The War in Afghanistan

By: Zeke Ewing


By zeke ewing


The conflict in Afghanistan has been going on since 2001, following the terrible terrorist attacks performed on 9/ll. Recently, however, the Taliban have won the war in Afghanistan. This means that America has lost the longest-running American war in history. There has been a lot that has happened during those 20 years and all of it is important to the future of America and its people so that we don’t repeat history’s mistakes.

September 11

On September 11, 2001, an Islamic terrorist group known as Al Qaeda, led by a man named Osama bin-laden, hijacked four planes and had plans to crash them into important buildings in America. these being the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They had specially chosen long-distance flights to maximize the intensity of the fires they would cause (2 2010).

 One of their planes was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:45 am, and as millions of people watched from around the globe a second plane hit the South Tower less than 20 minutes later. Only a few short minutes after the second plane hit, the fire caused by the fuel from the planes began to get so hot that the steel began to bend and break in the first tower, and at 10:00 am the tower collapsed in a cloud of dust and smoke. The same fate befell tower 2 when 30 minutes later at 10:30 am. Only 6 people that were in the towers when they fell survived the September 11th attacks (2 2010).

 A third plane was flown into the west side of the Pentagon at 9:45 am, and the gallons of fuel leaking from the large commercial airliner caused a devastating fire that burned a large portion of the building. 

The fourth plane (flight 93) has been speculated to hit the White House, or the Capitol Building, luckily the passengers onboard received word of the tragedy in new york and were able to take back the plane from the terrorist hijackers and crash it into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, miles from DC (2 2010)

The Aftermath

In the following weeks, It is found out that Osama bin Laden had orchestrated all of the attacks on September 11th and was being protected by the Taliban. When President Bush demanded the Taliban’s hand in Bin Laden, they refused and thus started a deadly war between the Taliban and the U.S. in Afghanistan (1 2021).

On October 1st of that year, the US and Britain worked together and launched airstrikes upon the Taliban and al Qaeda for five days. When setting up ground troops, and with help from northern alliances, they were easily able to overtake Taliban strongholds. By December, the rule of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan officially fell. Seeing what was happening, Bin Laden and the rest of al Qaeda fled the United States troops and they were successfully able to evade capture for 10 years (1 2021)

While this was the end of America’s initial involvement in the war, the president decided in 2002 to help Afghanistan rebuild after the Taliban’s capture. With the help of Congress, he was able to provide more than 38 billion dollars for American soldiers to train Afghan security forces in case of future Taliban attacks (1 2021). 

The War Continues 

Approximately 8,000 troops remained in Afghanistan, but the American military turned almost all their attention to the conflict in Iraq instead. By the end of 2003 America had decided that the conflict in Afghanistan had come to an end, and Afghanistan was even able to hold its first democratic election in years (1 2021). 

However, this was not the end of the war, because once the US focused on the conflict in Iraq instead of Afghanistan, that’s when the Taliban used the time to regroup, and terrorist attacks performed by the Taliban escalated. Seeing the spike in the attacks, the new president at the time, Barack president Obama, deployed more than 17,000 extra troops into Afghanistan. In an interview, President Obama stated, “This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires”  (1 2021). 

On May 2 of 2011, the ten-year-long manhunt for Bin Laden came to a close when he was killed by U.S. Navy seals in Pakistan. Following this, President Obama made plans to withdraw the rest of the 33,000 troops remaining in Afghanistan. NATO transitioned power to Afghan forces, and President Obama called for 10,000 troops to stay to help the cause (1 2021). 

In 2015 the Taliban’s attacks increased rapidly, bombing the parliament building and airport in Kabul, and many other devastating suicide bombings. As a result of this, President Donald Trump, in the first few months of his presidency, dropped the United States’ most powerful non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS cave complex (1 2021). 

After the Taliban attacks continued to escalate, in 2019 the US and NATO reached a deal that they would be pulling their remaining troops out of the country in the next 14 months, if the Taliban stopped helping the terrorist groups. But by September, Trump called the meeting off because of a Taliban attack that left 12 innocent people dead.  “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway” Trump tweeted (1 2021).

The Withdrawal Of The Troops

In April of 2021, President Joe Biden started the effort to withdraw all remaining troops in Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. This was because he believed that the Afghan troops were adequately trained to handle the war going forward, and the existence of American troops in the country was necessary. This would prove to be a huge mistake because when American troops left, the Taliban were easily able to overtake the capitals in just 10 days (1 2021).  

After the Taliban takeover, the citizens of Afghanistan flocked to the Kabul airport to escape the country while The U.S. frantically tried to help the desperate citizens in the chaos. Biden was ridiculed for his decision to withdraw the troops but in an interview, he stated  “I was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war on to a fifth.” By the end of August, the last plane left Afghanistan, thus signaling the end of the longest American-fought war in its history (1 2021). 

In the end, more than 100,000 people lost their lives in the Afghanistan war, more than half being innocent civilians caught in the crossfires of the war. Almost 5 million Afghan people have been displaced by the war since 2012 which makes Afghanistan the third-largest population of displaced people (1 2021). 


article Editors. (2021, August 20). Afghanistan  


article 2: Editors. (2010, February 17). September 11 attacks.  


Sarah Keyes 

Anthony Clauson