban are easily able to take control of Afghanistan by illegal trading the crop (5). Therefore, in order to protect and sustain the new government in Afghanistan, the UN formed the ISAF, International Security Assistance Force. They maintain the peace in the country and try to restore stability back to the country. With the external help of NATO, the ISAF is able to maintain peace in Afghanistan and prevent the Taliban from retaking control of the country. One of their objectives is to discontinue the illegal poppy crop from being sold to sustain Taliban activity (4).
Poppy and Opium TradeEditThroughout the entire US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan it has been a goal of the US military to wipe out the Taliban and Afghanistan Poppy and Opium trade. They have done a good job considering that pre invasion Afghanistan provided 50% of the world’s opium. They feel that if they can cut off the opium trade in Afghanistan then they can cut off a large amount of Taliban funds. The smugglers who help to get it over the border fled as soon as the Marines arrived in the heavy poppy producing areas of Afghanistan. Poppy farming is becoming less attractive because in the US opium cultivation is down 22% and people involved in growing it has dropped by a full third. Poppy has high labor costs and low selling costs because of the overproduction in Afghanistan this makes it less attractive to grow then
even wheat. If these trend continue it will push more farmers to wheat but as time continues however at this moment you can still get 3 times more for poppy then you can for wheat. For the sharecroppers who are the main labor force the work is slowly drying up and this is forcing them out of the business. So far though they have Afghanistan poppy seed farming down by 30 percent since 2001.
US Withdrawal of Troops planEditIn a NATO meeting in 2010, NATO countries vowed to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan from 2010-2014, and finally in 2014, Afghanistan can become its own country. They would also provide long-term aid in reconstruction efforts. The overarching goal of the withdrawal is to give the security responsibilities back to the Afghan security force, to reduce the dependence of the government on foreign troops, and to to give the control of the aid money to the government for their own uses. Nevertheless, there are still many problems that remain within Afghanistan. First, despite the fact that Karzai had promised to reform the government, many world leaders have expressed disappointment and frustration at the corrupt and ineffective administration (6). Therefore, the details of the 2014 withdrawal plan are still disputed. Some nations planned to remove troops by 2014, but some troops would remain to provide enhanced security and aid. Others only prepared to reduce the number of troops, but not completely fly them home. Others believe that four years is not enough time for the government in Afghanistan to establish an effective administration (6). Thus, some people are doubting the complete withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan by 2014. The US has taken the initiative and has already withdrawn some troops starting from July 2011 (7).
Taliban ResurgenceEditIn 2013, when the troops were almost completely withdrawn from Afghanistan, Taliban agents started to trickle back in (15). At first the number of agents was so little, NATO and the ISAF did not even discover their presence. However, in 2014, a sudden resurgence of the Taliban struck Afghanistan, completely taking NATO and the ISAF by surprise (15). Taliban agents swarmed in from the around Afghanistan and attempted to retake the new Afghan governement before the ISAF and NATO could react. The chief factor in why the Taliban has returned to Afghanistan is revenge towards the US for kicking them out in the first place (15). Another reason is the money and power from the booming opium trade in Afghanistan (16). The money from the opium trade supplied the Taliban with funds to rebuild and bribe the government officials so the Taliban can retake control, giving them back the power that they had pre-9/11 (16). By then, the rest of the world had finally caught on to what the Taliban was planning and were struggling to assemble troops and to dispatch them, sending them back into the fray.
Opium Trade ReappearanceEditWith the resurgence of the Taliban starting in 2013 and making a full force comeback in 2014 the booming trade of Opium absolutely exploded out of the gate again. The drug manufacturing industry almost over night turned cornfields that were once poppy fields back in to poppy fields. In January 2015 it was said that the Afghanistan Opium trade had reached $10 million dollar profit as an operation. The Opium trade continued to grow until by early 2016 it was worth 100 million dollars. It allowed for the Taliban to gain substantial power through bribing the government officials and creating bases and tunneling systems through the Afghanistan provinces. The Opium trade increased all the way through 2020 and it allowed for this to turn in to a billion dollar annual profit for the Taliban until NATO and ISAF could get the opium trade under control again. By that time all the elite arms dealers were in the Taliban’s pocket. NATO and ISAF had to take it poppy field by poppy field in order to finally wrestle it back south of 100 million in 2022.
