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Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan

"On the security front the entire NATO exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure ... I am not happy to say that there is partial security. That's not what we are seeking. What we wanted was absolute security and a clear-cut war against terrorism... The worsening of relations began in 2005 where we saw the first incidents of civilian casualties, where we saw that the war on terror was not conducted where it should have been.... in the sanctuaries, in the training grounds beyond Afghanistan, rather than that which the US and NATO forces were conducting operations in Afghan villages, causing harm to Afghan people."
Hamid Karzai, 07 October 2013

Along with protecting local Afghans and reducing violence, new efforts are focused on cutting off the funding of the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke of a new thinking on the issue during a June 2009 visit to Pakistan. Holbrooke said the long-held notion that Afghanistan's illicit opium trade is the main source of funding for the insurgency is simply not true. And, he said US policy is going to reflect that reality. "If the drugs ended tomorrow, it would not have a major effect on the Taliban source of funding," said Holbrooke. "And, that's one of the reasons the United States is going to downgrade crop eradication as part of its policies in Afghanistan. We're going to upgrade interdiction. We're going to upgrade our efforts to go after the main drug traffickers. But we want to focus on where the money really comes from."

The strategy Obama adopted in March 2009 concluded that to defeat Al Qaeda, the United States needed to keep the Taliban from returning to power in Afghanistan and making it a haven once again for Osama bin Laden’s network. The administration then fired the commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, and replaced him with General McChrystal, empowering him to carry out the new strategy.

The International Security Assistance Force Commander, General McChrystal, shifted the Afghan strategy in 2009 from a focus on killing insurgents to one that seeks to protect the population. Biden proposed scaling back the overall American military presence. McChrystal’s new strategy of changing the mission in Afghanistan from pursuing the Taliban to focusing on protecting the Afghan’s has an underlying tone of soft power. This new plan, to be overseen by General McChrystal, introduced the COIN strategy to Afghanistan. The military objective was to shape, clear, hold, build/transfer - a paradigm that emerged from the Iraq War. Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics.

The U.S. strategic goal for Afghanistan is to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and prevent its return to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Specific objectives in Afghanistan in support of this goal are to (1) deny safe haven to al Qaeda and (2) deny the Taliban the ability to overthrow the Afghan government.

The U.S. strategic goals for Afghanistan were changed from those that appeared in the October 2012 U.S. Civil-Military Strategic Framework for Afghanistan. The goals as they appeared in October 2012 were to (1) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates and prevent their return to Afghanistan; and (2) build a partnership with the Afghan people that ensures that the United States will be able to continue to target terrorists and support a sovereign Afghan government.

Afghanistan Military Guide

Pakistan Military Guide

Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Links to Web Sites
US Government

Other Government

Anti Government Elements (AGE)


Pro War
  • National Security Network - hunting terrorists, increasing troop levels, reengaging allies, increasing reconstruction efforts, and protecting and supporting the people of Afghanistan.

Anti War



Major Combat Operations 2001-2002

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