E. U.S. Wars in Afghanistan & Iraq

Invasion of Afghanistan 

On September 11, 2001, nineteen al-Qaeda members attacked the United States. The terrorists were following orders from their leader, Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden is the leader of the terrorist network al-Qaeda. He was born in Saudi Arabia, but at the time of the attack he was living in Afghanistan. He was being protected by another Islamic fundamentalist group called the Taliban.

After the attack against the United States took place, the U.S. government asked the Taliban to turn Osama bin Laden over to them. The terrorist network refused to turn him. Therefore the United States decided to invade Afghanistan to attack the Taliban and al-Qaeda and to capture terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden. On October 2001 the United States started attacking Taliban air defenses, airfields, and command centers. They also attacked several al-Qaeda training sites and searched for the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.  The United States have not yet found the al-Qaeda leader, but the search continues. In an effort to destroy the terrorist networks and find Osama bin Laden; the United State allied with rebel groups to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Before the invasion took place, the Taliban was in control of the Afghanistan government and by December 2001 they no longer held control of it. The U.S. had managed to seize control of the government from the Taliban and help Afghanistan establish a new democratic government. People in Afghanistan are now able to participate in the government and hold free elections.

However during the past few years, the Taliban are regaining power and are trying to destroy all progress that was made before. The Taliban still wishes to seize control of the government again; however U.S. forces still remain in Afghanistan to help the new Afghanistan government, keep peace and improve stability.

Invasion of Iraq/Operation Iraqi Freedom

During the early 2000’s the United States thought that Saddam Hussein and his government was creating and hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Weapons of mass destruction are very deadly weapons that can wipe out millions of people. The United States and Britain insisted that Iraq be searched for WMDs, many countries on the other hand thought that Iraq was not hiding any WMDs. After many arguments, the United Nations asked Saddam Hussein to let inspectors inside his country to inspect the WMDs. Some of the inspectors that were allowed into Iraq said that the Iraqi government was not cooperating with the inspection.

United States and Britain warned Hussein to remove any WMDs. President George W. Bush later stated that Hussein was large threat to the world.  Some countries like France and Germany did not agree with what the U.S. and Britain were saying. They believed that they should be looking for weapons in other countries.

On March 17, 2003 President Bush warned Saddam Hussein and his government to leave the country within 48 hours or else they would face a military strike. Saddam Hussein and his government refused to leave their country; after two days a coalition led by the United States and England took place. The first attacked was an air strike that was launched towards the city of Baghdad (Iraq’s capital). The next day, coalition forces invaded Iraq through Kuwait. During the invasion of Iraq, U.S. forces searched for WMDs, however no WMDs were found in Iraq.

Many months later, Saddam Hussein’s government had collapsed and he was no longer in control.

Regardless of the victory, a lot of work needed to be done in Iraq, especially rebuilding the nation. U.S. forces remained in Iraq to manage the rebuilding of Iraq and to keep peace between many religions and ethnic groups. A new democratic government was established in Iraq and now people may hold free elections. However violence still continues in that country, many of Iraq’s religious and ethnic groups are fighting each other.

Even though Saddam Hussein went missing during the invasion, he was later captured, placed on trial, and executed for his crimes.

As of August 2010 U.S. troops are starting to pull out of Iraq and only 50,000 are to remain to support and protect Iraq’s new government.

U.S. Wars in Afghanistan & Iraq


Invasion of Afghanistan
  • al-Qaeda terrorists attack the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.
  • al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is protected by Taliban
  • U.S. invades Afghanistan on Oct. 2001
  • Taliban and al-Qaeda severely weakened
  • Osama bin Laden never captured
  • Taliban government replaced by democratic government
  • U.S. forces still remain in Afghanistan

Invasion of Iraq/Operation Iraqi Freedom

  • U.S. thinks Hussein has WMDs
  • U.S. invades Iraq
  • Many countries are against this decision
  • No WMDs were found
  • Saddam Hussein was captured, placed on trial, and executed
  • Dictatorship government replaced by democratic government
  • U.S. forces remain to keep peace between religious and ethnic groups


al-Qaeda- a radical Sunni Muslim terrorist group that opposes Western policies and Western presence in Arab countries; founded by Osama bin Laden

Taliban- a fundamentalist Islamic guerrilla fighters from Pakistan

WMDs - Very deadly weapons of mass destruction that can wipe out millions of people.


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