Anniversary AttacksEditHidden Al Qaeda agents that had escaped the previous invasion of NATO forces had decided to team up with the Taliban, and they started to launch attacks on the US. On September 11th, 2015, the Empire State building was completely demolished by a plane, hijacked by terrorists. In a genius stroke of revenge for the invasion of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda trained terrorrists hijacked a plane by hiding ceramic blades coated with a substance to keep it from being detected by the metal detectors (17). Amazingly, airport security did not detect the hidden blades and the terrorrists were allowed on to the plane without incidence. When there were only two hours left, one of the terrorrists got up to use the bathroom, but in reality he had went to the cockpit and slit the throats of the pilot. He took control of the plane and announced the hijacking over the intercom. The other terrorrists stood up as panic ensued, taking hostages from amongst the passengers. The terrorrists piloted the plane straight into the top floors of the Empire State building, killing everyone on the plane, most of those in the Empire State building as well as around it. The building split in the middle and the top half fell out on to the street below, completely crushing the pedestrians and cars below. Fortunately it was early in the morning and thus not a lot of people were outside (18). The Al Qaeda terrorrists had also been killed in the crash.
Cancellation of Troop Withdrawl2014 was supposed to be the last year for foreign troops to help stabilize and occupy Afghanistan. Well lets just say it wasn’t, Taliban made their second push for land and Afghanistan in 2014 thus the few hundred troops that were there were reinforced by around the same amount of an invasion force that was used the first time by January 2015 there were 200,000 NATO and ISAF troops present again in Afghanistan. They were back to fight a war that they thought had been won up until October of 2014. The Taliban resurgence was the main reason that President Obama and other world leaders decided to act again in Afghanistan. The US only provided 85,000 to the invasion force this time as the other countries were more willing to help drive out the Taliban for good. By the end of 2016 the combined forces fighting in Afghanistan numbered north of 260,000. Also the public in the NATO countries supported the invasion more this time because of repeated attacks on innocent citizens as they traveled to the Middle East and areas of high Taliban influence. The plan was to follow along with plans from the previous war to drive the Taliban out just with around to times as many forces dedicated to the war effort.
ISAF/NATO Troop ReinforcementEdit
In response to the Taliban resurgence and the Al Qaeda anniversary attacks, the ISAF and NATO sent troops back into Afghanistan to reinforce the peace and prevent the Taliban from taking control. At the same time, NATO and the ISAF commissioned more advanced firepower for the troops to effectively take control as well as ammunition (19). When the troops landed, the started daily air strikes against known Al Qaeda and Taliban strongholds, while spies infiltrated the Taliban ranks to gather information on other unknown bases. One of the objectives of this second invasion was to prevent the opium trade from flourishing too much, if it were to be controlled, the Taliban wouldn't be able to take control of Afghanistan (19). Eventually, the ISAF and NATO established a foothold within Afghanistan and have destroyed numerous strongholds, slowly driving the Taliban and Al Qaeda back.
Hamid Karzai AssasinationEditOn December 15th 2014 the Taliban launched a 15-man suicide mission. Their job was to assassinate Hamid Karzai. The Taliban felt that if they were able to knock off the leader of the people they would have no one to turn to but the Taliban themselves. They had tried and failed before and didn’t this time. He was taken en route to the presidential compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. Three men blocked the road with their cars while they launched RPGs at the convoy’s security detail. The 12 other men moved to President Karzai’s car and took it and drove off the other three men cleared there path then blew them selves up to block the road. Later that night the webcam went live. The men were questioning Karzai about why his government would not give in to them and they called him an American dog. Then they told him they would kill him with in the next 5 minutes. As news channels just picked up the feed. You could hear the Afghani security forces outside. They had been breaking his fingers for the last 10 minutes. As their doors blew down they shot Karzai in the gut twice and yanked his eyeballs out. Then the last thing that the webcam saw was a white orange inferno as the house blew up and out into the Kabul night. To this day it was the boldest and most shocking act of the Taliban in the second effort to conquer Afghanistan.
Taliban Retakes Control of AfghanistanEdit
Finally, despite efforts against this event from happening, the Taliban completely took over Afghanistan on March 5th, 2017 (20). In one clever move, Taliban and Al Qaeda agents crippled NATO and ISAF troops by initiating several explosions within key military facilities, sowing the seeds of panic. As the NATO and ISAF struggled to keep the situation under control, the soldiers out in the field could not take orders (21). Thus, they didn't realize until it was too late when Al Qaeda agents ambushed them on patrol. The enemy agents tried to keep the ambush as silent as possible, taking a few hostages for further interrogation. But besides a hostage every now and again, all soldiers were brutally murdered. Thus, by killing off the patrols, the Taliban were able to spread throughout Afghanistan within one day, establishing and reinforcing new outposts (21). By the time the NATO and ISAF had regained control, the Taliban had taken over Afghanistan, leaving many soldiers dead in the streets and military facilities in ruin. The entire operation was devastated, and was almost completely unsalvagable. Eventually, more troops were shipped in to reinforce the operation (21).
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