News / Asia

Fighting Still Rages in Afghanistan 10 Years After US-Led Invasion

The U.S. and other NATO forces on October 7, 2001 attacked al-Qaida extremists and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan, less than a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. That military operation drove the Taliban from power. But the conflict that began so promisingly 10 years ago is still going on - the longest war in U.S. history.

Unexpected resistance

Few expected the Taliban government in Afghanistan to fall as quickly as it did 10 years ago. But equally surprising, NATO forces are still fighting Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents 10 years later. It was in late 2001 that Afghan forces, aided by a U.S. bombing campaign, drove the Taliban from Kabul.  But then Taliban and al-Qaida leaders fled into the mountains of Tora Bora, escaped into Pakistan and the fighting has raged ever since. Critics blame the escape on the lack of sufficient allied troops in the country -  a criticism NATO itself recognizes.

"There were a number of mistakes that were made over the years, and definitely in the years before 2009," said General Carsten Jacobson, ISAF spokesman. "I would say the first one was to underestimate the Taliban because we were blinded by the success that we had in 2001 and 2002. We didn’t bring enough forces into the country."

Insufficient troops

Without enough allied troops to stop them, Taliban fighters began slipping back into Afghanistan and regaining territory. NATO forces could do little but hold on. In 2003, the U.S. also switched its attention to a new war - in Iraq.

That, too, ran into problems, after initial success, until U.S. forces adopted counter-insurgency tactics, sent more troops and began training local security forces, including former insurgents. That seemed to work. NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan took notice.

"Lessons were drawn out of Iraq," said General Jacobson. "The right lessons were drawn out of Iraq and basically it was becoming very clear by the end of 2008 and through 2009 that something had to be done to defeat the insurgency and in parallel to build up security forces."

Lessons learned

In addition, U.S. President Barack Obama shifted attention back to Afghanistan. More troops arrived in 2009.

And the build up of Afghan security forces also increased,  coupled with an aggressive program using unmanned drone planes to strike at insurgent havens in Pakistan's border region. In a visit to Afghanistan before stepping down as chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen had this to say:

"The enemies of Afghanistan and those who seek nothing more than to strike out against our coalition have been dealt heavy blows over the last year," he said. "They’ve been pushed out of sanctuary. They’ve been denied influence over local populations. They’ve been hounded and they’ve been hunted. Their leaders killed or captured by the score."

Fragile success

But in the same speech, Mullen said those successes are fragile and could be reversed. The insurgents are now focusing on high profile attacks, car bombings and assassinations. But there also are some efforts toward reaching a negotiated settlement.

"You don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies," General Jacobson explained. "At the end of the day, peace has to be found with those who had a reason to take up the insurgency, to take up weapons and to fight the development of Afghanistan."

Several NATO nations with troops in Afghanistan plan to end their combat role there by 2014. Until then, the fighting continues and Afghanistan remains a nation at war.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid