Saturday, 14 November 2015

U.S. WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

American War in Afghanistan was invasion of USA and its allies in Afghanistan against Taliban regime and al-Qaeda. This war was part of War on Terror that was initiated by USA after September 11 attacks. Apart from American war on Afghanistan, Iraq War (2003 -2011) was also a part of War on Terror. USA invaded Afghanistan on 7th October 2001 and main force of ISAF withdrew on 28th December 2014.

Background


Around 3,000 people lost their lives during September 11 attacks. It was the deadliest attack on USA and the revenge of sole superpower of the time was inevitable. USA blamed Osama bin Laden and his organization al-Qaeda behind these attacks and demanded from Taliban regime of Afghanistan to handover Osama bin Laden to them so that he could be brought to justice. But Taliban refused to expel Osama from Afghanistan without a solid proof. This forced USA to launch an attack on Afghanistan. 

US Invasion of Afghanistan

On 7th October 2001, US invaded Afghanistan along with Britain and few other countries along with the support of Taliban opponents Northern Alliance. Within few weeks, the Taliban govt. was toppled but most of the leaders of Taliban and al-Qaeda (including Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden) managed to escape.

USA then formed an alliance of several NATO and non-NATO countries through UN Security Council in December 2001 and named it ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). In the same month, Hamid Karzai was selected as head of Afghan Interim Administration at the Bonn Conference. Later, Hamid Karzai became President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan after Afghan presidential election 2004.  

Taliban Insurgency

After regrouping and reorganization, Taliban started guerilla warfare against the occupants in 2003. Southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan were their stronghold areas from where they gained major support. Taliban targeted Afghan Govt. soldiers, US military and NGO workers during their attacks. In response to these attacks, ISAF conducted several operations in different areas of Afghanistan to uproot Taliban insurgency. Apart from Afghanistan, Taliban also gained support tribal areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Due to growing Taliban attacks and deaths of soldiers, the multi-national ISAF took control of the troubled southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan in 2006.

In 2007, Taliban attacks and the reciprocal operations from ISAF continued which resulted in hundreds of casualties of the both forces and civilians. US and its allies started to increase their troops in Afghanistan in 2008 after withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in order to quell uprising of Taliban. Maximum strength of US and coalition troops reached at the peak in 2011. Despite increase in troops and combat operations, coalition forces could not eliminate Taliban insurgency while 2009-2011 proved to be most lethal years for coalition troops. 

Role of Pakistan

Before US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan was the main supporter of Taliban regime. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE were the only three countries which had recognized the Taliban government. Pakistan also tried to convince Taliban to handover Osama bin Laden to USA after 9/11 attacks in order to prevent US invasion but the request was not accepted by Taliban. After US pressure, Pakistan decided to shun its support for Taliban and joined US War on Terror. 

Pakistan supplied few airfields to US for their aerial missions in Afghanistan. Apart from that, Pakistan also killed and captured several al-Qaeda members including Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and several others. But US remained unsatisfied by Pakistan’s cold response against Taliban as Pakistani operations against Taliban were not producing adequate effects, according to US. Due to this reason, US targeted suspicious Taliban and al-Qaeda hideouts in federal areas (FATA) several times by using drones (unmanned planes). On the other hand, Pakistan was also not happy over increasing influence of India in Afghanistan and blamed that Indian embassies near Pak-Afghan border were involved in terrorism inside Pakistan. 

On 10th June 2008, US bombarded for the first time directly on Pakistani military position at Gola Prai area in Mohmand Agency (FATA). In this air strike, 10 soldiers of Pakistani paramilitary force and 1 officer of regular Army lost their lives. After this incident, several small skirmishes took place between US and Pakistan at the Pak-Afghan border area.

The last and most lethal incident was 2011 NATO attack in Pakistan during which 28 Pakistani soldiers were killed by NATO air strikes on 26th November 2011. This aggression infuriated Pakistan and it closed down the NATO supply route and evacuated Shamsi Airbase (in Balochistan) from US troops. Pakistan later reopened the supply route after apology from US on 3rd July 2012. 

Death of Osama bin Laden

Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden managed to escape in from Afghanistan in 2002 while he was close to be captured or killed in 2002 in Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan. Later, he settled in Abbottabad (KPK province), Pakistan in 2005. After knowing about his hideouts, US launched an operation (Neptune Spear) in Abbottabad on 2nd May 2011 during which Osama bin Laden, his son and three of his hosts died.

U.S. Withdrawal

After death of Osama bin Laden, US President Barrack Obama announced the withdrawal plan of troops. The withdrawal started in the end of 2011 while the withdrawal procedure completed in 2014 with most of the active military personnel of USA and its allies left Afghanistan. 

Consequences

U.S. War in Afghanistan lasted for 13 years while its purpose was to punish al-Qaeda and their supporter Taliban regime for September 11 attacks. U.S. remained successful in the murder of Osama bin Laden and toppling of Taliban regime but the coalition troops can neither destroy Taliban nor could weaken them due to which support troops remained stationed in Afghanistan after withdrawal. Even after American withdrawal, Taliban are controlling large area in southern, eastern and few other parts of Afghanistan.

During and after US invasion of Afghanistan, thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan lost their lives on the hands of insurgents and ISAF. This American destabilized Afghanistan while Pakistan also suffered badly due to human and economic loss. 

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