Operation Enduring Freedom

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U.S. Army paratroopers in Dangam, Afghanistan.

Operation Enduring Freedom is the United States' initial military response to the 9/11 attacks.

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government demanded that the extremist Muslim Taliban government of Afghanistan hand over Osama bin Laden, leader of the al Qaida terrorist group responsible. The Taliban government, however, refused to allow bin Laden to be tried by US authorities, leading to invasion of the landlocked Asian country.

The militaries of the United States and its NATO allies, in concert with a coalition of northern Afghan tribes known as the Northern Alliance, quickly overthrew the Taliban government controlling the country from its historic capital of Kandahar. While the Taliban government was quick to fold, large amounts of fighters remained with the local population and subsequently engaged in a prolonged guerilla campaign against Coalition Forces. However, high-profile operations in the country's eastern White Mountains (Battle of Tora Bora) and Shahikhot Valley (Operation Anaconda) to capture or kill bin Laden and other high-value al Qaida targets were a failure.

Originally, the name of Operation Enduring Freedom was to be Operation Infinite Justice. Concerns however that the name would offend Muslims led to the operation being renamed Operation Enduring Freedom.[1]

Seven years after the overthrow of the Taliban, America and NATO forces are still fighting Taliban forces in parts of the country, especially in the south[2]. There is no sign that Western troops will be withdrawing from Afghanistan in the foreseeable future. Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, commander of the United States coalition forces stated his commitment to accomplishing the mission, saying,

The United States will not leave Afghanistan until the Afghan people tell us the job is done. The war on terrorism began here in Afghanistan and it continues today. We must never forget that.[3]

References

  1. Global Security.org, "Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan"
  2. U.S. Department of State, Vince Crawley, October 25, 2006, "NATO's Jones Urges Focus on Afghan Reconstruction, Rule of Law" "On July 31, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) took control of Afghanistan’s volatile southern provinces, part of a larger plan for NATO to provide security for the entire country. The handover was accompanied by an upsurge of violence against international forces."
  3. New York Times, CARLOTTA GALL, August 1, 2006, "U.S. Hands Southern Afghan Command to NATO"
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