Jump to content

War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
Part of the Global War on Terrorism and the Afghan conflict
Seven soldiers in beige tactical gear huddle behind a row of green sandbags on a mountainside, pointing rifles in various directions
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle dropping 2000-pound munitions
An Afghan National Army soldier in camouflage gear points a rifle over a dirt wall
British soldiers prepare to board a Chinook twin-rotor helicopter landing on a field
An Afghan National Army soldier stands atop a desert-camouflaged Humvee
Taliban soldiers ride a beige Humvee through the streets of Kabul
Soldiers in green camouflage gear trudge through snow during a snowstorm

Clockwise from top-left:
American troops in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in Kunar Province; An American F-15E Strike Eagle dropping 2000 pound JDAMs on a cave in eastern Afghanistan; an Afghan soldier surveying atop a Humvee; Afghan and American soldiers move through snow in Logar Province; victorious Taliban fighters after securing Kabul; an Afghan soldier surveying a valley in Parwan Province; British troops preparing to board a Chinook during Operation Black Prince
Date7 October 2001 – 30 August 2021
(19 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
First phase: 7 October 2001 – 28 December 2014
Second phase: 1 January 2015 – 30 August 2021[34][35]
Result Taliban victory[36]
First phase:
Second phase:
Taliban control over Afghanistan increases compared to pre-intervention territory

Invasion (2001):
 Northern Alliance
 United States
 United Kingdom

 New Zealand[2]
Invasion (2001):
 Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan[3]
 055 Brigade[4][5]
ISAF/RS phase (2001–2021):
 Islamic State of Afghanistan (2001–2002)
 Afghan Transitional Authority (2002–2004)
 Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (2004–2021) Resolute Support (2015–2021; 36 countries)[7]
High Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (allegedly; from 2015)[8][9]
Khost Protection Force and other pro-government paramilitaries[10]
ISAF/RS phase (2001–2021):
 Taliban Al-Qaeda
Supported by:
Taliban splinter groups

RS phase (2015–2021):

ISIL–KP (from 2015)[32]
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (since 2015)[33]
Commanders and leaders

ISAF: 130,000+ (Peak Strength)[42]

Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: 307,947 (Peak Strength, January 2021)[43]

Resolute Support Mission: 17,178 (Peak Strength, October 2019)[44]

Defence Contractors: 117,227 (Peak Strength, Q2 2012)[45]

High Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: 3,000–3,500[46]

Khost Protection Force: 3,000-10,000 (2018)[47]

Afghanistan Taliban: 58,000-100,000
(As of February 2021)[48]

HIG: 1,500–2,000+ (2014)[52]
al-Qaeda: ~300 in 2016[53][54][55] (~ 3,000 in 2001)[53]

Fidai Mahaz: 8,000 (2013)[39]

Islamic State ISIL–KP: 3,500–4,000 (2018, in Afghanistan)[56]
Casualties and losses

Afghan security forces:
66,000–69,095 killed[57][58]
Northern Alliance:
200 killed[59][60][61][62][63]

Dead: 3,579

Wounded: 23,536

  • United States: 20,713[65]
  • United Kingdom: 2,188[66]
  • Canada: 635[67]

Dead: 3,917[58][68][69]
Wounded: 15,000+[68][69]

Total killed: 76,591

Taliban insurgents:
52,893 killed[58] (2,000+ al-Qaeda fighters)[53]

2,400+ killed[32]

Civilians killed: 46,319[58]

Total killed: 176,206 (per Brown University)[70]
212,191+ (per UCDP)

a The continued list includes nations who have contributed fewer than 200 troops as of November 2014.[72]

b The continued list includes nations who have contributed fewer than 200 troops as of May 2017.[73]

The War in Afghanistan was an armed conflict that took place from 2001 to 2021. Launched as a direct response to the September 11 attacks, the war began when an international military coalition led by the United States invaded Afghanistan, declaring Operation Enduring Freedom as part of the earlier-declared war on terror, toppling the Taliban-ruled Islamic Emirate, and establishing the Islamic Republic three years later. The Taliban and its allies were expelled from major population centers by US-led forces supporting the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance; Osama bin Laden, meanwhile, relocated to neighboring Pakistan. The conflict officially ended with the 2021 Taliban offensive, which overthrew the Islamic Republic, and re-established the Islamic Emirate. It was the longest war in the military history of the United States, surpassing the length of the Vietnam War (1955–1975) by approximately six months.

Following the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban immediately extradite al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the United States; the Taliban refused to do so without evidence of Bin Laden's involvement. After the expelling of the Taliban and their allies, the US-led coalition remained in Afghanistan, forming a security mission (ISAF)—sanctioned by the United Nations—with the goal of creating a new democratic authority in the country that would prevent the Taliban from returning to power.[74] A new Afghan Interim Administration was established, and international rebuilding efforts were launched.[75] By 2003, the Taliban had reorganized under their founder, Mullah Omar, and began a widespread insurgency against the new Afghan government and coalition forces. Insurgents from the Taliban and other Islamist groups waged asymmetric warfare, fighting with guerrilla warfare in the countryside, suicide attacks against urban targets, and reprisals against perceived Afghan collaborators. By 2007, large parts of Afghanistan had been retaken by the Taliban.[76][77] In response, the coalition sent a major influx of troops for counter-insurgency operations, with a "clear and hold" strategy for villages and towns; this influx peaked in 2011, when roughly 140,000 foreign troops were operating under ISAF command across Afghanistan.[78]

A US covert operation in neighboring Pakistan led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, and NATO leaders began planning an exit strategy from Afghanistan.[79][80] On 28 December 2014, NATO formally ended ISAF combat operations in Afghanistan and officially transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government. Unable to eliminate the Taliban through military means, coalition forces (and separately, the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani) turned to diplomacy to end the conflict.[81] These efforts culminated in the US–Taliban deal in February 2020, which stipulated the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan by 2021.[82] In exchange, the Taliban pledged to prevent any militant group from staging attacks from Afghan territory against the US and its allies.[83] However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal and rejected its terms.[84] Coinciding with the withdrawal of troops, the Taliban launched a broad offensive throughout the summer of 2021, successfully reestablishing their control over Afghanistan, including the capital city of Kabul on 15 August. On the same day, the last president of the Islamic Republic, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country; the Taliban declared victory and the war was formally brought to a close.[85] By 30 August, the last American military aircraft departed from Afghanistan, ending the protracted US-led military presence in the country.[86][87]

Overall, the war killed an estimated 176,000–212,000+ people, including 46,319 civilians.[88] While more than 5.7 million former refugees returned to Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion,[89] by the time the Taliban returned to power in 2021, 2.6 million Afghans remained refugees,[90] while another 4 million were internally displaced.[91][92]


This twenty-year armed conflict (2001–2021) is referred to as the War in Afghanistan[93] in order to distinguish it from the country's various other wars,[94] notably the ongoing Afghan conflict of which it was a part,[95] and the Soviet–Afghan War.[96][full citation needed] From the perspective of the West, the war is divided between 2001 and 2014 (the ISAF mission), when most combat operations were performed by coalition forces, and 2015 to 2021 (the Resolute Support Mission), when the Afghan armed forces did most of the fighting against the Taliban.[citation needed] The war was named Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001 to 2014[97] and as Operation Freedom's Sentinel from 2015 to 2021 by the US.[98] Alternatively, it has been called the US War in Afghanistan.[99][100][101] In Afghanistan itself, the war is known as simply the "War in Afghanistan" (Dari: جنگ در افغانستان Jang dar Afghanestan, Pashto: د افغانستان جګړه Da Afganistan Jang).[102][103][104]


The military situation of the Afghan Civil War in 1996 between the Taliban (red) and the Northern Alliance (blue)

Rise of the Taliban

The Taliban emerged from religious students known as the Talib who sought to end warlordism in Afghanistan through stricter adherence to Sharia.[105][106] On 27 September 1996, the Taliban, with military support by Pakistan and financial support from Saudi Arabia, seized Kabul and founded the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.[107] The Taliban imposed their fundamentalist Deobandi interpretation of Islam in areas under their control, issuing edicts forbidding women to work outside the home, attend school or to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative.[108] According to the United Nations (UN), the Taliban, while trying to consolidate control over northern and western Afghanistan, committed systematic massacres against civilians. UN officials stated that there had been "15 massacres" between 1996 and 2001, many of them targeting Shias and Hazaras.[109][110]

By 2001, the Taliban controlled as much as 90% of Afghanistan, with the Northern Alliance confined to the country's northeast corner. Fighting alongside Taliban forces were some 28,000–30,000 Pakistanis (usually also Pashtun) and 2,000–3,000 Al-Qaeda militants.[111][112][113][114]


The 9/11 Commission in the US found that under the Taliban, Al-Qaeda was able to use Afghanistan as a place to train and teach fighters, import weapons, coordinate with other jihadists, and plot terrorist actions.[115] While Al-Qaeda maintained its own camps in Afghanistan, it also supported training camps of other organizations. An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 men passed through these facilities before 9/11, most of whom were sent to fight for the Taliban against the United Front. A smaller number were inducted into Al-Qaeda.[116]

After the August 1998 United States embassy bombings were linked to bin Laden, President Bill Clinton ordered missile strikes on militant training camps in Afghanistan. US officials pressed the Taliban to surrender bin Laden. In 1999, the international community imposed sanctions on the Taliban, calling for bin Laden to be surrendered. The Taliban repeatedly rebuffed these demands. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Special Activities Division paramilitary teams were active in Afghanistan in the 1990s in clandestine operations to locate and kill or capture Osama bin Laden. These teams planned several operations but did not receive the order to proceed from President Clinton. Their efforts built relationships with Afghan leaders that proved essential in the 2001 invasion.[117]

September 11 attacks

Ground Zero in New York following the September 11th attacks, September 2001

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a total of 19 men affiliated with Al-Qaeda carried out four coordinated attacks in the United States. Four commercial passenger jet airliners were hijacked.[118][119] The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and more than 2,000 people in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours from damage related to the crashes, destroying and damaging nearby buildings. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C., to target the White House, or the US Capitol. No one aboard the flights survived. The death toll among responders including firefighters and police was 836 as of 2009.[120] Total deaths were 2,996, including the 19 hijackers.[120]

Osama bin Laden planned and coordinated the attacks, and the US desire to hold him accountable became the casus belli for invasion. Historian Carter Malkasian writes that "seldom in history has one man so singlehandedly provoked a war." Bin Laden sought, successfully, to draw the US into an extended war similar to that fought against the Soviets.[121]: 62–64  The Taliban publicly condemned the 11 September attacks.[122] They also greatly underestimated the US's willingness to go to war. The US was mistaken in its belief that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda were almost inseparable when, in fact, they had very different goals and leaders.[121]: 65–70 

US ultimatum to the Taliban

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the United States National Security Council agreed that military action would probably have to be taken against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. However, Bush decided to issue an ultimatum to the Taliban first,[121]: 54  demanding that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden, "close immediately every terrorist training camp, hand over every terrorist and their supporters, and give the United States full access to terrorist training camps for inspection."[122] The same day, religious scholars met in Kabul, deciding that bin Laden should be surrendered; however, Mullah Omar decided that "turning over Osama would only be a disgrace for us and Islamic thought and belief would be a weakness", and that the US would continue making demands after surrendering bin Laden, who he claimed was innocent.[121]: 56  The Taliban refused the ultimatum, saying that Osama bin Laden was protected by the traditional Pashtun laws of hospitality.[123][124]

In the weeks ahead and at the beginning of the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden's guilt but subsequently offered to hand him over to a third country if the US stopped its bombing and provided evidence of his guilt.[125][126] A Bush administration official later stated that their demands were "not subject to negotiation" and that it was "time for the Taliban to act now."[127] Covert US military action began soon after, and the War started officially on 7 October 2001.[121]: 58 


Tactical overview

The war contained two main factions: the Coalition, which included the US and its allies (eventually supporting the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan), fighting against the Taliban, its allies, and its militias. Complicating the fight were Taliban splinter groups and other, more radical religious groups such as al-Qaeda and later the Islamic State. These radical groups sometimes fought for the Taliban, sometimes fought for their own goals, and sometimes fought against both the Taliban and the government.

Afghanistan is a rural country; in 2020, some 80% of its 33 million people lived in the countryside.[121]: 12  This predisposes warfare to rural areas, and provides ample hiding spots for guerrilla fighters. The country also has harsh winters, which favors spring or summertime military offensives after winter lulls in fighting.[128][129] Afghanistan is 99.7% Muslim,[130] which affected the ideology of both the Taliban and the Afghan government. Islam has historically allowed Afghan leaders to overcome tribal differences and conflict, and provided a sense of unity, especially against foreigners and non-Muslims. Centuries of foreign invasion by non-Muslims cemented the religious nature of resisting outsiders and the Afghan identity.[121]: 17–19  The impact of local religious leaders (mullahs) is important in Afghanistan, and they could influence the population as much as the government. Mullahs have traditionally been important in prescribing resistance to outsiders through calls for holy war or jihad.[121]: 23–24 

Afghanistan is a largely tribal society, and this significantly influences Afghan society and politics. Tribalism is largely a source of division, unlike Islam. Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, comprising between 38% and 50% of the population.[131] Pashtunwali, the traditional way of life for the Pashtuns, guided most tribal decision making. Tribal unity was often weak as well due to Pashtunwali's method of dealing with feuds. Traditionally, Afghan leaders have depended on tribes to keep order in rural areas because without their cooperation the state was often ineffective and weak. Afghans were more loyal to their own community and tribe, not the state, which meant that tribes would align with either the Taliban or the Government as was most beneficial.[121]: 19–22 

The significant difference in power between high-tech Coalition militaries and the guerrilla Taliban led to asymmetric warfare. Owing to their roots in the anti-Soviet Mujahideen, the Taliban carried on the guerrilla tactics developed in the 1980s. The Mujihdeen operated in small cadres of 10 to 50 men, armed with a combination of outdated and (usually looted) modern weapons.[121]: 31  The Taliban increasingly used guerrilla tactics such as suicide, car and roadside bombs (IEDs), and targeted assassinations.[132] By 2009, IEDs had become the Taliban's weapon of choice.[133] The Taliban also used insider attacks as the war drew on, by planting personnel in the Afghan military and police forces.[134]

2001: Invasion and early operations

US Army Special Forces and US Air Force Combat Controllers with Northern Alliance troops on horseback in Samangan Province, 2001

Though the US officially invaded on 7 October 2001 by launching Operation Enduring Freedom, covert operations had begun several weeks earlier. Fifteen days after the 9/11 attack, the US covertly inserted members of the CIA's Special Activities Division into Afghanistan, forming the Northern Afghanistan Liaison Team.[135] They linked up with the Northern Alliance in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul.[136] In October, 12-man Special Forces teams began arriving in Afghanistan to work with the CIA and Northern Alliance.[136] Within a few weeks the Northern Alliance, with assistance from the US ground and air forces, captured several key cities from the Taliban.[137][138] The Taliban retreated throughout the country, holding steady only in Kunduz Province, outmatched by US air support. By November, the Taliban had lost control of most of the country.[121]: 70–75 

The US did not invade alone: it began with assistance from the UK, and eventually over a dozen more countries.[139][140][141] The US and its allies drove the Taliban from power and built military bases near major cities across the country. Most al-Qaeda and Taliban were not captured, escaping to neighboring Pakistan or retreating to rural or remote mountainous regions.[142] On 20 December 2001, the United Nations authorized an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), with a mandate to help the Afghans maintain security in Kabul and surrounding areas.[143] Its mandate did not extend beyond the Kabul area for the first few years.[144] Eighteen countries were contributing to the force in February 2002.[citation needed]

The CIA created Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams staffed by Afghans at the war's beginning.[145][146] This force grew to over 3,000 by 2010 and was considered one of the "best Afghan fighting forces."[146] These units were not only effective in operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan,[147] but also expanded their operations into Pakistan.[148]

Who would lead the country became an acute political question. At the Bonn Conference in December 2001, Hamid Karzai was selected to head the Afghan Interim Administration, which after a 2002 loya jirga (grand assembly) in Kabul became the Afghan Transitional Administration. The agreement provided steps that would lead to democracy for the country.[149]

Shortly after the elevation of Karzai to the president on 5 December, the Taliban may have tried to seek a conditional surrender to Karzai. There are two conflicting accounts. The first is that an agreement, possibly signed by Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban, was reached wherein the Taliban would surrender in exchange for immunity. The second is that the agreement was more narrowly focused on surrendering Kandahar. Taliban sources, on the other hand, say that Omar was not part of the deal and was not going to surrender Kandahar. Whatever the case, the US vetoed any sort of negotiation, in what historian Malkasian calls "one of the greatest mistakes" of the war. Omar disappeared, leaving either for another part of Afghanistan or Pakistan. The Taliban subsequently went into hiding, or fled to Pakistan, though many gave up arms as well. Most leaders and thousands of fighters went to Pakistan. Whether the Taliban had decided on an insurgency at this time is unknown.[121]: 74–84  Taliban fighters remained in hiding in the rural regions of four southern provinces: Kandahar, Zabul, Helmand and Uruzgan.[150]

Canadian soldiers from 3PPCLI, search for Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters after an air assault, approach on an objective north of Qalati Ghilji, 2002

By late November, bin Laden was at a fortified training camp in Tora Bora. The Battle of Tora Bora began on 30 November. CIA teams working with tribal militias followed bin Laden there and began to call in airstrikes to clear out the mountainous camp, with special forces soon arriving in support. While the tribal militia numbered 1,000, it was not fighting eagerly during Ramadan. While the CIA requested that United States Army Rangers be sent and Marines were ready to deploy, they were declined. Bin Laden was eventually able to escape at some point in December to Pakistan.[121]: 76–79 

The invasion was a striking military success for the Coalition. Fewer than 12 US soldiers died between October and March, compared to some 15,000 Taliban killed or taken prisoner. Special forces teams and their Afghan allies had done most of the work and relatively few soldiers had been required. Karzai was a respected, legitimate, and charismatic leader. Still, according to Malkasian, the failure to capture bin Laden or negotiate with the Taliban, or include them in any way in the new government, set the course for the long war that bin Laden had dreamed of getting the US into.[121]: 86–88 

In the early years of the war, Pakistan had been seen as a firm ally, and little concern had been given to its support of the Taliban. Pakistan had also helped capture numerous top Al-Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But internally, Pakistan was providing significant funding, access to safe houses, and political support to the Taliban. Public opinion in Pakistan heavily favored the Taliban, and the US invasion was viewed very negatively. The government was in no position to expel the Taliban, lest it starts a conflict within its already fragile country. Thus the Taliban continued to use Pakistan as a base of operations and a safe haven to rebuild their strength.[121]: 129–132 

2002–2005: Taliban resurgence

Coalition mistakes, Taliban start to re-organize

After initial success, the US lacked an obvious goal in Afghanistan beyond the counter-terrorism objectives of finding senior Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders. Nation-building was initially opposed by the Bush administration, but as the US stayed, it slowly crept into the rationale for staying. In April 2002, Bush made a speech expressing a desire to rebuild Afghanistan. The US also sought to instill democracy and women's rights as a moral matter. The international community contributed to the development effort in Afghanistan, which focused on aid and creating institutions to run the country. US reconstruction efforts also focused on improving education, health care, and community development. The US also supported and funded the creation of an Afghan army in early 2002. However, the army was built slowly due to competing interests and a US belief that the Taliban were no longer a strong threat. Some in the Bush administration preferred to use the Northern Alliance and warlords as the military instead of creating a new military. The army became an afterthought and was poorly trained and equipped, which further enabled the Taliban.[121]: 89–105 

The first attempt at a larger organization of Taliban groups after the invasion occurred in April 2002 in the country's south. A shura was established by former mid-level Taliban officials in Gardi Jangal a refugee camp near the Helmand border. It operated in the core southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul, and Uruzgan. It was composed of 23 groups of about 50 individuals each, for a total of around 1,200. In the North Waziristan District of Pakistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani had started organizing the Haqqani network after exiling there in 2001. In early 2002 their manpower was estimated at 1,400 and had a presence in Paktia Province and Khost Province in the second half of 2002 with limited activity. They were joined by members of Al-Qaeda. Operation Jacana & Operation Condor, among others, tried to flush out the Taliban with varying results.[151]: 25–29 

Map detailing the spread of the Taliban insurgency, 2002–2006

Some members of the Taliban reached out to Karzai to open negotiations several times between 2002 and 2004, but the US was adamantly against this and ensured that all top Taliban leaders were blacklisted, such that the Afghan Government could not negotiate with them. Historian Malkasian argues that negotiations with the Taliban would have been low cost but highly effective at this stage and chocks it up to US overconfidence and hubris, and notes that all the information that the Taliban could resurge was available but ignored.[121]: 106–111  Some Taliban leaders considered joining the political process, with meetings on the issue until 2004, though these did not result in a decision to do so.[151]: 19 

From 2002 to 2005, the Taliban reorganized and planned a resurgence. Pressure on Coalition forces to hunt down terrorists led to excesses and generated some popular support for the Taliban. Coalition troops would go on missions with questionable intelligence, at one point falling prey to a false tip provided by a target's political opponents. Few high-level Taliban or al-Qaeda leaders were caught. Those captured were predominantly low-level Taliban operatives who had little information on al-Qaeda. Numerous civilians were killed in operations, including a wedding which was misinterpreted as a Taliban gathering. Repeated errors by Coalition forces drove Taliban recruitment. Many Taliban leaders who had given up arms to leave peacefully, especially after being promised amnesty by President Karzai, were increasingly harassed by the US and elements of the Afghan government. By 2004, most Taliban leaders in Afghanistan had fled back to Pakistan, where the remnants of the Taliban were hiding. Malkasian argues that the US provided significant momentum to the Taliban by its own missteps, especially by focusing on aggressive counter-terrorism and vengeance for 9/11. He further argues that these actions alone did not restart the conflict because the Taliban would have re-emerged regardless because of leaders like Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani who had never put down arms.[121]: 119–123 

US troops board a helicopter in Zabul province, 2003

The Taliban undertook relatively few actions until 2005. Pamphlets by Taliban and other groups turned up strewn in towns and the countryside in early 2003, urging Islamic faithful to rise up against US forces and other foreign soldiers in a holy war.[152] American attention was diverted from Afghanistan when US forces invaded Iraq in March 2003.[153] In May 2003, the Taliban Supreme Court's chief justice, Abdul Salam, proclaimed that the Taliban were back, regrouped, rearmed, and ready for guerrilla war to expel US forces from Afghanistan.[154]

As the summer of 2003 continued, Taliban attacks gradually increased in frequency. Dozens of Afghan government soldiers, NGO humanitarian workers, and several US soldiers died in the raids, ambushes, and rocket attacks. Besides guerrilla attacks, Taliban fighters began building up forces in the district of Dey Chopan District in Zabul Province. The Taliban decided to make a stand there. Over the course of the summer, up to 1,000 guerrillas moved there. Over 220 people, including several dozen Afghan police, were killed in August 2003.[155] On 11 August, NATO assumed control of ISAF.[156]

Taliban leader Mullah Omar reorganized the movement, and in 2003 launched an insurgency against the government and ISAF.[157][158] From the second half of 2003 and through 2004 operations started intensifying, with night letters followed by kidnappings and assassinations of government officials and collaborating village elders by 2005, with the former leaving villages in fear. Government schools and clinics were also burned down.[151]: 34 

Privately, the Taliban were preparing a grand offensive against the Coalition. It was to be several years in the making so that enough strength could be gathered. Mullah Dadullah was put in charge of the offensive. His tactics where largely effective. He was responsible for introducing suicide bombing into wide use around 2004, as previously the Taliban had not been enamored by suicide or taking civilian lives; that had been an Al-Qaeda tactic. A network of madrassas in Pakistan catering to Afghan refugees provided a steady stream of extremist recruits willing to die.[121]: 125–127 

A US Navy Corpsman searches for Taliban fighters in Mihtarlam, 2005

Operation Asbury Park cleared out Taliban forces in the Dey Chopan District during the summer of 2004.[159] In late 2004, the then-hidden Taliban leader Mullah Omar announced an insurgency against America and the transitional Afghan government forces to "regain the sovereignty of our country."[160] The 2004 Afghan presidential election was a major target of Taliban, though only 20 districts and 200 villages elsewhere were claimed to have been successfully prevented from voting. Karzai was elected president of the country, now named the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.[151]: 40 

The US started using drone strikes in Pakistan in 2004, starting along the Federal Tribal Areas against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.[161][162]

In June and July 2005, United States Navy Seals carried out Operation Red Wings as a joint military operation in Kunar Province. The mission intended to disrupt local Taliban led by Ahmad Shah, hopefully bringing stability and facilitating the Afghan Parliament elections scheduled for September 2005. The operation was a pyrrhic victory for the Coalition, with only one survivor (dramatized in the 2013 film Lone Survivor) and 19 dead.[163][164][165] Operation Whalers would finish the job several weeks later. Taliban activity dropped significantly and Shah was seriously wounded. Shah was not able to undertake any significant operations subsequent to Operation Whalers in Kunar or neighboring provinces.[164][166]

The Taliban regained control over several villages in the south by the end of 2005, mostly because the villages were frustrated with the lack of help from the government and hoped life would be better under the Taliban. Years of planning were coming to fruition for the Taliban. By comparison, the Government was in a very weak position. The police were deeply underfunded, and the average district had only 50 officers. Some districts had no Government presence at all. Most of the country's militias (with a strength of ~100,000) had been demobilized due to international pressure to create an army, but it was still weak. Combined with an increase in tribal feuding, the conditions were perfect for a Taliban comeback.[121]: 134–136 

2006–2007: Escalating war

As insurgent attacks in the country reportedly grew fourfold between 2002 and 2006,[167] by late 2007 Afghanistan was said to be in "serious danger" of falling into Taliban control despite the presence of 40,000 ISAF troops.[168]

An Apache helicopter provides protection from the air, Lwar Kowndalan in Kandahar, 2005

From January 2006, a multinational ISAF contingent started to replace US troops in southern Afghanistan. The UK formed the core of the force, along with Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Estonia.[169][170][171][172][173] In January 2006, NATO's focus in southern Afghanistan was to form Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Local Taliban figures pledged to resist.[174] Since Canada wanted to deploy in Kandahar, the UK got Helmand province. Helmand was a center of poppy production, so it seemed a good region for the anti-narcotic focused UK. In hindsight, the UK were a poor choice. Pashtun Helmandis had never forgotten the 1880 Battle of Maiwand with the British, and it proved a source of significant resistance from them.[121]: 138–142 

Local intelligence suggested that the Taliban were going to wage a brutal campaign in the summer of 2006. Coalition generals sent this info up the chain of command, but decision-makers ignored warnings. The US was distracted in Iraq, and Secretary of State Rumsfeld was more interested in making the Afghan army affordable than effective. Of the 70,000 soldiers the Afghan army was supposed to have, only 26,000 had been trained and retained.[121]: 138–142 

Swedish Army medic in the Mazar-e Sharif region, 2006

Spring and summer action in 2006 by the Coalition included Operation Mountain Thrust, Operation Medusa, a Dutch/Australian offensive, the Battle of Panjwaii, Operation Mountain Fury and Operation Falcon Summit. The Coalition achieved tactical victories and area denial, but the Taliban were not completely defeated.

On 29 May 2006, a US military truck that was part of a convoy in Kabul lost control and plowed into civilian vehicles, killing one person and injuring six. The surrounding crowd got angry and a riot arose, lasting all day ending with 20 dead and 160 injured. When stone-throwing and gunfire had come from a crowd of some 400 men, the US troops had used their weapons "to defend themselves" while leaving the scene, a US military spokesman said. A correspondent for the Financial Times in Kabul suggested that this was the outbreak of "a ground swell of resentment" and "growing hostility to foreigners" that had been growing and building since 2004.[175][176]

UK actions in early 2007 included Operation Volcano, Operation Achilles, and Operation Lastay Kulang. The UK Ministry of Defence also announced its intention to bring British troop levels in the country up to 7,700.[177]

In March 2007, the US deployed some 3,500 more troops, though the pace of deployment was slow due to American priorities in Iraq.[178][179] In the first five months of 2008, the number of US troops in Afghanistan increased by over 80% with a surge of 21,643 more troops, bringing the total from 26,607 in January to 48,250 in June.[180]

On 4 March 2007, US Marines killed at least 12 civilians and injured 33 in Shinwar district, Nangarhar,[181] in a response to a bomb ambush. The event became known as the "Shinwar massacre."[182] The 120 member Marine unit responsible for the attack were ordered to leave the country because the incident damaged the unit's relations with the local population.[183]

During the summer, NATO forces achieved tactical victories at the Battle of Chora in Orūzgān, where Dutch and Australian ISAF forces were deployed. The Battle of Musa Qala took place in December. Afghan units were the principal fighting force, supported by British forces.[184] Taliban forces were forced out of the town.

In 2007, after more than 5 years of war, Western officials and analysts estimated the strength of Taliban forces at about 10,000 fighters fielded at any given time. Of that number, only 2,000 to 3,000 were highly motivated, full-time insurgents.[185] The rest were volunteer units, made up of young Afghans, angered by deaths of Afghan civilians in military airstrikes and American detention of Muslim prisoners who had been held for years without being charged.[186] In 2007, more foreign fighters came into Afghanistan than ever before, according to officials. Approximately 100 to 300 full-time combatants were foreigners, many from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, perhaps Turkey and western China, and other countries. They were reportedly more violent, and uncontrollable, often bringing superior video-production or bomb making expertise.[187] By 2010, the Taliban had as many as 25,000 dedicated soldiers, almost as many as before 9/11.[188]

General McChrystal, newly appointed as US commander in Afghanistan, said that the Taliban had gained the upper hand. In a continuation of the Taliban's usual strategy of summer offensives,[189] the militants aggressively spread their influence into north and west Afghanistan and stepped up their attack in an attempt to disrupt presidential polls.[190] He added that the US strategy was to stop their momentum, and focus on protecting and safeguarding Afghan civilians, calling it "hard work."[191]

2008-2009: NATO build-up, Pakistan skirmishes, and Karzai re-election

On 13 June 2008, Taliban fighters demonstrated their ongoing strength, liberating all prisoners in Kandahar jail. The operation freed 1200 prisoners, 400 of whom were Taliban, causing a major embarrassment for NATO.[192] By the end of 2008, the Taliban apparently had severed remaining ties with al-Qaeda.[193] According to senior US military intelligence officials, perhaps fewer than 100 members of al-Qaeda remained in Afghanistan.[194]

In the summer of 2008, President Bush issued an order authorizing raids against militants in Pakistan. Pakistan said it would not allow foreign forces onto its territory and that it would vigorously protect its sovereignty.[195] In September, the Pakistan military stated that it had issued orders to "open fire" on US soldiers who crossed the border in pursuit of militant forces.[196]

In September 2008, President Bush announced the withdrawal of over 8,000 from Iraq and a further increase of up to 4,500 in Afghanistan.[197] The same month, the UK lost its 100th serviceperson.[198]

On 3 September 2008, US commandos landed by helicopter and attacked three houses close to a known enemy stronghold in Pakistan. Pakistan condemned the attack, calling the incursion "a gross violation of Pakistan's territory."[199][200] On 6 September, in an apparent reaction, Pakistan announced an indefinite disconnection of supply lines to NATO forces.[201] A further split occurred when Pakistani soldiers fired on NATO aircraft which had crossed the border on 25 September.[202] However, despite tensions, the US increased the use of remotely piloted drone aircraft in Pakistan's border regions, in particular the Federal Tribal Areas and Balochistan; by 2009, drone attacks were up 183% since 2006.[203]

By 2009 there was broad agreement in Afghanistan that the war should end, but how it should happen was a major issue for the candidates of the 2009 Afghan presidential election that re-elected Karzai.[204] In a televised speech after being elected, Karzai called on "our Taliban brothers to come home and embrace their land"[205] and laid plans to launch a loya jirga. Efforts were undermined by the Obama administration's increase of American troops in the country.[206] Karzai reiterated at a London conference in January 2010 that he wanted to reach out to the Taliban to lay down arms.[207] US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautiously supported the proposal.[208]

Development of ISAF troop strength
A US soldier and an Afghan interpreter in Zabul, 2009

January 2009 brought a change in American leadership, with the election of President Barack Obama. That month, US soldiers, alongside Afghan Federal Guards, moved into the provinces of Logar, Wardak, and Kunar. The troops were the first wave of an expected surge of reinforcements originally ordered by President Bush and increased by President Obama.[209] In mid-February 2009, it was announced that 17,000 additional troops would be deployed in two brigades and support troops; the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade of about 3,500 and the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a Stryker brigade with about 4,000.[210] ISAF commander General David McKiernan had called for as many as 30,000 additional troops, effectively doubling the number of troops.[211] On 23 September, a classified assessment by General McChrystal included his conclusion that a successful counterinsurgency strategy would require 500,000 troops and five years.[212]

Pakistani drone strikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants increased substantially under President Obama.[213] Some in the media referred to the attacks as a "drone war."[214][215] In August 2009, Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was killed in a drone strike.[216]

June 2009 brought Operation Strike of the Sword in Helmand.[217] It followed a British-led operation named Operation Panther's Claw in the same region, which was aimed to secure various canal and river crossings to establish a long-term ISAF presence.[218]

On 4 September 2009, during the Kunduz Province Campaign a devastating NATO air raid was conducted 7 kilometers southwest of Kunduz, where Taliban fighters had hijacked civilian supply trucks, killing up to 179 people, including over 100 civilians.[219]

Russian made Mil Mi-8 chopper landing at Forward Operating Base Airborne to deliver mail and supplies, 2009

After Karzai's alleged win of 54 percent in 2009, which would prevent a runoff, over 400,000 Karzai votes had to be disallowed after accusations of fraud. Some nations criticized the elections as "free but not fair."[220][221] The Taliban's claim that the over 135 violent incidents disrupted elections was largely disputed. However, the media was asked to not report any violent incidents.[222] In southern Afghanistan where the Taliban held the most power, voter turnout was low and sporadic violence was directed at voters and security personnel.[223] The Taliban released a video days after the elections, filming on the road between Kabul and Kandahar, stopping vehicles and asking to see their fingers (voters were marked by dipping their fingers in ink so they could not double vote). The video went showed ten men who had voted, listening to a Taliban militant. The Taliban pardoned the voters because of Ramadan.[224] The Taliban attacked towns with rockets and other indirect fire. Amid claims of widespread fraud, both top contenders, Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, claimed victory. Reports suggested that turnout was lower than in the prior election.[221] On 26 November, Karzai made a public plea for direct negotiations with the Taliban leadershi, saying there was an "urgent need" for negotiations and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks. There was no formal US response.[225][226]

In December 2009, an attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman, used by the CIA to gather information and to coordinate drone attacks against Taliban leaders, killed eight working for the CIA.[227]

On 1 December 2009, Obama announced that the US would send 30,000 more troops.[228] Antiwar organizations in the US responded quickly, and cities throughout the US saw protests on 2 December.[229] Many protesters compared the decision to deploy more troops in Afghanistan to the expansion of the Vietnam War under the Johnson administration.[230]

2010–2011: Strategic agreements and death of Bin Laden

UK service members of the Royal Air Force Regiment stop on a road while conducting a combat mission near Kandahar Airfield, 2010

Deployment of additional US troops continued in early 2010, with 9,000 of the planned 30,000 in place before the end of March and another 18,000 expected by June.[231] The surge in troops supported a sixfold increase in Special Forces operations.[232] The surge of American personnel that began in late 2009 ended by September 2012.[233] 700 airstrikes occurred in September 2010 alone versus 257 in all of 2009.[234]

Due to increased use of IEDs by insurgents, the number of injured Coalition soldiers, mainly Americans, significantly increased.[235] Beginning in May 2010 NATO special forces began to concentrate on operations to capture or kill specific Taliban leaders. As of March 2011, the US military claimed that the effort had resulted in the capture or killing of more than 900 low- to mid-level Taliban commanders.[236][237] Overall, 2010 saw the most insurgent attacks of any year since the war began, peaking in September at more than 1,500.[238]

In February 2010, Coalition and Afghan forces began highly visible plans for an offensive, codenamed Operation Moshtarak, on a Taliban stronghold near the village of Marjah.[239]

The "Peace Jirga" was held in Kabul, attended by 1,600 delegates, in June 2010. However, the Taliban and the Hezb-i Islami Gulbuddin, who were both invited by Karzai as a gesture of goodwill did not attend the conference.[240] The Taliban's co-founder and then-second-in-command, Abdul Ghani Baradar, was one of the leading Taliban members who favored talks with the US and Afghan governments. Karzai's administration reportedly held talks with Baradar in February; however, later that month, Baradar was captured in a joint US-Pakistani raid in the city of Karachi in Pakistan. The arrest infuriated Karzai and invoked suspicions that he was seized because the Pakistani intelligence community was opposed to Afghan peace talks.[241][242] Karzai started peace talks with Haqqani-network groups in March.[243]

In 2010, a mindset change and strategy occurred within the Obama administration, to allow possible political negotiations to solve the war.[244] The Taliban themselves had refused to speak to the Afghan government, portraying them as an American "puppet." Sporadic efforts for peace talks between the US and the Taliban occurred afterward, and it was reported in October 2010 that Taliban leadership commanders (the "Quetta Shura") had left their haven in Pakistan and been safely escorted to Kabul by NATO aircraft for talks, with the assurance that NATO staff would not apprehend them.[245] After the talks concluded, it emerged that the leader of this delegation, who claimed to be Akhtar Mansour, the second-in-command of the Taliban, was actually an imposter who had duped NATO officials.[246]

On 25 July 2010, the release of 91,731 classified documents from the WikiLeaks organization was made public. The documents cover US military incident and intelligence reports from January 2004 to December 2009.[247] Some of these documents included sanitized, and "covered up", accounts of civilian casualties caused by Coalition Forces. The reports included many references to other incidents involving civilian casualties like the Kunduz airstrike and Nangar Khel incident.[248] The leaked documents also contain reports of Pakistan collusion with the Taliban. According to Der Spiegel, "the documents clearly show that the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (usually known as the ISI) is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan."[249]

An Australian service light armored vehicle drives through Tangi Valley, 2011

On 2 May 2011, US officials announced that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in Operation Neptune Spear, conducted by the US Navy SEALs, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.[250] Pakistan came under intense international scrutiny after the raid. The Pakistani government denied that it had sheltered bin Laden, and said it had shared information with the CIA and other intelligence agencies about the compound since 2009.[251]

The 2011 Battle of Kandahar was part of an offensive that followed a 30 April announcement that the Taliban would launch their spring offensive.[252] On 7 May, the Taliban launched a major offensive on government buildings in Kandahar.[253] The BBC called it "the worst attack in Kandahar province since the fall of the Taliban government, and an embarrassment for the [Afghan] government."[254]

Karzai confirmed in June 2011 that secret talks were taking place between the US and the Taliban,[255] but these collapsed by August.[256]

On 22 June 2011, President Obama announced that 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of the year, and an additional 23,000 troops would return by the summer of 2012. After the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops, only 80,000 remained.[257] In July 2011 Canada withdrew its combat troops, transitioning to a training role. Following suit, other NATO countries announced troop reductions.[citation needed] Taliban attacks continued at the same rate as they did in 2011, around 28,000 in 2013.[258]

A German Bundeswehr soldier, part of ISAF's Regional Command North at Camp Marmal, 2011

Tensions between Pakistan and the US were heightened in late September 2011 after several Pakistan Frontier Corps soldiers were killed and wounded. The troops were attacked by a US piloted aircraft that was pursuing Taliban forces near the Afghan-Pakistan border, but for unknown reasons opened fire on two Pakistan border posts. In retaliation for the strike, Pakistan closed the Torkham ground border crossing to NATO supply convoys for an unspecified period. This incident followed the release of a video allegedly showing uniformed Pakistan soldiers executing unarmed civilians.[259] After the Torkham border closing, Pakistani Taliban attacked NATO convoys, killing several drivers and destroying around 100 tankers.[260] ISAF forces skirmished Pakistan's armed forces on 26 November, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Each side claimed the other shot first. Pakistan blocked NATO supply lines and ordered Americans to leave Shamsi Airfield.[261][262]

2012-2013: U.S. troop incidents, Obama-Karzai meetings

US soldiers walk by local Afghan boys during a patrol in Gardez, 2012

Beginning in January 2012, incidents involving US troops[263][264][265][266][267][268] occurred that were described by The Sydney Morning Herald as "a series of damaging incidents and disclosures involving US troops in Afghanistan."[263] These incidents created fractures in the partnership between Afghanistan and ISAF,[269] raised the question whether discipline within US troops was breaking down,[270] undermined "the image of foreign forces in a country where there is already deep resentment owing to civilian deaths and a perception among many Afghans that US troops lack respect for Afghan culture and people"[271] and strained the relations between Afghanistan and the United States.[264][265] Besides an incident involving US troops who posed with body parts of dead insurgents and a video apparently showing a US helicopter crew singing "bye-bye Miss American Pie" before blasting a group of Afghan men with a Hellfire missile[271][272] these "high-profile US military incidents in Afghanistan"[267] also included the 2012 Afghanistan Quran burning protests and the Panjwai shooting spree.

US Army soldiers boarding a Black Hawk in Nari District, near the Pakistani border, 2012

Karzai visited the US in January 2012. At the time, the US Government stated its openness to withdrawing all of its troops by the end of 2014.[273] On 11 January 2012, Karzai and Obama agreed to transfer combat operations from NATO to Afghan forces by spring 2013 rather than summer 2013.[274][275] "What's going to happen this spring is that Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country", Obama said. "They [ISAF forces] will still be fighting alongside Afghan troops...we will be in a training, assisting, advising role."[275] He also stated the reason of the withdrawals that "We achieved our central goal, or have come very close...which is to de-capacitate al-Qaeda" and making sure that "they can't attack us again."[276] He added that any US mission beyond 2014 would focus solely on counterterrorism operations and training.[276][277]

Troops from the 31st and 33rd Kandak, Afghan National Army, execute a departure for Operation Valley Flood, 2012

In 2012 the leaders of NATO-member countries endorsed an exit strategy during the NATO Summit.[149] ISAF Forces would transfer command of all combat missions to Afghan forces by the middle of 2013,[278] while shifting from combat to advising, training and assisting Afghan security forces.[279][280] Most of the 130,000 ISAF troops would depart by the end of December 2014.[278] A new NATO mission would then assume the support role.[279][281]

Further attempts to resume talks were canceled in March 2012,[282] and June 2013 following a dispute between the Afghan government and the Taliban regarding the latter's opening of a political office in Qatar. President Karzai accused the Taliban of portraying themselves as a government in exile.[283]

On 2 May 2012, Presidents Karzai and Obama signed a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, after the US president had arrived unannounced in Kabul.[284] On 7 July, as part of the agreement, the US designated Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally after Karzai and Clinton met in Kabul.[285] Both leaders agreed that the United States would transfer Afghan prisoners and prisons to the Afghan government[275][286] and withdraw troops from Afghan villages in spring 2013.[286][287]

On 18 June 2013 the transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan forces was completed.[288] ISAF remained slated to end its mission by the end of 2014.[289] Some 100,000 ISAF forces remained in the country.[290]

2014–2015: Withdrawal and increase of insurgency

Resolute Support Colors presented at Kabul on 28 December 2014, after the ISAF colors are encased

The UK and the US officially ended their combat operation in Afghanistan on 26 October 2014. The UK handed over its last base in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion, and the US handed over its last base, Camp Leatherneck, to Afghan forces.[291] Around 500 UK troops remained in "non-combat" roles.[292][293] On 28 December, NATO officially ended combat operations in a ceremony held in Kabul.[294] Continued operations by US forces within Afghanistan were under Operation Freedom's Sentinel;[295] and the new NATO mission was Operation Resolute Support.[296]

The withdrawal of troops did not mean the withdrawal of military presence. As US troops withdrew from Afghanistan, they were replaced by private security companies hired by the United States government and the United Nations. Many of these private security companies (also termed military contractors) consisted of ex-Coalition military personnel. This allowed the US and British to continue to be involved in ground actions without the requirement to station their own forces.[297]

The Taliban began a resurgence due to several factors. The withdrawal of most foreign forces from Afghanistan reduced the risk the Taliban faced of being bombed and raided. In June 2014, the Pakistani military's Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched in the North Waziristan tribal area, dislodged thousands of mainly Uzbek, Arab and Pakistani militants, who flooded into Afghanistan and swelled the Taliban's ranks. The group was further emboldened by the comparative lack of interest from the international community, as attention was given to other world crises, such as Syria, Iraq, or Ukraine. Afghan security forces lacked, among other things, air power and reconnaissance. The political infighting in the central government in Kabul, and the apparent weakness in governance at different levels, were exploited by the Taliban.[298] The Taliban expanded governance in the areas under their control, attempting to build local-level legitimacy.[299] Their governance strategy rested in particular on the provision of justice, which was often viewed as less corrupt than the courts of the government.[300][301]

Heavy fighting occurred in Kunduz Province,[302][303] which was the site of clashes from 2009 onwards. In May 2015, flights into the northern city of Kunduz were suspended due to weeks of clashes between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban outside the city.[304] The intensifying conflict in the Northern Char Dara District within the Kunduz province led the Afghan government to enlist local militia fighters to bolster opposition to the Taliban insurgency.[305] In June, the Taliban intensified attacks around Kunduz city as part of a major offensive in an attempt to capture it;[306][307][308] tens of thousands of inhabitants were displaced internally. The government recaptured the Char Dara district after roughly a month of fighting.[309]

In late September, Taliban forces launched an attack on Kunduz city, seizing several outlying villages and entering the city. The Taliban stormed the regional hospital and clashed with security forces at the nearby university. The fighting saw the Taliban attack from four different districts: Char Dara to the west, Aliabad to the southwest, Khanabad to the east, and Imam Saheb to the north.[310][311] The Taliban took the Zakhel and Ali Khel villages on the highway leading south, which connects the city to Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif through Aliabad district. They reportedly made their largest gains in the southwest of Kunduz, where some armed local communities had started supporting the Taliban.[310] Taliban fighters had allegedly blocked the route to the airport, to prevent civilians fleeing the city.[312] One witness reported that the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security was set on fire.[313] Kunduz was recaptured by Afghan and American forces on 14 October.[citation needed]

In mid-January 2015, the Islamic State caliphate established a branch in Afghanistan called Khorasan (ISKP, or ISIS-K) and began recruiting fighters[314] and clashing with the Taliban.[315][316] It was created after pledging allegiance to the self-assumed worldwide caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[317] On 18 March, Hafiz Wahidi, ISIL's replacement deputy Emir in Afghanistan, was killed by the Afghan Armed Forces, along with 9 other ISIL militants accompanying him.[318]

US Army soldier in Nangarhar Province, 2015

In 2015, the Taliban began an offensive that took over parts of Helmand Province. By June, they had seized control of Dishu and Baghran killing 5,588 Afghan government security forces (3,720 of them were police officers).[319] By the end of July, the Taliban had overrun Nawzad District[320] and on 26 August, the Taliban took control of Musa Qala.[321] In October, Taliban forces had attempted to take Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The Afghan 215th Corps and special operations forces launched a counteroffensive against the Taliban in November,[322] Whilst the assault was repelled, Taliban forces remained dug into the city's suburbs as of December 2015.[323]

On 22 June 2015, the Taliban detonated a car bomb outside the National Assembly in Kabul, and Taliban fighters attacked the building with assault rifles and RPGs.[324][325] The bombing highlighted differences within the Taliban in their approach to peace talks.[326][327]

In July 2015, Pakistan hosted the first official peace talks between Taliban representatives and the Afghan government. U.S. and China attended the talks brokered by Pakistan in Murree as two observers.[328] In January 2016, Pakistan hosted a round of four-way talks with Afghan, Chinese and American officials, but the Taliban did not attend.[329] The Taliban did hold informal talks with the Afghan government in 2016.[330] China's reason for the negotiation was that Afghan security situation affected its own separatist groups, and economic activity with Pakistan. The Taliban declined.[331][332]

On 11 November 2015, it was reported that infighting had broken out between different Taliban factions in Zabul Province. Fighters loyal to the new Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor fought a pro-ISIL splinter faction led by Mullah Mansoor Dadullah. Even though Dadullah's faction enjoyed the support of foreign ISIL fighters, including Uzbeks and Chechens, it was reported that Mansoor's Taliban loyalists had the upper hand. According to Ghulam Jilani Farahi, provincial director of security in Zabul, more than 100 militants from both sides were killed since the fighting broke out.[333] The infighting stifled peace talks.[334][335]

As a result of the infighting, which has resulted in Mansour being consumed with a campaign to quell dissent against his leadership; Sirajuddin Haqqani, chief of the Haqqani Network was selected to become the deputy leader of the Taliban in the summer of 2015, during a leadership struggle within the Taliban. Sirajuddin and other Haqqani leaders increasingly ran the day-to-day military operations for the Taliban, in particular; refining urban terrorist attacks and cultivating a sophisticated international fund-raising network, they also appointed Taliban governors and began uniting the Taliban. As a result, the Haqqani Network is now closely integrated with the Taliban at a leadership level, and is growing in influence within the insurgency, whereas the network was largely autonomous before, and there are concerns that the fighting is going to be deadlier. Tensions with the Pakistani military have also been raised because American and Afghan officials accuse them of sheltering the Haqqanis as a proxy group.[336][337]

TAAC-E advisers in 2015

December 2015 saw a renewed Taliban offensive in Helmand focused on the town of Sangin. The Sangin district fell to the Taliban on 21 December after fierce clashes that killed more than 90 soldiers in two days.[338] It was reported that 30 members of the SAS alongside 60 US special forces operators joined the Afghan Army in the Battle to retake parts of Sangin from Taliban insurgents,[339] in addition, about 300 US troops and a small number of British remained in Helmand to advise Afghan commanders at the corps level.[340][341] Senior American commanders said that the Afghan troops in the province have lacked effective leaders as well as the necessary weapons and ammunition to hold off persistent Taliban attacks. Some Afghan soldiers in Helmand have been fighting in tough conditions for years without a break to see their family, leading to poor morale and high desertion rates.[340]

Numerous peace movements started arising in Afghanistan, including the Tabassum movement in 2015, the Enlightenment Movement during 2016–2017, Uprising for Change in 2017, and the People's Peace Movement in March 2018.[citation needed]

2016-2017: Collapse of peace talks, emergence of Islamic State

In January 2016, the US government sent a directive to the Pentagon which granted new legal authority for the US military to go on the offensive against Militants affiliated with the ISIL-KP, after the State Department announced the designation of ISIS in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a foreign terrorist organization. The number of militants started with around 60 or 70, with most of them coming over the border with Pakistan but eventually[when?] ranged between 1,000 and 3,000 militants.[342] They were mainly defectors from the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban, and were generally confined to Nangarhar Province, and partially, Kunar province.[342][343]

In early February 2016, Taliban insurgents renewed their assault on Sangin, after previously being repulsed in December 2015, launching a string of ferocious attacks on Afghan government forces earlier in the month. As a result, the United States decided to send troops from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, in order to prop up the Afghan 215th Corps in Helmand province, particularly around Sangin, joining US special operations forces already in the area.[344][345][346][347][348] On 14 March 2016, Khanneshin District in Helmand Province fell to the Taliban; and district by district, Afghan troops were retreating back to urban centers in Helmand.[332][348] In early April 2016, 600 Afghan troops launched a major offensive to retake Taliban-occupied areas in and around Sangin.[349] An Afghan army offensive to retake the town of Khanisheen was repelled by the Taliban, and desertions from the army in the area were rife.[350]

Despite US airstrikes, militants besieged Lashkar Gah, reportedly controlling all roads leading to the city and areas a few kilometres away. The US stepped up airstrikes in support of Afghan ground forces. Afghan forces in the city were reported as "exhausted", whilst police checkpoints around the capital were falling one by one. Meanwhile, the Taliban sent a new elite commando force into Helmand called "Sara Khitta" in Pashto.[351][352][353] Afghan security forces beat back attacks by Taliban fighters encroaching on Chah-e-Anji nearby Lashkar Gah; Afghan special forces backed by US airstrikes battled increasingly well-armed and disciplined Taliban militants. An Afghan special forces commander said "The Taliban have heavily armed, uniformed units that are equipped with night vision and modern weapons."[354]

On 10 March 2016, officials said that the Taliban clashed with a Taliban splinter group (led by Muhammad Rasul) in the Shindand district of Herat, and up to 100 militants were killed.[334][335]

In April 2016, President Ashraf Ghani "pulled the plug" on the Afghan governments failing effort to start peace talks with the Taliban.[355] Additionally, due to the integration of Haqqani Networks into the Taliban leadership, it would become harder for peace talks to take place.[336][337] Although leader of the Taliban, Haibatullah Akhundzada, said a peace agreement was possible if the government in Kabul renounced its foreign allies.[356]

On 23 July 2016, Afghan and US forces began an offensive to clear Nangarhar province of Islamic State militants hours after the Kabul bombing, the operation was dubbed "Wrath of the Storm" involving both Afghan regular army and special forces and is the Afghan army's first major strategic offensive of the summer. The estimated size of the ISIL-KP in January 2016 was around 3,000, but by July, the number had been reduced to around 1,000 to 1,500, with 70% of its fighters coming from the TTP.[357][358][359]

As of July 2016, Time magazine estimated that at least 20% of Afghanistan was under Taliban control with southernmost Helmand Province as major stronghold,[360] while General Nicholson stated that Afghan official armed forces' casualties had risen 20 percent compared to 2015.[357] On 22 August, the US announced that 100 US troops were sent to Lashkar Gah to help prevent the Taliban from overrunning it, in what Brigadier General Charles Cleveland called a "temporary effort" to advise the Afghan police.[361]

On 22 September 2016, the Afghan government signed a draft peace deal with Hezb-i-Islami.[362][363]

Green Berets of the 10th SFG memorialize two comrades who were killed in action during the Battle of Boz Qandahari in 2016

On 31 December 2016, the Taliban continued their assault on the province with attacks on Sangin and Marjah districts.[364] Some estimated suggest the Taliban had retaken more than 80% of Helmand province.[365]

In early January 2017, the Marine Corps Times reported that Afghan forces seek to rebuild, following an exhausting 2016 fighting season; 33 districts, spread across 16 Afghan provinces, were under insurgent control whilst 258 were under government control and nearly 120 districts remained "contested."[365] According to an inspector general, the Afghan army comprises about 169,000 soldiers, but in 2016, they suffered a 33 percent attrition rate—a 7 percent increase from 2015.[365]

In early March 2017, American and Afghan forces launched Operation Hamza to "flush" ISIS-K from its stronghold in eastern Afghanistan, engaging in regular ground battles.[366] In April 2017, NATO spokesman Captain Bill Salvin said that Afghan and international forces had reduced ISIS-K controlled territory in Afghanistan by two-thirds and had killed around half their fighters in the previous two years. Since the beginning of 2017, 460 airstrikes against terrorists (with drone strikes alone killing more than 200 IS militants); he added that the affiliate has an estimated 600–800 fighters in two eastern Afghan provinces.[367]

On 23 March 2017, Sangin district was captured by the Taliban, as they had overrun the district center of the town of Sangin. During the earlier phase of the war, almost a quarter of British casualties were caused by fighting for the town, while more recently hundreds of Afghan troops died defending it.[368][369] On 29 April, the US deployed an additional 5,000 Marines to the Southern Helmand Province.[370]

USAF pilots fly a CH-47 Chinook in Nangarhar, 2017

On 21 April 2017, the Taliban attacked Camp Shaheen near Mazar-e-Sharif, killing over 140 Afghan soldiers.[371][372][373]

On 15 September 2017, the New York Times reported that the CIA was seeking authority to conduct its own drone strikes in Afghanistan and other war zones, according to current and former intelligence and military officials, and that the change in authority was being considered by the White House as part of the new strategy despite concerns by the Pentagon.[374] On 19 September, the Trump Administration deployed another 3,000 US troops to Afghanistan. They would add to the approximately 11,000 US troops already serving in Afghanistan, bringing the total to at least 14,000 US troops stationed in the country.[375] On 4 October, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved a change in rules of engagement as part of the new strategy so that there is no longer a requirement for US troops to be in contact with enemy forces in Afghanistan before opening fire.[376]

On 20 November 2017, General John Nicholson announced that US aircraft were targeting drug production facilities in Afghanistan under a new strategy aimed at cutting off Taliban funding, saying that the Taliban was "becoming a criminal organization" that was earning about $200 million a year from drug-related activities. President Ashraf Ghani strongly endorsed the new campaign of US and Afghan airstrikes against the Taliban-run narcotic centers.[377]

2018–2019: Peace overtures

Map showing insurgent (white) and government-controlled (red) areas of Afghanistan in January 2019.

In January 2018, the Taliban were openly active in 70% of the country (being in full control of 14 districts and have an active and open physical presence in a further 263) and the Islamic State was more active in the country than ever before. Following recent attacks by the Taliban (including the Kabul ambulance bombing on 27 January) and Islamic State that killed scores of civilians, President Trump and Afghan officials decided to rule out any talks with the Taliban.[378] However, on 27 February, following an increase in violence, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed unconditional peace talks with the Taliban, offering them recognition as a legal political party and the release of the Taliban prisoners. The offer was the most favorable to the Taliban since the war started. It was preceded by months of national consensus building, which found that Afghans overwhelmingly supported a negotiated end to the war.[379][380] Two days earlier, the Taliban had called for talks with the US.[381] On 27 March, a conference of 20 countries in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, backed the Afghan government's peace offer.[382] The Taliban did not publicly respond to the offer.[citation needed]

Following Ghani's offer of unconditional peace talks with the Taliban, a growing peace movement arose in Afghanistan during 2018, particularly following a peace march by the People's Peace Movement,[383] which the Afghan media dubbed the "Helmand Peace Convoy."[384][385] The marchers walked several hundred kilometers from Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, through Taliban-held territory,[386] to Kabul. There they met Ghani, and held sit-in protests outside the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and nearby embassies.[387] Their efforts inspired further movements in other parts of Afghanistan.[388] Following the march, Ghani and the Taliban agreed a mutual, unprecedented, ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in June. During the ceasefire, Taliban members flocked into Kabul, where they met and communicated with locals and state security forces. Creating a mood of both hope and fear, many civilians welcomed the Taliban and spoke about peace.[389] Although civilians called for the ceasefire to be made permanent, the Taliban rejected an extension and resumed fighting after the ceasefire ended on 18 June, while the Afghan government's ceasefire ended a week later.[390][391][392]

US, British and Afghan security forces train together in an aerial reaction force exercise at Camp Qargha in Kabul, 2018

American officials had secretly met members of the Taliban's political commission in Qatar in July 2018.[393] In September 2018, Trump appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as special adviser on Afghanistan in the US State Department, with the stated goal of facilitating an intra-Afghan political peace process.[394] Khalilzad led further talks between the US and the Taliban in Qatar in October.[395] Russia hosted a separate peace talk in November between the Taliban and officials from Afghanistan's High Peace Council.[396] The talks in Qatar resumed in December,[397] though the Taliban refused to allow the Afghan government to be invited,[398] considering them a puppet government of the US.[399] The Taliban spoke with Afghans including former President Karzai at a hotel in Moscow in February 2019, but again these talks did not include the Afghan government.[400]

In July 2018 the Taliban carried out the Darzab offensive and captured Darzab District following the surrender of ISIL-K to the Afghan Government. In August the Taliban launched a series of offensives, the largest being the Ghazni offensive. During the Ghazni offensive, the Taliban seized Ghazni, Afghanistan's sixth-largest city for several days but eventually retreated.[401][402]

On 25 January 2019, Ghani said that more than 45,000 members of the Afghan security forces had been killed since he became president in 2014. He also said that there had been fewer than 72 international casualties during the same period.[403] A January 2019 report by the US government estimated that 53.8% of Afghanistan's districts were controlled or influenced by the government, with 33.9% contested and 12.3% under insurgent control or influence.[404]

On 30 April 2019, Afghan government forces undertook clearing operations directed against both ISIS-K and the Taliban in eastern Nangarhar Province, after the two groups fought for over a week over a group of villages in an area of illegal talc mining. The National Directorate of Security claimed 22 ISIS-K fighters were killed and two weapons caches destroyed, while the Taliban claimed Afghan forces killed seven civilians.[405] On 28 July, Ghani's running mate Amrullah Saleh's office was attacked by a suicide bomber and a few militants. At least 20 people were killed, and 50 injured; Saleh was among those injured.[406]

By August, the Taliban controlled more territory than at any point since 2001.[407] Attempted peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban failed in September.[408]

On 25 February 2019, peace talks began between the Taliban and the United States in Qatar, with the Taliban co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar notably present.[399] Peace negotiations had resumed in December.[409] This round of talks resulted in a seven-day partial ceasefire which began on 22 February 2020.[410]

2020: US-Taliban deal, beginning of US withdrawaal

US representative Zalmay Khalilzad (left) and Taliban representative Abdul Ghani Baradar (right) sign the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan on 29 February 2020

On 29 February, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a conditional peace deal in Doha, Qatar,[411] that called for a prisoner exchange within ten days and was supposed to lead to US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months.[83][412] However, the Afghan government was not a party to the deal, and, in a press conference the next day, President Ghani criticized the deal for being "signed behind closed doors." He said the Afghan government had "made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners" and that such an action "is not the United States' authority, but it is the authority of the government of Afghanistan."[413][414][84][415]

After signing the agreement with the United States, the Taliban resumed offensive operations against the Afghan army and police on 3 March, conducting attacks in Kunduz and Helmand provinces.[416] On 4 March, the United States retaliated by launching an air strike against Taliban fighters in Helmand.[417] Despite the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban, insurgent attacks against Afghan security forces were reported to have surged in the country. In the 45 days after the agreement (between 1 March and 15 April), the Taliban conducted more than 4,500 attacks in Afghanistan, which showed an increase of more than 70% as compared to the same period in the previous year.[418] More than 900 Afghan security forces were killed in the period, up from about 520 in the same period a year earlier. Because of a significant reduction in the number of offensives and airstrikes by Afghan and US forces against the Taliban due to the agreement, Taliban casualties dropped to 610 in the period down from about 1,660 in the same period a year earlier.[418] Meanwhile, ISIS-K continued to be a threat on its own, killing 32 people in a mass shooting in Kabul on 6 March,[419] killing 25 Sikh worshippers in Kabul on 25 March,[420] and a series of attacks in May most notably killing 16 mothers and newborn babies in Kabul.[421]

On the diplomatic front, on 31 March 2020 a three-person Taliban delegation arrived in Kabul to discuss the release of prisoners,[422][423] the first Taliban representatives to visit Kabul since 2001.[422] On 7 April, the Taliban departed from the prisoner swap talks, which Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said was unsuccessful.[424][425] Shaheen also stated in a tweet that hours after walking out of the talks, the Taliban's negotiating team was recalled from Kabul.[425] The Taliban failed to secure the release of any of the 15 commanders they sought to be released.[424] Arguments over which prisoners to swap resulted in a delay of the planned prisoner swap.[424] After a long delay due to disputes regarding prisoners' releases, the Afghan government had by August released 5,100 prisoners,[426] and the Taliban had released 1,000.[427] However, the Afghan government refused to release 400 prisoners from the list of those the Taliban wanted to be released, because those 400 were accused of serious crimes.[428] President Ghani stated that he did not have the constitutional authority to release them, so he convened a loya jirga from 7 to 9 August to discuss the issue.[429] The jirga agreed to free the 400 remaining prisoners.[428] Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha on 12 September.[430]

On 22 June, Afghanistan reported its "bloodiest week in 19 years", during which 291 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were killed and 550 others wounded in 422 attacks carried out by the Taliban. At least 42 civilians, including women and children, were also killed and 105 others wounded.[431] During the week, the Taliban kidnapped 60 civilians in the central province of Daykundi.[432]

2021: End of US withdrawal, last Taliban offensive

The Taliban insurgency intensified considerably in 2021 coinciding with the withdrawal of United States and allied troops from Afghanistan.[433] Since the US withdrawal, the number of casualties of women in the Afghanistan conflict rose by almost 40% in the first quarter of 2021 alone.[434]

On March 6, Afghanistan's President Ghani expressed that his government would be taking forward peace talks with the Taliban, discussing with the insurgent group about holding fresh elections and forming a government in a democratic manner.[435] On April 13, the Biden administration announced that it would withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by September 11, on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.[436] The US government also reiterated support for the Afghan government regarding a possible Taliban military victory.[437]

A map of Afghanistan showing the 2021 Taliban offensive

The Taliban began its last major offensive on 1 May, culminating in the fall of Kabul, a Taliban victory, and the end of war.[438][439][440] In the first three months of the offensive, the Taliban made significant territorial gains in the countryside, increasing the number of districts it controlled from 73 to 223.[441]

On July 5, the Taliban announced their intention to present a written peace plan to the Afghan Government in August but as of August 13, this had not been done.[442][443] Sources claimed that on August 12, Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, handed in a plan titled "exiting the crisis" which was shared with the Taliban; it called for the creation of a "joint government."[444] On August 15, following the Taliban offensive and the fall of the capital Kabul, the Taliban occupied the Presidential Palace after the incumbent President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to Tajikistan.[445][446] NATO forces maintain a presence in Kabul.[446][447]

The Taliban gained control of various towns throughout June and July. On 6 August, they captured the first provincial capital of Zaranj. Over the next ten days, they swept across the country, capturing capital after capital. On 14 August, Mazar-i-Sharif was captured as commanders Rashid Dostum and Atta Nur fled across the border to Uzbekistan, cutting Kabul's vital northern supply route.[448]

Taliban fighters in Kabul, 17 August 2021

On 15 August, Jalalabad fell, cutting the only remaining international route through the Khyber Pass.[448] By noon, Taliban forces advanced from the Paghman district reaching the gates of Kabul; Ghani discussed the city's protection with security ministers, while sources claimed a unity peace agreement with the Taliban was imminent. However, Ghani was unable to reach top officials in the interior and defense ministries, and several high-profile politicians had already hurried to the airport. By 2 p.m., the Taliban had entered the city facing no resistance; the president soon fled by helicopter from the Presidential Palace, and within hours Taliban fighters were pictured sitting at Ghani's desk in the palace.[449] With the virtual collapse of the republic, the war was declared over by the Taliban on the same day.[450]

As the Taliban seized control, the need to evacuate populations vulnerable to the Taliban, including the interpreters and assistants who had worked with the coalition forces, ethnic minorities, and women, became urgent. For more than two weeks, international diplomatic, military and civilian staff, as well as Afghan civilians, were airlifted out the country from Hamid Karzai International Airport. On 16 August Major General Hank Taylor confirmed that US air strikes had ended at least 24 hours earlier and that the focus of the US military at that point was maintaining security at the airport as evacuations continued.[451] The final flight, a US Air Force C-17, departed at 3:29 p.m. ET, 11:59 p.m. in Kabul time, on 30 August, marking the end of the American campaign in Afghanistan.[452] This marked the end of America's longest war.[87][453][454][455]



Victims of the Narang night raid that killed at least 10 Afghan civilians, December 2009

According to the Costs of War Project at Brown University, the war killed 46,319 Afghan civilians in Afghanistan. However, the death toll is possibly higher due to unaccounted deaths by "disease, loss of access to food, water, infrastructure, and/or other indirect consequences of the war."[88] A report titled Body Count put together by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) concluded that 106,000–170,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting in Afghanistan at the hands of all parties to the conflict.[456]

The majority of civilian casualties were attributed to anti-government elements each year, though the figure varied from 61% to 80%, with the average hovering around 75% due to the Taliban and other anti-government elements.[457][458][459][460][461] The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) started publishing civilian casualty figures in 2008. These figures attribute approximately 41% of civilian casualties to government aligned forces in 2008; this percentage lowers to approximately 18% in 2015.[462]

A prospective study of injuries caused by anti-personnel IEDs was reported in BMJ Open. It showed the injuries to be far worse with IEDs than with landmines, causing multiple limb amputations and lower body mutilation.[463] In an accompanying press release, BMJ considered the anti-personnel IED to cause 'superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering'. Use of weapons that cause superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering is considered a war crime.[464]

Civilian deaths caused by non-Afghan Coalition forces were low later in the war after most foreign troops were withdrawn and the coalition shifted to airstrikes. For example, in 2015 pro-government forces caused 17% of civilian deaths and injuries – including United States and NATO troops, which were responsible for only 2% of the casualties.[465] 2016 had a similar 2% figure. Civilian deaths were higher as well in the latter part of the war, with 2015 and 2016 both consecutively breaking the record of annual civilian deaths according to the UN.[466]


Foreign donated clothing being handed out by an Afghan civil officer to children at a refugee camp, 2011

Millions of Afghans have been internally displaced or become refugees as a result of decades of conflict in Afghanistan since 1979. From 2002 to 2012, more than 5.7 million former refugees returned to Afghanistan, increasing the country's population by 25%.[467][468] 2.6 million Afghans remained refugees in 2021 when the Taliban took over,[90][469] while another 4 million were internally displaced.[90] Following the Taliban takeover, over 122,000 people were airlifted abroad from Kabul airport, during the evacuation from Afghanistan, including Afghans, American citizens, and other foreign citizens.[470]

War crimes

Afghan boy murdered on 15 January 2010 by a group of US Army soldiers called the Kill Team

War crimes have been committed by both sides including civilian massacres, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism, use of torture and the murder of prisoners of war. Additional common crimes include theft, arson, and destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.

The Taliban committed war crimes during the war including massacres, suicide bombing, anti-personnel IED use, terrorism, and targeting civilians (such as using human shields).[471][472] In 2011, The New York Times reported that the Taliban was responsible for 34 of all civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan.[473][474] United Nations reports have consistently blamed the Taliban and other anti-government forces for the majority of civilian deaths in the conflict.[466][457][475] Other crimes include mass rape and executing surrendered soldiers.[476][477]

War crimes committed by the Coalition, Afghan security forces, and Northern Alliance included massacres, prisoner mistreatment, and killings of civilians. Amnesty International accused the Pentagon of covering up evidence related to war crimes, torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan.[478] Notable incidents include the Dasht-i-Leili massacre,[479] Bagram torture and prisoner abuse,[480] Kandahar massacre,[481] among others.

In 2020, the International Criminal Court investigation in Afghanistan formally commenced, investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by all parties in Afghanistan since 1 May 2013.[482] On 22 March 2023, the British government launched a public inquiry to investigate reports of alleged unlawful killings by UKSF personnel during the War in Afghanistan.[483] Judge Charles Haddon-Cave chairs the public inquiry.[484]

Drug trade

In 2000, Afghanistan accounted for an estimated 75% of the world's opium supply,[485] which was the Taliban's largest source of revenue through taxes on opium exports.[486] Mullah Omar banned opium cultivation in 2001,[487] which observers said was an attempt to gain international recognition, raise opium prices and increase profit from the sale of large existing stockpiles.[486] Opium production increased in the years following the October 2001 invasion, with Afghanistan producing 90% of the world's opium by 2005.[488] According to a 2018 SIGAR report, the US had spent $8.6 billion since 2002 to stop Afghanistan's drug trade. A May 2021 SIGAR report estimated that the Taliban earned 60% of their revenue from the trade, while UN officials estimated more than $400 million was earned by the Taliban between 2018 and 2019, however other experts estimated that the Taliban earned at most $40 million annually.[489]

NATO's inability to stabilize Afghanistan

Observers have argued that the mission in Afghanistan was hampered by a lack of agreement on objectives, a lack of resources, lack of coordination, too much focus on the central government at the expense of local and provincial governments, and too much focus on the country instead of the region.[490]

Environment and drug trade

According to Cara Korte, climate change played a significant role in increasing instability in Afghanistan and strengthening the Taliban. More than 60% of the Afghan population depend on agriculture and Afghanistan is the sixth most vulnerable country to climate change in the world according to the United Nations Environment Program and Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency. The Taliban used resentment over government inaction to climate change-induced drought and flooding to strengthen its support and Afghans were able to earn more money supporting the Taliban than from farming.[491]

Despite efforts to eradicate poppy, Afghanistan remained the world's largest producer of illicit opiate by the end of the war. The Taliban profited at least tens of millions of dollars from opium and heroin annually as of 2018.[492]

Early mistakes and the US's other war

Journalist Jason Burke notes "strategic mistakes by the US and allies in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 invasion" as being a reason why the war went on for so long. He also noted "missed early opportunities" to "construct a stable political settlement."[493]

Steve Coll believes that "No small part of N.A.T.O.'s ultimate failure to stabilize Afghanistan flowed from the disastrous decision by George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003. ... The Taliban's comeback, America's initial inattention to it, and the attraction for some Afghans and Pakistanis of the Taliban's ideology of national resistance under Islamic principles—all these sources of failure cannot be understood in isolation from the Iraq war." Coll further notes that neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations achieved consensus on key questions such as the relative importance of nation-building versus counterterrorism, whether the stability of Afghanistan took priority over that of Pakistan, or the role of the drug trade, although "the failure to solve the riddle of ISI and to stop its covert interference in Afghanistan became ... the greatest strategic failure of the American war."[494]

Domestic corruption and politics

Presidents Hamid Karzai and Barack Obama in 2009

In 2009, Afghanistan was ranked as the world's second most-corrupt country.[495] A lengthy report by SIGAR, and other findings, found that spiraling corruption in Afghanistan during the 2000s was not halted by the United States. During this time, many elite figures in the country had effectively become kleptocrats, while ordinary Afghans were struggling.[492]

It has been argued that the restoration of monarchy in Afghanistan should not have been vetoed, as this may have provided stability to the country.[496][497][498][499]

Influence of non-NATO actors

Pakistan played a central role in the conflict. A 2010 report published by the London School of Economics says that Pakistan's ISI has an "official policy" of support to the Taliban.[500] "Pakistan appears to be playing a double-game of astonishing magnitude", the report states.[500] Regarding the Afghan War documents leak, Der Spiegel wrote that "the documents clearly show that the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (usually known as the ISI) is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan."[501] Amrullah Saleh, former director of Afghanistan's intelligence service, stated, "We talk about all these proxies [Taliban, Haqqanis] but not the master of proxies, which is the Pakistan army. The question is what does Pakistan's army want to achieve ...? They want to gain influence in the region."[502] Pakistan's role can be traced back to the Soviet war in which they funded the Mujahideen against the Soviets. Pakistan's objective then as it is now is to ensure that Afghanistan has a regime friendly to their interests and will provide "geopolitical depth in any future conflict with India."[503]

Iran also sought to influence the war. During the course of the war, the US took out two of Iran's regional enemies: Saddam Hussein through the Iraq War as well as the Taliban. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are other 'dominant players' that influenced the war. Iran and the Taliban formed ties, with Russian assistance as well, to 'bleed' the American force. Iran and Russia, emboldened by their alliance in the Syrian Civil War, initiated a 'proxy war' in Afghanistan against the US. The Taliban received economic support from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Pakistan has given economic support and encouraged increased Iran-Taliban ties.[504]

China has been quietly expanding its influence. Since 2010 China has signed mining contracts with Kabul[505] and is building a military base in Badakshan to counter regional terrorism (from the ETIM).[506] China has donated billions of dollars in aid over the years to Afghanistan, which plays a strategic role in the Belt and Road Initiative.[506] Additionally, after 2011 Pakistan expanded its economic and military ties to China as a hedge against dependency on the US. Coll observes that "Overall, the war left China with considerable latitude in Central Asia, without having made any expenditure of blood, treasure, or reputation."[507]

American public misleading

In December 2019 The Washington Post published 2,000 pages of government documents, mostly transcripts of interviews with more than 400 key figures involved in prosecuting the Afghanistan war. According to the Post and The Guardian, the documents (dubbed the Afghanistan Papers) showed that US officials consistently and deliberately misled the American public about the unwinnable nature of the conflict,[508] and some commentators and foreign policy experts subsequently drew comparisons to the release of the Pentagon Papers.[508][509]

Foreign support for the Taliban


The Taliban's victory was facilitated in support from Pakistan. Although Pakistan was a major US ally before and after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, elements of the Pakistan government (including the military and intelligence services) have for decades maintained strong logistical and tactical ties with Taliban militants, and this support helped support the insurgency in Afghanistan.[510][511] For example, the Haqqani Network, a Taliban affiliate based on Pakistan, had strong support from Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistan intelligence agency.[510] Taliban leaders found a safe haven in Pakistan, lived in the country, transacted business and earned funds there, and received medical treatment there.[510][511] Some elements of the Pakistani establishment sympathized with Taliban ideology, and many Pakistan officials considered the Taliban as an asset against India.[510][511] Bruce Riedel noted that "The Pakistan Army believes Afghanistan provides strategic depth against India, which is their obsession."[511]

Russia and Iran

In the initial aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Iranian forces, led by Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Suleimani initially cooperated, secretly, with American officials against Al-Qaeda operatives and the Taliban, but that cooperation ended after the Axis of Evil Speech on January 29, 2002, which included calling Iran a major state sponsor of terror and threat to peace in the region. Afterwards, Iranian forces became increasingly hostile to American forces in the region.[141]

Antonio Giustozzi, a senior research fellow at Royal United Services Institute on terrorism and conflict, wrote, "Both the Russians and the Iranians helped the Taliban advance at a breakneck pace in May–August 2021. They contributed to funding and equipping them, but perhaps even more importantly they helped them by brokering deals with parties, groups, and personalities close to either country, or even both. […] The Revolutionary Guards helped the Taliban's advance in western Afghanistan, including by lobbying various strongmen and militia commanders linked to Iran not to resist the Taliban."[512]


Domestic reactions

A US marine interacting with Afghan children in Helmand Province

In November 2001, the CNN reported widespread relief amongst Kabul's residents after the Taliban fled the city, with young men shaving off their beards and women taking off their burqas.[513] Later that month the BBC's longtime Kabul correspondent Kate Clark reported that "almost all women in Kabul are still choosing to veil" but that many felt hopeful that the ousting of the Taliban would improve their safety and access to food.[514]

A 2006 WPO opinion poll found that the majority of Afghans endorsed America's military presence, with 83% of Afghans stating that they had a favorable view of the US military forces in their country. Only 17% gave an unfavorable view. 82% of Afghans, among all ethnic groups including Pashtuns, stated that the overthrowing of the Taliban was a good thing. However, the majority of Afghans held negative views on Pakistan and most Afghans also stated that they believe that the Pakistani government was allowing the Taliban to operate from its soil.[515]

A 2015 survey by Langer Research Associates found that 80% of Afghans held the view that it was a good thing for the United States to overthrow the Taliban in 2001. More Afghans blamed the Taliban or al-Qaeda for the country's violence (53%) than those who blame the US (12%).[516] A 2019 survey by The Asia Foundation found that 13.4% of Afghans had sympathy for the Taliban while 85.1% of respondents had no sympathy for the group. 88.6% of urban residents had no sympathy compared to 83.9% of rural residents.[517]

International public opinion

22 June 2007 demonstration in Québec City against the Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan

In October 2001 when the invasion began, polls indicated that about 88% of Americans and about 65% of Britons backed military action.[518] An Ipsos-Reid poll conducted between November and December 2001 showed that majorities in Canada (66%), France (60%), Germany (60%), Italy (58%), and the UK (65%) approved of US airstrikes while majorities in Argentina (77%), China (52%), South Korea (50%), Spain (52%), and Turkey (70%) opposed them.[519]

In 2008 there was a strong opposition to war in Afghanistan in 21 of 24 countries surveyed. Only in the US and Great Britain did half the people support the war, with a larger percentage (60%) in Australia.[520] Of the seven NATO countries in the survey, not one showed a majority in favor of keeping NATO troops in Afghanistan – one, the US, came close to a majority (50%). Of the other six NATO countries, five had majorities of their population wanting NATO troops removed from Afghanistan as soon as possible.[520] An April 2011 Pew Research Center poll showed little change in American views, with about 50% saying that the effort was going very well or fairly well and only 44% supporting NATO troop presence in Afghanistan.[521]

Protests, demonstrations and rallies

The war was the subject of large protests around the world, starting with the large-scale demonstrations in the days leading up to the invasion and every year since. Many protesters considered the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan to be unjustified aggression.[522] Dozens of organizations held a national march for peace in Washington, D.C., on 20 March 2010.[523]


Formation of the Taliban government and international recognition

Taliban fighters at a market in Kabul, September 2021. A vendor selling Islamic Emirate flags can be seen.

On 7 September 2021, an interim government headed by Mohammad Hassan Akhund as Prime Minister was declared by the Taliban.[524]

Republican insurgency

On 17 August 2021, Vice President Saleh, citing provisions of the Constitution of Afghanistan, declared himself President of Afghanistan from a base of operations in the Panjshir Valley, which had not been taken by Taliban forces, and vowed to continue military operations against the Taliban from there.[525] His claim to the presidency was endorsed by Ahmad Massoud and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Minister of Defence Bismillah Khan Mohammadi.[525] By 6 September the Taliban had regained control over most of the valley, but armed resistance continued in the upper valleys. Clashes in the valley mostly ceased by mid-September.[526] The leaders of the resistance, Saleh and Massoud reportedly fled to neighboring Tajikistan in late September.[527] However, fighting between Taliban and pro-republican forces continued in other provinces. Several regions had become the site of a guerrilla campaign by early 2022.[528] The NRF launched an offensive in May 2022, reportedly retaking territory in Panjshir.[529] Other pro-republican rebel groups also emerged, including the "Ahmad Khan Samangani Front",[530] "Afghan Freedom Front",[531] "Afghanistan Islamic National & Liberation Movement", and several smaller factions.[532]

Islamic State activity

Following the 2021 Kabul airport attack conducted by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (a branch of the ISIL), the US said it could work with the Taliban to fight against the ISIS terrorists as part of the International military intervention against ISIL.[533]

Abandonment of Afghan allies

As many as 150,000 Afghans who assisted the United States remained in Afghanistan, including individuals who worked closely with US military forces.[534] Hundreds of former Afghan special forces who fought alongside British troops in Afghanistan have been barred from resettling in the UK.[535][536] One former UK Special Forces officer told the BBC that "At a time when certain actions by UK Special Forces are under investigation by a public inquiry, their headquarters also had the power to prevent former Afghan Special Forces colleagues and potential witnesses to these actions from getting safely to the UK."[537]

Humanitarian crisis

Following the Taliban takeover, western nations suspended humanitarian aid and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund also halted payments to Afghanistan.[538][539] The Biden administration froze about $9 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central banks, blocking the Taliban from accessing billions of dollars held in US bank accounts.[540] In October 2021, the UN stated that more than half of Afghanistan's 39 million people faced an acute food shortage.[541] On 11 November 2021, the Human Rights Watch reported that Afghanistan is facing widespread famine due to collapsed economy and broken banking system.[539] World leaders pledged $1.2 billion in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.[540] On 22 December 2021, The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a US-proposed resolution to help humanitarian aid reach desperate Afghans, while seeking to keep funds out of Taliban hands.[542]

On 29 August 2022, U.N. humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, warned about Afghanistan's deepening poverty with 6 million people at risk of famine. He stated that conflict, poverty, climate shocks and food insecurity "have long been a sad reality" in Afghanistan, but almost a year after the Taliban takeover, halt to large-scale development aid have made the situation critical.[543]

See also


  1. ^ Bordering areas of Pakistan were also affected (War in North-West Pakistan), and was considered for some time to be a single theater of operations by the United States (AfPak)


  1. ^ "Operation Enduring Freedom Fast Facts". CNN. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. ^ Crosby, Ron (2009). NZSAS: The First Fifty Years. Viking. ISBN 978-0-67-007424-2.
  3. ^ "News – Resolute Support Mission". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  4. ^ "The elite force who are ready to die". The Guardian. 27 October 2001.
  5. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1472807908, p.48
  6. ^ "ISAF's mission in Afghanistan (2001-2014)".
  7. ^ "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures" (PDF).
  8. ^ Multiple Sources:
  9. ^ a b "Local Officials Criticized for Silence on Shindand Strike". TOLOnews. 11 January 2020.
  10. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cia-backed-afghan-militias-fight-a-shadow-war/2015/12/02/fe5a0526-913f-11e5-befa-99ceebcbb272_story.html
  11. ^ The Taliban's new leadership is allied with al Qaeda, The Long War Journal, 31 July 2015
  12. ^ Hardaha, Rashi (24 July 2021). "Al-Qaeda operates under Taliban protection: UN report". www.indiatvnews.com. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Taliban storm Kunduz city". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Central Asian groups split over leadership of global jihad". The Long War Journal. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Who is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi?". VOA News. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  16. ^ "ISIS 'Outsources' Terror Attacks to the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan: U.N. Report". Newsweek. 15 August 2017.
  17. ^ Multiple Sources:
  18. ^ Patrikarakos, David (25 August 2021). "Iran is an immediate winner of the Taliban takeover | The Spectator". www.spectator.co.uk.
  19. ^ Multiple Sources:
  20. ^ Jamal, Umair (23 May 2020). "Understanding Pakistan's Take on India-Taliban Talks". The Diplomat.
  21. ^ Farmer, Ben (26 August 2020). "Pakistan urges Taliban to get on with Afghan government talks". The National.
  22. ^ Multiple Sources:
  23. ^ Noorzai, Roshan; Sahinkaya, Ezel; Gul Sarwan, Rahim (3 July 2020). "Afghan Lawmakers: Russian Support to Taliban No Secret". VOA.
  24. ^ "Russian ambassador denies Moscow supporting Taliban". Reuters. 25 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Saudis Bankroll Taliban, Even as King Officially Supports Afghan Government". The New York Times. 12 June 2016.
  26. ^ Ramani, Samuel (7 September 2017). "What's Behind Saudi Arabia's Turn Away From the Taliban?". thediplomat.com.
  27. ^ "Qatar's Dirty Hands". National Review. 3 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Saudi has evidence Qatar supports Taliban: Envoy". Pajhwok Afghan News. 7 August 2017.
  29. ^ "China offered Afghan militants bounties to attack US soldiers: reports". Deutsche Welle. 31 December 2020.
  30. ^ Gittleson, Ben (1 January 2021). "US investigating unconfirmed intel that China offered bounties on American troops". ABC7 San Francisco. A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, on Thursday denied the accusation, calling it a "smear and slander against China" that was "completely nonsense" and "fake news."
  31. ^ Rod Nordland (19 May 2012). "In Afghanistan, New Group Begins Campaign of Terror". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  32. ^ a b Seldin, Jeff (18 November 2017). "Afghan Officials: Islamic State Fighters Finding Sanctuary in Afghanistan". VOA News. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  33. ^ "A look at the Islamic State affiliate's rise in Afghanistan". AP NEWS. 19 August 2019.
  34. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Katzenberg, Lauren (30 August 2021). "The U.S. military finishes its evacuation, and an era ends in Afghanistan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  35. ^ Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America's longest war August 30, 2021. AP News.
  36. ^ Multiple sources:
  37. ^ Khan, Tahir (16 May 2021). "Rebel Taliban leader dies of injuries days after attack". Daily Times.
  38. ^ "'Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead'". The Express Tribune. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  39. ^ a b "Mullah Najibullah: Too Radical for the Taliban". Newsweek. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  40. ^ "Who Is the New Leader of Islamic State-Khorasan Province?". Lawfare. 2 September 2020.
  41. ^ Shalizi, Hamid (7 April 2018). "Afghan air strike kills Islamic State commander" – via www.reuters.com.
  42. ^ "ISAF's mission in Afghanistan (2001-2014)". NATO. 30 May 2022. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  43. ^ "July 30, 2021 Quarterly Report to Congress" (PDF). Sigar. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
  44. ^ "NATO AND AFGHANISTAN RSM Placemats Archive". NATO. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  45. ^ Peters, Heidi (22 February 2021). "Department of Defense Contractor and Troop Levels in Afghanistan and Iraq: 2007-2020" (PDF). Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  46. ^ Matthew DuPée (January 2018). "Red on Red: Analyzing Afghanistan's Intra-Insurgency Violence". Combating Terrorism Center. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  47. ^ Mujib Mashal (31 December 2018). "C.I.A.'s Afghan Forces Leave a Trail of Abuse and Anger". The New York Times.
  48. ^ Julia Hollingsworth. "Who are the Taliban and how did they take control of Afghanistan so swiftly?". CNN. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  49. ^ Rassler, Don; Vahid Brown (14 July 2011). "The Haqqani Nexus and the Evolution of al-Qaida" (PDF). Harmony Program. Combating Terrorism Center. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  50. ^ "Sirajuddin Haqqani dares US to attack N Waziristan". Tribune. Reuters. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  51. ^ Perlez, Jane (14 December 2009). "Rebuffing U.S., Pakistan Balks at Crackdown". The New York Times.
  52. ^ "Afghanistan after the Western Drawdown". Google books. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  53. ^ a b c "In Afghanistan, al-Qaeda is working more closely with the Taliban, Pentagon says". The Washington Post. 6 May 2016.
  54. ^ Bill Roggio (26 April 2011). "How many al Qaeda operatives are now left in Afghanistan? – Threat Matrix". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  55. ^ "Al Qaeda in Afghanistan Is Attempting A Comeback". The Huffington Post. 21 October 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  56. ^ "S/2018/705 - E - S/2018/705 -Desktop". undocs.org.
  57. ^ "Exhausted and abandoned: why Afghanistan's army collapsed". The Express Tribune. 7 September 2021.
  58. ^ a b c d "Human and Budgetary Costs to Date of the U.S. War in Afghanistan, 2001-2022 | Figures | Costs of War". The Costs of War. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  59. ^ "Scores Killed in Fresh Kunduz Fighting". Fox News. 26 November 2001. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  60. ^ Morello, Carol; Loeb, Vernon (6 December 2001). "Friendly fire kills 3 GIs". Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  61. ^ Terry McCarthy/Kunduz (18 November 2001). "A Volatile State of Siege After a Taliban Ambush". Time. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  62. ^ John Pike (9 December 2001). "VOA News Report". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  63. ^ "US Bombs Wipe Out Farming Village". Rawa.org. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  64. ^ "Afghanistan statistics: UK deaths, casualties, mission costs and refugees" (PDF). House of Commons. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  65. ^ "U.S. Department of Defense CASUALTY STATUS" (PDF). US Department of Defense.
  66. ^ "Number of Afghanistan UK Military and Civilian casualties (7 October 2001 to 30 November 2014)" (PDF). www.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  67. ^ "Over 2,000 Canadians were wounded in Afghan mission: report". National Post. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  68. ^ a b "U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) – Defense Base Act Case Summary by Nation". Dol.gov. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  69. ^ a b T. Christian Miller (23 September 2009). "U.S. Government Private Contract Worker Deaths and Injuries". Pro Publica. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  70. ^ "Costs of War Figures". Watson Institute, Brown University.
  71. ^ "UCDP - Uppsala Conflict Data Program". www.ucdp.uu.se.
  72. ^ "International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): Key Facts and Figures" (PDF).
  73. ^ "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures" (PDF).
  74. ^ Xu, Ruike (5 January 2017). Alliance Persistence within the Anglo-American Special Relationship: The Post-Cold War Era. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-49619-1.
  75. ^ "Securing, Stabilizing, and Reconstructing Afghanistan: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight". www.govinfo.gov. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  76. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (22 November 2007). "Afghanistan 'falling into hands of Taliban'". The Guardian.
  77. ^ "Ten Stories the world should know more about, 2007". United Nations. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  78. ^ "International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): Key Facts and Figures" (PDF). nato.int. 4 March 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  79. ^ Brunnstrom, David; Ryan, Missy (21 May 2012). "NATO to endorse Afghan exit plan, seeks routes out". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  80. ^ DeYoung, Karen (27 May 2014). "Obama to leave 9,800 US troops in Afghanistan". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  81. ^ "Afghan Taliban Cool To Ghani Peace Offer While UN, 20 Countries Support It". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  82. ^ Miller, Zeke; Madhani, Aamer (8 July 2021). "'Overdue': Biden sets Aug. 31 for US exit from Afghanistan". AP NEWS. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  83. ^ a b Dadouch, Sarah; George, Susannah; Lamothe, Dan (29 February 2020). "U.S. signs peace deal with Taliban agreeing to full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 1 March 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  84. ^ a b Schuknecht, Cat (1 March 2020). "Afghan President Rejects Timeline For Prisoner Swap Proposed In US-Taliban Peace Deal". NPR. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  85. ^ "Afghan President Ghani relinquishes power, Taliban form interim gov't". Daily Sabah. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  86. ^ "Remarks by President Biden on Afghanistan". The White House. 16 August 2021.
  87. ^ a b Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Katzenberg, Lauren (30 August 2021). "The U.S. military finishes its evacuation, and an era ends in Afghanistan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  88. ^ a b "Human and Budgetary Costs to Date of the U.S. War in Afghanistan, 2001–2022 | Figures | Costs of War". The Costs of War. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  89. ^ Afghan Refugees, Costs of War, "Afghan Refugees | Costs of War". Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013., 2012
  90. ^ a b c "In numbers: Life in Afghanistan after America leaves". BBC News. 13 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  91. ^ *"US War in Afghanistan: 1999–2021". Council on Foreign Relations. 2021.
  92. ^ David P. Auerswald; Stephen M. Saideman (5 January 2014). NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone. Princeton University Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-1-4008-4867-6. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  93. ^ Brangwin, Nicole; Gellerfy, Thea (26 August 2021). "Background to the Afghanistan withdrawal: a quick guide". Australian Parliament House. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  94. ^ "A historical timeline of Afghanistan". PBS NewsHour. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  95. ^ "Afghan War | History, Casualties, Dates, & Facts". Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 October 2023. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  96. ^ ""Burning with a Deadly Heat": NewsHour Coverage of the Hot Wars of the Cold War". American Archive of Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  97. ^ "Veterans Employment Toolkit: Dates and Names of Conflicts". Department of Veterans Affairs. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  98. ^ O’Donnell, Sean W.; Shaw, Diana; Ullom, Thomas J. "Operation Enduring Sentinel, Operation Freedom's Sentinel: Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress" (PDF). Office of the Inspector General.
  99. ^ "Timeline: U.S. War in Afghanistan". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  100. ^ "Message to the Force – One Year Since the Conclusion of the Afghanistan War". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  101. ^ "Fact Sheet: Bringing the U.S. War in Afghanistan to a Responsible End". White House. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  102. ^ "جنگ افغانستان". Deutsche Welle (in Persian). Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  103. ^ دوزور, میگن. "افغانستان I بهای جنگ". VOA. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  104. ^ "د افغانستان جګړه امریکا ته څومره ګرانه پرېوتې؟". BBC News (in Pashto). Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  105. ^ Saikal, Amin (2004). Modern Afghanistan : a history of struggle and survival (1st ed.). London: I.B. Tauris. p. 352. ISBN 1-4175-8237-5. OCLC 58591822.
  106. ^ "Documents Detail Years of Pakistani Support for Taliban, Extremists". National Security Archive. 2007. Archived from the original on 8 July 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  107. ^ Coll 2004, p. 14.
  108. ^ "The Taliban's War on Women: A Health and Human Rights Crisis in Afghanistan" (PDF). Physicians for Human Rights. 1998. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  109. ^ Gargan, Edward (October 2001). "Taliban massacres outlined for UN". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  110. ^ Gargan, Edward (2001). "Confidential UN report details mass killings of civilian villagers". newsday.org. Archived from the original on 18 November 2002. Retrieved 12 October 2001.
  111. ^ Marcela Grad (1 March 2009). Massoud: An Intimate Portrait of the Legendary Afghan Leader. Webster University Press. p. 310.
  112. ^ Rashid, Ahmed (11 September 2001). "Afghanistan resistance leader feared dead in blast". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  113. ^ Girardet 2011, p. 416.
  114. ^ Rashid 2000, p. 91.
  115. ^ 9–11 Commission 2004, p. 66.
  116. ^ 9–11 Commission 2004, p. 67.
  117. ^ Coll 2004.
  118. ^ Holmes, Stephen (2006). "Al Qaeda, 11 September 2001". In Diego Gambetta (ed.). Making sense of suicide missions. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929797-9.
  119. ^ Keppel, Gilles; Milelli, Jean-Pierre; Ghazaleh, Pascale (2008). Al Qaeda in its own words. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02804-3.
  120. ^ a b "9 Years Later, Nearly 900 9/11 Responders Have Died, Survivors Fight for Compensation". FOX News. 11 September 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  121. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Malkasian, Carter (2021). The American war in Afghanistan : a history. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-755077-9. OCLC 1240264784.
  122. ^ a b "The US refuses to negotiate with the Taliban". BBC History. Archived from the original on 3 December 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  123. ^ Daalder, Ivo H.; Lindsay, James M. (April 2003). "The Bush Revolution: The Remaking of America's Foreign Policy, page 19" (PDF). The Brookings Institution. Despite intense diplomatic pressure, the Taliban rejected Bush's demands.
  124. ^ Khan, Afzal (2 March 2010). "In Afghanistan, U.S. is fighting tribal insurgency, not jihad". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 28 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  125. ^ Gannon, Kathy (14 October 2001). "Bush Rejects Taliban Bin Laden Offer". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  126. ^ "Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  127. ^ Robertson, Nic; Wallace, Kelly. "CNN.com – U.S. rejects Taliban offer to try bin Laden – October 7, 2001". edition.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 14 June 2004. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  128. ^ "Taliban announce annual spring offensive in Afghanistan". Reuters. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  129. ^ "Harsh winter leaves vulnerable population exposed in Kabul – Afghanistan | ReliefWeb". reliefweb.int. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  130. ^ "Afghanistan". The World Factbook. cia.gov. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  131. ^ Afganistan in 2018. A Survey of the Afghan People (PDF). The Asia Foundation. 2018. p. 283.
  132. ^ 'Civilian casualties keep on rising, says UN report' Archived 14 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine. UNAMA, 31 July 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  133. ^ Ben Arnoldy (31 July 2009). "In Afghanistan, Taliban kills more civilians than US". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  134. ^ "American army officer killed, many wounded in Afghan insider attack". Afghanistan Sun. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  135. ^ Moore, J. Daniel. "Review of First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  136. ^ a b Malkasian, Carter (2021). The American War in Afghanistan: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-19-755079-3.
  137. ^ "Units Credited With Assault Landings" (PDF). army.mil. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  138. ^ Gresham, John (12 September 2011). "The Campaign Plan – Special Operations Forces and Operation Enduring Freedom". Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  139. ^ Vulliamy, Ed; Wintour, Patrick; Traynor, Ian; Ahmed, Kamal (7 October 2001). "After the September Eleventh Terrorist attacks on America, "It's time for war, Bush and Blair tell Taliban – We're ready to go in – PM|Planes shot at over Kabul"". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  140. ^ "Canada in Afghanistan: 2001". National Post. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  141. ^ a b Filkins, Dexter (23 September 2013). "The Shadow Commander". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  142. ^ Barzilai, Yaniv (30 January 2017). "How Al Qaeda Escaped Afghanistan and Lived to Fight Another Day". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  143. ^ ISAF in Afghanistan CDI, Terrorism Project – 14 February 2002. Archived 14 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  144. ^ "ISAF Chronology". Nato.int. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  145. ^ Whitlock, Craig (22 September 2010). "Book tells of secret CIA teams staging raids into Pakistan". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 22 February 2011.
  146. ^ a b Whitlock, Craig; Miller, Greg (23 September 2010). "Paramilitary force is key for CIA". The Washington Post.
  147. ^ Woodward 2010, p. 8.
  148. ^ Woodward 2010, p. 367.
  149. ^ a b Felbab-Brown, Vanda (2012). "Slip-Sliding on a Yellow Brick Road: Stabilization Efforts in Afghanistan". Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 1 (1): 4–19. doi:10.5334/sta.af. ISSN 2165-2627.
  150. ^ "U.S. remains on trail of bin Laden, Taliban leader". CNN. 14 March 2002. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  151. ^ a b c d Giustozzi, Antonio (2019). The Taliban at War: 2001–2018. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-009239-9.
  152. ^ "Leaflet War Rages in Afghan Countryside". Associated Press. 14 February 2003. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  153. ^ "Timeline: US intervention in Afghanistan". France 24. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  154. ^ Tohid, Owias & Baldauf, Scott (8 May 2003). "Taliban appears to be regrouped and well-funded". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 28 February 2007.
  155. ^ The Associated Press. "Troops Rush Afghanistan in Taliban hunt". The Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  156. ^ Rubin, Alyssa J. (22 December 2009). "NATO Chief Promises to Stand by Afghanistan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  157. ^ "The Taliban Resurgence in Afghanistan". Archived from the original on 27 September 2006.
  158. ^ Rothstein, Hy S (15 August 2006). Afghanistan: and the troubled future of unconventional warfare By Hy S. Rothstein. Manas Publications. ISBN 978-81-7049-306-8.
  159. ^ "22nd MEU Afghanistan Recap: Operation ASBURY PARK". 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  160. ^ Gall, Carlotta (13 November 2004). "Asia: Afghanistan: Taliban Leader Vows Return". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  161. ^ Ghosh, Bobby; Thompson, Mark (1 June 2009). "The CIA's Silent War in Pakistan". Time. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  162. ^ Miller, Greg; Tate, Julie (1 September 2011). "CIA shifts focus to killing targets". Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com.
  163. ^ MacMannis, Andrew; Scott, Robert, Operation Red Wings: A Joint Failure in Unity of Command, Pages 14–20, Marine Corps Association / Marine Corps Gazette, archived from the original on 28 October 2007, retrieved 5 February 2012
  164. ^ a b Darack, Ed (2010), Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers – The Marine Corps' Battle for Freedom in Afghanistan, Penguin Group, ISBN 978-0-425-23259-0
  165. ^ Darack, Ed (January 2011), "Operation Red Wings: What Really Happened?", Marine Corps Gazette: 62–65, archived from the original on 19 January 2011, retrieved 13 June 2011
  166. ^ BBC (22 August 2005), Afghan Raids 'kill 100 militants', news.bbc.co.uk, retrieved 8 February 2012
  167. ^ "The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world" (PDF). www.rand.org.
  168. ^ "Afghanistan 'falling into hands of Taliban'". The Guardian. 22 November 2007.
  169. ^ "UK troops take over Afghan duties". BBC News. 1 May 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  170. ^ "Canada set for longer Afghan stay". BBC News. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  171. ^ "Australia outlines Afghan force". BBC News. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  172. ^ "Denmark". centcom.mil. Retrieved 27 September 2007. [dead link]
  173. ^ "defensenews.com". Retrieved 27 September 2007. [dead link]
  174. ^ "Taleban vow to defeat UK troops". BBC News. 7 June 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  175. ^ "npr: Truck Accident Sparks Riots in Afghanistan". NPR.org. 29 May 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  176. ^ Constable, Pamela (1 June 2006). "U.S. troops fired at mob after Kabul accident". The Washington Post. Washington. p. 1. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  177. ^ "British Ministry of Defence". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  178. ^ Baker, Peter (11 March 2007). "Additional Troop Increase Approved". The Washington Post. p. A11. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  179. ^ Karen DeYoung; Jonathan Weisman (23 July 2008). "Obama Shifts the Foreign Policy Debate". The Washington Post. p. A08. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  180. ^ "U.S. Forces in Afghanistan" (PDF). Research Services Report for Congress. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  181. ^ "Pentagon inquiry finds US Marine unit killed Afghan civilians". Christian Science Monitor. 16 April 2007.
  182. ^ Gall, Carlotta (15 April 2007). "Marines' Actions in Afghanistan Called Excessive' Actions in Afghanistan Called Excessive". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007.
  183. ^ "Marine Unit Is Told To Leave Afghanistan". The Washington Post. 24 March 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  184. ^ ""Time is now right" for retaking Musa Qaleh – Browne". Defence News. British Ministry of Defence. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  185. ^ Rohde, David (30 October 2007). "Foreign Fighters of Harsher Bent Bolster Taliban". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  186. ^ Rhode, David (17 October 2009). "Held by the Taliban". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  187. ^ "Foreign Fighters of Harsher Bent Bolster Taliban". The New York Times. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  188. ^ O'Hanlon, Michael E."Staying Power: The U.S. Mission in Afghanistan Beyond 2011 Archived 6 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine", The Brookings Institution, September/October 2010.
  189. ^ "Taliban warn of summer offensive" Reuters. 27 July 2007
  190. ^ Salahuddin, Sayed and Tait, Paul."Afghan leader sees peaceful poll, troops ambushed" Reuters. 11 August 2009
  191. ^ Dreazen, Yochi J. and Spiegel, Peter."Taliban Now Winning" The Wall Street Journal, 10 August 2009
  192. ^ "Insurgent attack frees hundreds from Kandahar prison". CBC News. 14 June 2008.
  193. ^ Nic Robertson. "Sources: Taliban split with al Qaeda, seek peace". CNN. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  194. ^ Partlow, Joshua (11 November 2009). "In Afghanistan, Taliban surpasses al-Qaeda". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  195. ^ "'Another US strike' hits Pakistan". BBC News. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  196. ^ "Pakistan: Shoot GIs on cross-border raids". MSNBC.com. 16 September 2008. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  197. ^ "Bush announces withdrawal of 8,000 troops from Iraq". The Guardian. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  198. ^ "Brown in tribute to Afghan dead". BBC News. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  199. ^ Pakistan reacts with fury after up to 20 die in 'American' attack on its soil The Guardian Retrieved on 12 September 2008
  200. ^ "Pakistan fury over 'US assault'". BBC News. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  201. ^ Pakistan cuts supply lines to Nato forces Archived 12 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 12 September 2008
  202. ^ "Pakistan fires on Nato aircraft". BBC News. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  203. ^ Turin, Dustin (23 March 2009). "Can the U.S. Win in Afghanistan?". Student Pulse. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  204. ^ Gall, Carlotta (17 August 2009). "Peace Talks With Taliban Top Issue in Afghan Vote". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 20 August 2009.
  205. ^ Farmer, Ben (3 November 2009). "Hamid Karzai reaches out to 'Taliban brothers' in Afghanistan". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  206. ^ "The Karzai questions". Los Angeles Times. 10 November 2009.
  207. ^ Landler, Mark; Rubin, Alissa J. (28 January 2010). "War Plan for Karzai: Reach Out to Taliban". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 31 January 2010.
  208. ^ "Clinton Backs $500M Effort to Court Taliban". ABC News.
  209. ^ Jason Straziulo (16 February 2009). "Newest US troops in Afghanistan seeing combat in dangerous region south of Kabul". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 21 February 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  210. ^ "Obama OKs 17,000 more US troops for Afghanistan". International Herald Tribune. 29 March 2009. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  211. ^ Page, Susan (16 February 2009). "Obama OKs adding Afghanistan forces". USA Today. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  212. ^ "Tom Andrews: Classified McChrystal Report: 500,000 Troops Will Be Required Over Five Years in Afghanistan". Huffington Post. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  213. ^ Miller, Greg (27 December 2011). "Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  214. ^ De Luce, Dan (20 July 2009). "No let-up in US drone war in Pakistan". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  215. ^ Bergen, Peter; Tiedemann, Katherine (3 June 2009). "The Drone War". New America Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  216. ^ Panetta, Leon (2014). Worthy Fights. Penguin Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-59420-596-5.
  217. ^ Chandrasekaran, Rajiv. "A Fight for Ordinary Peace" The Washington Post 12 July 2009
  218. ^ "3 SCOTS launch massive air assault". UK Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 4 November 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  219. ^ Matthias Gebauer (6 August 2010). "Germany to Pay $500,000 for Civilian Bombing Victims". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  220. ^ "'Fraud proof' found in Afghan polls" Al-Jazeera. 11 September 2009
  221. ^ a b Sheerin, Jude (20 August 2009). "As it happened: Afghan election 2009". BBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  222. ^ "Kabul urges polls attacks blackout" Al-Jazeera. 10 August 2009
  223. ^ Entous, Adam and Shalizi, Hamid. "Afghan election fair, but not free: EU" Reuters. 22 August 2009
  224. ^ "Voters targeted after Afghan polls". Al Jazeera. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  225. ^ "IPS Inter Press Service". Ipsnews.net. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  226. ^ "Right after interviewing Karzai". CNN. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  227. ^ Martin, David (31 December 2009). "Afghan Attack Tremendous Setback for CIA". CBS News. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  228. ^ Baker, Peter (5 December 2009). "How Obama Came to Plan for 'Surge' in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  229. ^ "Anti-war Leaders Blast Escalation of Afghanistan War". Fight Back! News. 1 December 2009.
  230. ^ "Obama's Afghanistan decision evokes LBJ's 1965 order on Vietnam buildup"
  231. ^ "Afghan troop numbers to eclipse Iraq soon". United Press International. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  232. ^ Eric Schmitt (26 December 2010). "Taliban Fighters Appear Blunted in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Washington. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  233. ^ Chandrasekaren, Rajiv (25 September 2015). "The Afghan Surge is Over". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  234. ^ Adam Levine (15 October 2010). "What the numbers say about progress in Afghanistan". The Guardian. Washington. Archived from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  235. ^ Perry, Tom, "U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Suffer More Critical Injuries", Los Angeles Times, 7 April 2011, p. 4.
  236. ^ Vanden Brook, Tom (7 March 2011). "U.S.: Raids have taken out 900 Taliban leaders". USA Today. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  237. ^ Vanden Brook, Tom, "U.S.: Raids Have Taken Out 900 Taliban Leaders", USA Today, 8 March 2011, p. 6.
  238. ^ Nordland, Rod (24 January 2011). "An Uncharacteristically Upbeat General in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  239. ^ "Nato hails Afghanistan operation". 14 February 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  240. ^ Wadhams, Caroline (4 June 2010). "Afghanistan's fluffy peace jirga".
  241. ^ Nelson, Dean (16 March 2010). "Hamid Karzai held secret talks with Mullah Baradar in Afghanistan". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  242. ^ "Profile: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar". BBC News. 21 September 2013.
  243. ^ "Karzai holds peace talks with insurgents". TVNZ. Reuters. 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 26 April 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  244. ^ Tisdall, Ewen MacAskill Simon (19 July 2010). "White House shifts Afghanistan strategy towards talks with Taliban". The Guardian. London.
  245. ^ Filkins, Dexter (19 October 2010). "Taliban Elite, Aided by NATO, Join Talks for Afghan Peace". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 20 October 2010.
  246. ^ Boone, Jon (23 November 2010). "Fake Taliban leader 'dupes Nato negotiators'". The Guardian. London.
  247. ^ Schmitt, Eric (25 July 2010). "The War Logs – Interactive Feature". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  248. ^ Declan Walsh (4 March 2007). "Afghanistan war logs: How US marines sanitised record of bloodbath". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  249. ^ Gebauer, Matthias; Goetz, John; Hoyng, Hans; Koelbl, Susanne; Rosenbach, Marcel; Schmitz, Gregor Peter (25 July 2010). "Explosive Leaks Provide Image of War from Those Fighting It: The Secret Enemy in Pakistan". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  250. ^ "Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden dead – Obama". BBC News. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  251. ^ Allbritton, Chris; Augustine Anthony (3 May 2011). "Pakistan says had no knowledge of U.S. bin Laden raid". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  252. ^ Rubin, Alissa J. (1 May 2011). "Taliban Say Offensive Will Begin Sunday". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  253. ^ "Taliban Attack Afghan Government Offices in South". The New York Times. Associated Press. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  254. ^ "Afghanistan: Taliban's Kandahar raid into second day". BBC. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  255. ^ Farmer, Ben (18 June 2011). "America has opened peace talks with Taliban, says Afghan President Hamid Karzai". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  256. ^ Nelson, Dean (10 August 2011). "Secret peace talks between US and Taliban collapse over leaks". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  257. ^ Landler, Mark; Cooper, Helene (22 June 2011). "Obama Will Speed Pullout From War in Afghanistan". The New York Times.
  258. ^ * Robert Burns (26 February 2013). "APNEWSBREAK: Taliban Attacks Not Down After All". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  259. ^ Perlez, Jane; Cooper, Helene (30 September 2010). "Signaling Tensions, Pakistan Shuts NATO Route". The New York Times.
  260. ^ "Taliban ramp up attacks against NATO". Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  261. ^ "Nato attack can have grave consequences: DG ISPR". The News International. 29 November 2011. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011.
  262. ^ Islam, Nazarul (27 November 2011). "NATO 'Regrets' Pakistan Strike". Newsweek Pakistan. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  263. ^ a b Wright, Jessica (19 April 2012). "Leaders condemn US troops in body-parts photos". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  264. ^ a b "Photos of Soldiers Posing With Body Parts Add Strain to a Taxed Relationship". The New York Times. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  265. ^ a b Gordts, Eline (18 April 2012). "U.S. Soldiers Pose With Bodies of Suicide Bombers in Afghanistan". The Huffington Post. Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  266. ^ "Obama calls for Afghan body abuse punishment". BBC. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  267. ^ a b "Photos just latest issue hounding U.S. military in Afghanistan". CNN. 18 April 2012. Archived from the original on 24 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  268. ^ Fantz, Ashley (19 April 2012). "How will leaked photos impact U.S. mission in Afghanistan?". CNN. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  269. ^ Sommerville, Quentin (19 April 2012). "Dismantling US bases as the Taliban fight on". BBC. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  270. ^ Thom Shanker; Graham Bowley (18 April 2012). "Images of G.I.'s and Remains Fuel Fears of Ebbing Discipline". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  271. ^ a b Emma Graham-Harrison (6 July 2012). "'Bye-bye, Miss American Pie' – then US helicopter appears to fire on Afghans". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  272. ^ Anissa Haddadi (6 July 2012). "US Helicopter Pilot Sings 'American Pie' as Missile Blows up 'Innocent Afghan Farmer' [VIDEO]". International Business Times. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  273. ^ Mark Landler & Michael R. Gordon (8 January 2012). "U.S. Is Open to Withdraw Afghan Force After 2014". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  274. ^ "The Afghan War's Last Chapter?". The New York Times. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  275. ^ a b c "Obama, Karzai agree to accelerate military transition". CNN. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  276. ^ a b Scott Wilson & David Nakamur (11 January 2013). "Obama announces reduced U.S. role in Afghanistan starting this spring". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  277. ^ Christi Parsons & Kathleen Hennessey (11 January 2013). "Obama moves up deadline for Afghans to take lead security role". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  278. ^ a b "NATO sets "irreversible" but risky course to end Afghan war". Reuters. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  279. ^ a b NATO (21 May 2012). "Chicago NATO Summit 2012 Declaration". Defence Talk – Global Defense, Aerospace & Military Portal. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  280. ^ Scott Wilson & Karen DeYoung (21 May 2012). "NATO leaders agree on framework to wind down Afghan mission". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  281. ^ Elise Labott & Mike Mount (22 May 2012). "NATO accepts Obama timetable to end war in Afghanistan by 2014". CNN. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  282. ^ Nordland, Rod; Bumiller, Elisabeth; Rosenberg, Matthew (15 March 2012). "Karzai Wants U.S. Troops Confined to Bases; Taliban Suspend Peace Talks". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012.
  283. ^ "US-Taliban Afghanistan peace talks in Qatar cancelled". The Guardian. London. 20 June 2013.
  284. ^ Landler, Mark (1 May 2012). "Obama Signs Pact in Kabul, Turning Page in Afghan War". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  285. ^ "U.S. designates Afghanistan a major ally, creates defense ties". CNN. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  286. ^ a b "US troops will end 'most' Afghanistan combat this spring". BBC News US & Canada. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  287. ^ Mark Landler & Michael R. Gordon (11 January 2013). "Obama Accelerates Transition of Security to Afghans". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  288. ^ "Karzai announces Afghan security handover". Global Post. Agence France-Presse. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  289. ^ Hodge, Nathan (18 June 2013). "Blast Mars Day of Security Handover in Kabul". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  290. ^ "Deadly blast marks Afghan security handover". Al Jazeera English. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  291. ^ *Syal, Ryan (26 October 2014). "UK troops hand over Camp Bastion to Afghan forces, ending 13-year campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  292. ^ Mason, Rowena (27 October 2015). "UK to keep 450 troops stationed in Afghanistan through 2016". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  293. ^ Mason, Rowena (8 July 2016). "UK to increase troops in Afghanistan from 450 to 500". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  294. ^ "U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan". No. online. CBA News. Associated Press. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  295. ^ *"Resolute Support". Afghan War News. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  296. ^ *"Afghanistan marks takeover of security responsibility from NATO". Deutsche Welle. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  297. ^ LaPorta, James (28 November 2015). "Afghan interpreter hoping for asylum gets little help from those he worked for". Jacksonville Daily News. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  298. ^ "Why are the Taliban resurgent in Afghanistan?". BBC. 5 January 2016.
  299. ^ Weigand, Florian (2022). Waiting for Dignity: Legitimacy and Authority in Afghanistan. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231200493.
  300. ^ Weigand, Florian (2017). "Afghanistan's Taliban–legitimate jihadists or coercive extremists?". Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. 11 (3): 359–381. doi:10.1080/17502977.2017.1353755. S2CID 149421418.
  301. ^ Jackson and Weigand (2020). "Rebel rule of law: Taliban courts in the west and north-west of Afghanistan" (PDF). ODI Briefing Note.
  302. ^ "Afghan forces struggle to drive back Taliban from besieged city". Reuters. 30 April 2015.
  303. ^ "Heavy fighting as Taliban attack northern Afghan city". Reuters. 27 April 2015.
  304. ^ "Flights to besieged Afghan city cancelled as Taliban, army clash". Reuters. 7 May 2015.
  305. ^ "INSIGHT – Stretched Afghan army falls back on militias to help defend Kunduz". Reuters. 22 May 2015.
  306. ^ "Afghans counter Taliban offensive in northern Kunduz province". BBC News. 21 June 2015.
  307. ^ "Taliban and Afghan Government Dispute Status of Kunduz". The New York Times. 21 June 2015.
  308. ^ "Afghanistan: Taliban advance on key northern city". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 June 2015.
  309. ^ "Afghan forces recapture key district from Taliban". Reuters. 23 June 2015.
  310. ^ a b Sune Engel Rasmussen (28 September 2015). "Taliban attempt to capture key Afghan city". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  311. ^ Hamdard, Feroz Sultani (28 September 2015). "Afghan Taliban seize Kunduz city center in landmark gain". Reuters. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  312. ^ "Taliban fighters raid Kunduz in Afghanistan". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  313. ^ "Taliban seizes control of major Afghan city Kunduz for first time since US-led invasion". ABC News. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  314. ^ "Officials confirm ISIL present in Afghanistan". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  315. ^ "ISIS active in south Afghanistan, officials confirm for first time". CBS News. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  316. ^ "Capture the Flag in Afghanistan". Foreign Policy. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  317. ^ "U.S. forces can now pursue ISIS in Afghanistan". CNN. 20 January 2016.
  318. ^ "Afghan Army Kills Commander of ISIL Affiliate". Al-Masdar News. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  319. ^ "Taliban Attack Police Base in Afghanistan, Killing 17". The Telegraph. 13 June 2015.
  320. ^ "Taliban seize district in Helmand province". The Long War Journal. 30 July 2015.
  321. ^ "Two Setbacks for Coalition in Afghanistan". The New York Times. 26 August 2015. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015.
  322. ^ "US Airstrikes Target Islamic State in Afghanistan". ABC News. 11 February 2015. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016.
  323. ^ "Prepare 200 graves, warn Sangin police besieged by Taliban". The Times. 23 December 2015.
  324. ^ Masoud Popalzai and Jethro Mullen (22 June 2015). "Taliban attempt attack on Afghan Parliament in Kabul". CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  325. ^ Harooni, Hamid Shalizi (22 June 2015). "Taliban launch brazen attack on Afghan parliament, seize second district in north". Reuters. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  326. ^ "Attack on Afghanistan's parliament – When even failure is success". The Economist. 24 June 2015.
  327. ^ "Afghan Peace Talks Expose Rifts in Taliban Leadership". VOA News. 24 June 2015.
  328. ^ "Taliban, Afghan officials hold peace talks, agree to meet again". Reuters. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  329. ^ "Pakistan hosts Afghanistan peace talks". BBC News. 11 January 2016.
  330. ^ Rothwell, James; Khan, Mohammad Zubair; Sarwary, Bilal (18 October 2016). "Taliban holds 'informal' peace talks with Afghanistan". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  331. ^ Ahmad, Amena Bakr (3 May 2015). "Taliban, Afghan figures talk ceasefire but fail to agree". Reuters.
    Zahra-Malik, Jibran Ahmad (12 March 2015). "Exclusive: Secret meetings in Pakistan expose obstacles to Afghan peace talks". Reuters.
    Donati, Jessica (11 November 2014). "Exclusive: China seeks greater role in Afghanistan with peace talk push". Reuters.
    Golovnina, Maria (12 February 2015). "China offers to mediate in stalled Afghan Taliban peace talks". Reuters.
  332. ^ a b "Afghanistan: Taliban won't talk because it is winning". Al Jazeera. 22 March 2016.
  333. ^ "Taliban-on-Taliban turf war erupts in Afghanistan". worldbulletin News. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  334. ^ a b "Dozens killed in clashes between rival Taliban factions in Afghanistan". The Guardian. 10 March 2016.
  335. ^ a b "Number of ISIL Fighters in Afghanistan Drops Significantly, Official Says". US Department of Defense. 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  336. ^ a b "Haqqanis Steering Deadlier Taliban in Afghanistan, Officials Say". The New York Times. 7 May 2016.
  337. ^ a b "Afghanistan Faces Tough Battle as Haqqanis Unify the Taliban". ABC news. 7 May 2016. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016.
  338. ^ "Fierce fight for Helmand as Afghan Taliban gains ground". Al Jazeera. 21 December 2015.
  339. ^ "SAS in battle to stop Taliban overrunning Sangin". The Telegraph. 22 December 2015.
  340. ^ a b "The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades". The Washington Post. 26 January 2016.
  341. ^ "British military deployed to Afghanistan: Why Sangin matters". Telegraph. 22 December 2015. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  342. ^ a b "How IS has been making enemies in Afghanistan". BBC News. 21 February 2016.
  343. ^ "State Department lists Islamic State's 'Khorasan Province' as Foreign Terrorist Organization". The Long War Journal. 14 January 2016.
  344. ^ "US Army orders hundreds of soldiers back to southern Afghanistan". Fox News. 11 February 2016.
  345. ^ "Taliban 'close to capturing Sangin' as militants step up assault on Helmand". The Guardian. 7 February 2016.
  346. ^ "Taliban are 'close to overrunning Sangin' where 106 British soldiers died". The Telegraph. 8 February 2016. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022.
  347. ^ "U.S. troop reinforcements head for embattled southern Afghan province". Reuters. 9 February 2016.
  348. ^ a b "A 5th District in Helmand Province Falls to the Taliban". The New York Times. 15 March 2016.
  349. ^ "Afghan forces face 'decisive' battle in Helmand". BBC News. 7 April 2016.
  350. ^ "Afghan soldiers desert as Taliban threaten key Helmand capital". CNN. 11 April 2016.
  351. ^ "US airstrikes undermining Afghan security, says former president". The Guardian. 4 August 2016. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016.
  352. ^ "Afghanistan: Helmand Capital May Fall To Taliban". Sky News. 9 August 2016.
  353. ^ "Taliban's new commando force tests Afghan army's strength". The Washington Post. 6 August 2016. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016.
  354. ^ "Taliban 'special forces' lead Helmand assault: Afghan officials". Reuters. 14 August 2016.
  355. ^ "No more peace talks with Taliban, Afghanistan's president says". Los Angeles Times. 25 April 2016.
  356. ^ "Taliban leader says foreigners must quit Afghanistan for peace". Reuters. 2 July 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  357. ^ a b "American troops wounded fighting ISIS in Afghanistan as operations there grow". military.com. 28 July 2016.
  358. ^ "Afghan troops press offensive against Islamic State". Reuters. 30 July 2016.
  359. ^ "Key Islamic State leader Saad Emarati 'killed in Afghanistan'". BBC News. 26 July 2016.
  360. ^ "When War Is Just Another Day in Afghanistan". Time. 18 July 2016.
  361. ^ "Over a hundred US troops sent to Lashkar Gah to battle Taliban". The Guardian. 22 August 2016.
  362. ^ Afghanistan Signs Draft Peace Deal With Faction Led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar The New York Times, 23 September 2016.
  363. ^ "Afghanistan takes a step toward peace with notorious ex-warlord". Los Angeles Times. 22 September 2016.
  364. ^ "Taliban ramp up attacks in southwestern Afghanistan as NATO casualties hit a low". Stars and Stripes. 2 January 2017.
  365. ^ a b c "The U.S. Marines are sending a task force back to Afghanistan's Helmand province". Marine Corps Times. 6 January 2017.
  366. ^ "Army Rangers killed in Afghanistan were possible victims of friendly fire". Army Times. 28 April 2017.
  367. ^ "US cites progress against Islamic State in Afghanistan". The Washington Post. 6 April 2017. Archived from the original on 6 April 2017.
  368. ^ "Taliban take key Afghan district in south; 9 killed in north". Fox News. 23 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  369. ^ "Afghan Taliban capture city of Sangin". BBC News. 23 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  370. ^ "U.S. may send up to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan". Washington Times. 24 May 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  371. ^ "Taliban fighters attack Afghan army base, 'killing 140'". Al Jazeera. 22 April 2017.
  372. ^ "Taliban kill more than 140 Afghan soldiers at army base | World news". The Guardian. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  373. ^ "Taliban kills more than 140 Afghan soldiers in suicide assault". Longwarjournal.org. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  374. ^ "C.I.A. Wants Authority to Conduct Drone Strikes in Afghanistan for the First Time". The New York Times. 15 September 2017. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017.
  375. ^ "Trump is sending more than 3,000 troops to Afghanistan". Vox. 19 September 2017.
  376. ^ "US relaxes rules of engagement to help troops in Afghanistan defeat Taliban". Fox News. 4 October 2017.
  377. ^ "Afghan leaders in Helmand criticize U.S. airstrikes on Taliban drug labs". The Washington Post. 21 November 2017.
  378. ^ "Taliban threaten 70% of Afghanistan, BBC finds". BBC. 31 January 2018. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  379. ^ Karzai, Hekmat Khalil (11 March 2018). "Opinion | An Unprecedented Peace Offer to the Taliban". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018.
  380. ^ "Afghanistan offers amnesty to the Taliban in a bid to end 16-year war". Los Angeles Times. 28 February 2018.
  381. ^ Dwyer, Colin (28 February 2018). "Afghan President Urges Taliban To Talk Peace, Offering Political Recognition". NPR.
  382. ^ "Tashkent Conference Backs Afghan Government's Peace Offer". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 27 March 2018.
  383. ^ Yaad, Ziar (24 March 2019). "Peace Movement Blames Foreign Countries For Afghan War". TOLOnews. Archived from the original on 17 August 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  384. ^ "Helmand Peace Convoy Rejected Taliban's Allegations". Ariana News. 26 June 2018. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  385. ^ "Helmand peace convoy makes appeals to Russian, American people for peace". The Khaama Press News Agency. 7 July 2018.
  386. ^ "Going Nationwide: The Helmand peace march initiative". Afghanistan Analysts Network – English. 23 April 2018.
  387. ^ Mashal, Mujib (15 June 2018). "A Grass-Roots Afghan Peace Movement Grows, Step by Step". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018.
  388. ^ Kapur, Roshni. "How Afghanistan's Peace Movement Is Winning Hearts and Minds". Truthout. Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  389. ^ Kabul, Ruchi (6 July 2018). "Selfies with the Taliban: Afghan women buoyed by ceasefire snaps". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  390. ^ "Taliban's surprise Eid ceasefire is unprecedented". Reuters.
  391. ^ "Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani ends ceasefire with Taliban". Deutsche Welle.
  392. ^ "Afghanistan: Taliban resume fighting as Eid ceasefire ends". Al Jazeera.
  393. ^ Shah, Taimoor; Nordland, Rod (28 July 2018). "U.S. Diplomats Held Face-to-Face Talks With Taliban, Insurgents Say". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018.
  394. ^ "Zalmay Khalilzad Will Try to Pave Way for Taliban Talks with Afghanistan". Cato Institute. 28 September 2018.
  395. ^ Islamabad, Craig Nelson in Kabul and Saeed Shah in (12 October 2018). "U.S. Envoy Meets Taliban In Push for Afghan Peace Talks". The Wall Street Journal.
  396. ^ "Afghan Taliban attend landmark talks". BBC News. 9 November 2018.
  397. ^ "New contacts announced between the Taliban and Americans – Intellectual Observer". Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  398. ^ Paigham, Nawid (24 March 2019). "Marginalised government". D + C, Development and cooperation.
  399. ^ a b "US peace envoy meets Taliban co-founder". 25 February 2019. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  400. ^ Higgins, Andrew; Mashal, Mujib (4 February 2019). "In Moscow, Afghan Peace Talks Without the Afghan Government". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 February 2019.
  401. ^ "Ex-Blackwater CEO's plan to end the war in Afghanistan". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  402. ^ "Erik Prince's Plan to Privatize the War in Afghanistan". The Atlantic. 18 August 2017. Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  403. ^ "Staggering Afghan death toll revealed". 25 January 2019. Archived from the original on 25 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  404. ^ Nordland, Rod (1 February 2019). "Afghan Government Control Over Country Falters, US Report Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 24 May 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  405. ^ Sediqi, Abdul Qadir. "Afghan forces launch attacks to clear warring militants from east Afghanistan". Reuters. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  406. ^ "At least 20 killed, 50 injured in attack on VP candidate's office in Kabul – government". Reuters. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  407. ^ "America and the Taliban inch towards a peace deal in Afghanistan". The Economist. 7 August 2019. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 8 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  408. ^ Sanger, David; Mashal, Mujib (8 September 2019). "After Trump Calls Off Talks, Afghanistan Braces for Violence". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 September 2019. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
  409. ^ "US-Taliban Afghan peace talks at 'important stage': Khalilzad". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  410. ^ "US-Taliban truce begins, raising hopes for a peace deal". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  411. ^ "Afghanistan's Taliban, US sign peace deal". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  412. ^ "U.S. to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 14 months if Taliban conditions met". Reuters. Retrieved 29 February 2020 – via MSN.
  413. ^ "Ghani: No Commitment to Release Taliban Prisoners". TOLOnews. Retrieved 1 March 2020.