Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

Author: Colin Clarke

Introduction

Following the Al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States intervened in Afghanistan to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure in that country. Sheltered by the Taliban, a Muslim Fundamentalist group that had seized power in the mid-1990s, Al-Qaeda had used Afghanistan as a safe haven for planning the attacks on the United States. After initial successes, however, the U.S. intervention ran into serious difficulties. By the end of 2009, despite an overwhelming advantage in firepower and technology, U.S. and NATO troops operating in Afghanistan had failed to dislodge a resurgent Taliban, while Al-Qaeda had largely regrouped across the border in neighboring Pakistan. Although drone strikes from Predator aircraft kept Al-Qaeda and its allies on the run, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan emerged as a haven for terrorists from Chechnya, Kashmir, the Middle East, and elsewhere. Continue reading