US Afghanistan conflict politics military,CHRONO
February 11 2019 - 2:56 PM
The US intervention in Afghanistan since 2001
Kabul, Feb 11, 2019 (AFP) - The United States led the Western intervention
in Afghanistan 17 years ago to rid Al-Qaeda of its sanctuaries following the
9/11 terror attacks.
As President Donald Trump pushes to end the US involvement in Afghanistan,
where 14,000 US troops are still stationed, here is a timeline of its
involvement since 2001.
- 'War on terror' -
On October 7, 2001 -- less than a month after the September 11 attacks that
killed around 3,000 people in New York and Washington -- President George W.
Bush launches operation "Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan.
The country's fundamentalist Taliban regime had been sheltering Osama bin
Laden and his Al-Qaeda movement, accused of the attacks.
The operation opens a military front in the US "war on terrorism".
Within weeks US-led forces overthrow the Taliban, in power since 1996.
Besides carrying out air strikes, Washington also lends support to the
Afghan Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban, contributing paramilitary teams
from the CIA and special forces.
About 1,000 American soldiers are on the ground by November 2001, rising to
10,000 the year after.
- Forgotten war -
US attention is diverted from Afghanistan when US forces invade Iraq in
2003 to oust dictator Saddam Hussein, accused of harbouring weapons of mass
In 2004 Afghanistan holds its first presidential election based on
universal suffrage, with Hamid Karzai winning 55 percent of the vote.
The Taliban and other Islamist outfits regroup in their strongholds in
southern and eastern Afghanistan, from where they can easily travel between
their bases in Pakistan's tribal zones, and launch an insurgency.
In 2008 the US command in Afghanistan calls for more manpower. Bush sends
additional soldiers and by mid-2008 about 48,500 US troops are deployed.
- Peak of 100,000 troops -
In 2009 Barack Obama -- elected president on campaign promises to end the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- boosts the US deployment to around 68,000. In
December he raises it to around 100,000.
The objective is to put brakes on the growing Taliban insurgency and to
strengthen Afghan institutions.
- Bin Laden killed -
Bin Laden is killed on May 2, 2011 in an US special forces operation in
- Combat operations end -
On December 31, 2014 the NATO alliance ends its combat mission in
Afghanistan. But, under agreements reached a few months earlier, 12,500
foreign soldiers -- of which 9,800 are American -- remain to train Afghan
troops and conduct anti-terrorist operations.
Security in Afghanistan degenerates as the Taliban's insurgency spreads,
with the Islamic State (IS) group also becoming active in early 2015.
In July 2016 Obama slows the planned pace of withdrawal of US troops,
saying 8,400 will remain into 2017.
- MSF clinic bombed -
In October 2015, amid intense fighting, a US airstrike hits a Medecins Sans
Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in northern Kunduz province,
killing 42 people, including 24 patients and 14 members of the NGO.
- Mega bomb against IS -
In April 2017 the US military drops the largest non-nuclear bomb it has
ever used in combat on an IS network of tunnels and caves in eastern
Afghanistan. Afghan officials say it killed more than 90 jihadists.
- 'Stalemate' -
In February 2017 the US general commanding the NATO force, John Nicholson,
warns that he needs more troops, telling Congress: "I believe we're in a
In August Trump scraps any timetables for a US pullout and re-commits
thousands more soldiers.
However deadly attacks multiply. The United States steps up air strikes
dramatically, dropping 6,823 bombs in the first 11 months of 2018 -- five
times the total in 2016. Civilian casualties also rise, the UN warns.
- Talks -
In mid-2018 Washington and Taliban representatives discreetly open talks in
In November 2018 Trump says the United States is in negotiations regarding
Afghanistan and, "We are talking about peace."
The following month, officials say he plans to withdraw half of the 14,000
US soldiers in the country. On Monday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick
Shanahan says he has received no orders to begin a drawdown yet.
January 2019 sees unprecedented marathon negotiations with the militants in
Doha, with both sides touting "progress" and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad
spreading a "draft framework" -- though he warns that "nothing is agreed to
until everything is agreed to".
In early February Khalilzad, says the United States is hoping Afghanistan
can strike a peace agreement including the Taliban before elections due in