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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid