9/11 and the long-lasting Afghan war

Ein Blog von David Pühler




All had started with the attacks on American soil on the 11th of September 2001. Four airplanes heading West in the country have been hijacked by 19 militants associated with Al Qaeda. At around 9:00 a.m., the first plane crashed into the North Tower, followed shortly after by a second plane which flew right into the south tower. Another plane hijacked by terrorists crashed into the the Pentagon about half an hour later and the 4th plane crashed at a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a few people tried a insurrection against the hijackers and fought them inside of the cockpit which lead to the plane crashing into the ground at 800 km/h. About this time the South Tower collapsed and a bit later the North Tower as well.

“For Americans and people watching around the world, September 11, 2001, is a day that will never be forgotten.”

If you want to know more about the attacks, this is a exact timeline about what happened on that day: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/09/9-11-timeline-visualized-america-september-terror-attacks/



America’s reaction

At the day of the attacks the president was shifted around several military bases in america and finally got back to the white House at around 9p.m. Then made a national announcement on the TV including not only how terrible the attacks on the USA were but also what he is planning to do following these Events.

 “These Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

Shortly after the attacks, the Bush administration launched an American-led, international operation to end the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and destroy the terrorist-network based in Afghanistan which was led by the former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush also signed a resolution allowing the use of force against those responsible and/or were a part of planning for the 9/11 attacks.

Following these parts, the U.S. military, together with UK-Armed forces, began a bombing campaign in the early days of October 2001 and invaded Afghanistan in the same month. Several other countries such as Canada, France and Australia promised future support in the operation against al Qaeda and other terrorist members in Afghanistan.

The Taliban began to collapse in late November, early December and surrendered Kandahar (a district in the southern part of Afghanistan).  With this win, future surrenders and battle wins, the U.S. military and other NATO states tried to reconstruct Afghanistan in 2002.

In the first quarter of 2003 the Secretary of Defense Donuld Rumsfield declared that “Major Combat is over” at the same time as Bush announced the end of the war with “mission accomplished” in Iraq.


A new start in Afghanistan

In 2004, Afghan delegates agreed on a constitution creating a presidential system with its goal to reunite several ethnic groups in Afghanistan. In late 2004 the new President Hamid Karazi was elected with 55% of the votes. In the same year Bin Laden resurfaces on a local TV show with one of the sentences being: “We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation.”

The war proceeds

Onwards the years until the election of President Obama in 2009, a lot of military operations were carried out in afghanistan killing or detaining several Taliban members but also seeing the rise of the collateral killings mount.

After the election in 2009, Obama promised staying committed in the Afghan war and later announced a new strategy for the war effort linking success in AFghanistan to a stable Pakistan. We also saw a often change of command in Afghanistan with multiple U.S. Generals trying their best in defeating the Taliban.

The next two years were fairly “calm” with the election of a new president in 2009. But on May 1st 2011, the al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, was shot and killed by members of DEVGRU (Navy SEALS Team 6). This was particularly delightful for many US citizens who came together to throw parties. 

With the election of President Trump in 2017, the earlier announced troop withdrawals from Obama were ignored and instead Trump pressed ahead with an open-ended military commitment. 


A slow end

In early 2019 the U.S. began peace talks with the Taliban in Doha which center on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban pledging to block international terrorist groups from operating on Afghan soil.

Although those peace talks were called off by Trump in September 2019 after a U.S. soldier was killed by a Taliban attack, U.S. envoy Khalilzad and the Taliban’s Baradar signed an agreement in February 2020 which mentions the start of a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops.

On November 17, 2020 the U.S. government officially announced a  troop withdrawal. This announcement includes the plan of halving the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan to 2,500. And in April 2021 the new President Biden, decided to completely draw back troops from Afghan soil by the end of August 2021. The following months Biden defended his withdrawal claiming his administration made the right decision saying that the U.S. counterterrorism mission came to an end. 

The troop withdrawal became as messy as it could in August, with the U.S. defending its last position: Kabul Airport, where 13 more Service members have been killed in an attack at a checkpoint outside the airport. Also, thousands of people including non military personnel from countries such as Afghanistan, Germany, Canada, Great Britain, etc. were evacuated at Kabul Airport while being protected by U.S. soldiers. 

Following Biden’s decision the twenty year war ends with the last U.S. service member leaving Afghan soil on August 30th.

U.S. Army Major General Chris Donahue


All in all this twenty year was was a complete disaster for the American government costing their activities about $2 trillion USD. What we also mustn’t forget are all the service members being killed, 2,448 and 1,114 more including military personnel from NATO countries. Additionally, around 47,000 civilians have lost their lives as well as 51,191 Taliban and other opposition fighters during the Afghan war.

Another important part in the Afghan war were close air support kills, which were fulfilled by the Attack helicopters, Fighter jets, and the newer Drones such as the General Atomics MQ-9 (Reaper Drone). Those drones have proven to be very beneficial for the U.S. government in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Drone strikes in Afghanistan

  • 13,072 minimum confirmed strikes
  • 4,126-10,076 people killed in total
  • 300-909 civilians killed
  • 66-184 children killed


Thoughts of some people

  1. An ethics teacher in the HTL Rennweg in Vienna on the war:“It was clear that a government like the US couldn’t win in Afghanistan, after examples like Iraq and Vietnam which had gone bad. I think it has something to do with politics. America is obviously losing its power and it was a disaster for both the EU and America and other NATO states who participated. China was clever enough to  accept Afghanistan as a country and use their resources. So basically, you can’t split religion and violence. ” 
  2. Kyle Hanson, member of the US Army about the end of the war: “This was known to be what would happen when we left. American politicians passed it back and forth for 20 years, but the war stopped being worth it shortly after it began.”
  3. David Zucchino, Reporter for the New York Times:
    “The American mission in Afghanistan has come to a tragic and chaotic end.”



(4th of October 2021)

Netflix Documentary: Turning point, 9/11 and the war on terror




https://www.nytimes.com, multiple articles





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