After 20 years of intervention in Afghanistan, with military occupation, fight against the extremist Taliban group, changes in American public opinion and a withdrawal full of questions, the United States announced at the end of the afternoon of this Monday (30) to have withdrawn their troops from the country.
The mission, the longest war the United States has ever been involved in, began in 2001, weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The terrorist attack was claimed by the al-Qaeda group, led by Osama bin Laden, then a refugee in Afghanistan, which justified the invasion.
During the two decades, according to a study by Brown University (USA), approximately 160,000 people died (including 2,298 American soldiers, 3,814 mercenaries, 1,145 allies and the rest Afghans). The cost was $ 2.26 trillion, a figure the Pentagon estimates at $ 1 billion.
Recall some of the highlights of the 20-year US occupation of Afghanistan, based on information from the Council on Foreign Relations, an institution that studies US international affairs.
September 11, 2001: Terrorists from the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda hijack four commercial planes. Two of them crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New Yok; the third crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, and the fourth crashes into a field in Pennsylvania. About 3,000 people died in the attacks.
In response, US President Republican George W. Bush promises to “win the war on terror” and accuses the Taliban, the ruling group in Afghanistan, of harboring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. .
October 7, 2001: The American and British armies start bombing Afghanistan against the Taliban. Canada, Australia, Germany and France promise future support.
November 2001: The Taliban regime quickly dissolves with attacks, and the UN calls for a central role in establishing a transitional administration in Afghanistan.
December 2001: The international coalition defeats the Taliban, who surrendered on December 6.
April 2002: Bush calls for the reconstruction of Afghanistan in a speech to the Virginia Military Institute. The US Congress committed more than $ 38 billion in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2009.
January 2004: An assembly of 502 Afghan delegates agree on a constitution for Afghanistan, creating a strong presidential system designed to unite the country’s many ethnic groups.
October 2004: Bin Laden appears in a video, a few days before the US presidential election, in which Bush is re-elected, and claims responsibility for the attacks on the World Trade Center.
July 2006: Violence escalates across Afghanistan, with several suicide attacks.
November 2006: NATO (Western Military Alliance) Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer sets a target that by 2008 the Afghan National Army will begin to take control of security in the country.
February 2009: New US President Barack Obama announces his intention to send 17,000 additional troops to the war zone. In January 2009, the Pentagon already had 37,000 troops in Afghanistan, divided between the commands of the United States and NATO.
August 2009: American forces total between 60,000 and 68,000 troops in Afghanistan. Despite this, clashes with the Taliban persist inside the country.
December 2009: For the first time, an American president speaks of a deadline for an American military presence in Afghanistan: Obama defines July 2011 as the start of a troop reduction, but does not specify how long a withdrawal will take.
November 2010: At a summit in Lisbon, NATO member countries sign a declaration agreeing to transfer full responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
May 2011: Osama bin Laden is found and killed by US officials in Pakistan.
June 2011: Polls Show Record Numbers of Americans Against War; by mid-2011, more than 150,000 foreign troops were on Afghan soil, 100,000 of them Americans. Obama presents a plan to withdraw 33,000 troops by the summer of 2012. After reinforcements leave, around 70,000 American troops are expected to remain until at least 2014.
October 2011: A decade after the start of the war, losses include 1,800 American troops and $ 444 billion spent.
June 2013: Afghan forces assume responsibility for security throughout the country.
June 2014: Ashraf Ghani is elected President of Afghanistan amid allegations of fraud.
May 2014: Obama announces a timetable for the withdrawal of most US forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. The first phase of the plan called for the retention of 9,800 US troops.
December 2014: NATO ends its combat mission in Afghanistan. But according to agreements signed months earlier, 12,500 foreign troops – 9,800 Americans – remain in Afghanistan to train Afghan troops and conduct targeted operations against terrorist groups.
April 2017: Now with Donald Trump in the presidency, the United States drops its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on suspected militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Afghanistan. Trump is threatening to deploy thousands more troops, while the Taliban escalates suicide bombings.
January 2018: The Taliban carry out a series of terrorist attacks in Kabul that kill more than 115 people amid increasing violence.
February 2019: US-Taliban talks strengthen.
February 2020: The United States and the Taliban sign an agreement calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, in exchange for the country no longer being a stronghold of terrorist groups.
April 2021: President Joe Biden announces that the United States will not meet the deadline set in the deal with the Taliban to withdraw all troops by May 1 and publishes a full withdrawal plan by September 11 2021.
August 15, 2021: Amid the partial withdrawal of US troops and facing little resistance, the Taliban take control of the country, arrive in the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani leaves the country. The Taliban are taking control.
The fall of Kabul causes panic in the capital. Thousands of people flock to the airport, hoping to flee, while Western countries organize the evacuation of their citizens and those under their protection. More than 122,000 foreigners and Afghans evacuated by plane from Kabul
August 30, 2021: The United States announces the withdrawal of all its troops from Afghanistan.