"Adm. Mike Mullen awards the Silver Star to U.S. Army Capt. Gregory Ambrosia at Korengal Outpost, Afghanistan, July 11, 2008 for valor under fire after running into a hail of enemy gunfire to help save fallen comrades"
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 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 including Australia. 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-Qaeda's 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, while tensions have grown with regional ally Pakistan over hot pursuit of the Taliban into Pakistani territory giving sanctuary to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Taliban rule Pakistan's 'valley of death'
By Bill Roggio January 23, 2009
Swat, once renowned as Pakistan's vacation paradise is now referred to as the "valley of death" by the fearful Pakistanis still living there. The district has become the model Taliban police state. The Taliban have full control of the district and have implemented their austere version of sharia, or Islamic law.
The Taliban consolidated control in Swat over the past several months after nearly two years of fighting. Led by Mullah Fazlullah, the Taliban have defeated the Army, destroyed the police force, established a shadow government, and imposed sharia.
"We should fully understand our religion. Fighting is a part of our religion and our Sharia. Those who love God and his Prophet and this religion cannot deny that. Whoever denies even a minor tenet of our religion commits the gravest sin in Islam.
Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God . . . . I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America"- Time Magazine
"The pieces of the bodies of infidels were flying like dust particles. If you would have seen it with your own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would have been filled with joy." - At the wedding of his son in southern Kandahar about the 17 sailors who died in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen
"Every American man is an enemy to us."- Independent
"It is far better for anyone to kill a single American soldier than to squander his efforts on other activities."- May 1998
"We--with God's help--call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson."- Feb 1998, Bin Laden edict
"We are seeking to incite the (Islamic) nation to rise up to liberate its land and to (conduct) jihad (holy war) for the sake of God."- Al-Jazeera, June 1999
"I was never afraid of death ... As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to heaven. Before a battle, God sends us ... tranquility."- Independent, 1993.
"I am fighting so I can die a martyr and go to heaven to meet God. Our fight now is against the Americans."- Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper
"We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation."- to CNN in March 1997
" . . . For the American forces to expect anything from me personally reflects a very narrow perception. Thousands of millions of Muslims are angry. The Americans should expect reactions from the Muslim world that are proportionate to the injustice they inflict."- to Time Magazine Dec 1998
"Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these (nuclear) weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so. And if I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that would prevent the infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims."-Time Magazine Dec 1998
"The Twin Towers were legitimate targets, they were supporting US economic power.
These events were great by all measurement.
If avenging the killing of our people is terrorism then history should be a witness that we are terrorists.
Yes, we kill their innocents and this is legal religiously and logically.
There are two types of terror, good and bad.
What we are practising is good terror. We will not stop killing them and whoever supports them
Bush and Blair don't understand anything but the power of force.
Every time they kill us, we kill them, so the balance of terror can be achieved.
It is the duty of every Muslim to fight.
Killing Jews is top priority."
[Koran 5.51] "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people"
[Koran 9.123] "O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard against evil"
"In 2008 Denmark sent some of its Leopard 2 tanks to Afghanistan, where the heat can easily overwhelm the air conditioning system (built for milder European Summers, and not much cooling capacity at all). A clever solution was developed with the use of heavy duty fabric fitted covers for the chassis and turret. These were done up in a desert camouflage color, so save on a new paint job as well. The covers make a big difference in keeping the inside of the tank cooler. The crews also use cooling vests (where cool water is piped through thin plastic tubes built into a vest). But the temperature inside the crew compartment had to be brought down, otherwise the electronic gear would act unreliably, and eventually fail. The camouflage covers were developed in Sweden, and are called the Barracuda system. They also reduce the infrared signature of the vehicle, making it more difficult to detect using thermal imagers"