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What happened in America on September 11, 2001 changed the course of history.

The attack took place in the New York skyline when two airliners landed on the World Trade Center.

Almost 3,000 people lost their lives in a day known as September 11.

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George W Bush (left) and Tony Blair stood side by side to pledge to fight terrorism

Then-President George W Bush declared the “war on terror”.

Alongside the great ally of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Tony Blair has provided Britain’s unwavering support in the fight against the new threat of international terrorism.

In 2001 America – backed by Britain – invaded Afghanistan to root out those responsible.

They overthrew the Taliban government, which protected Osama bin Laden and sought to rid the country of al-Qaeda.

Bin Laden fled to Pakistan, but in 2002 – after less than a year in the country – America declared Afghanistan free from Al Qaeda.

But the strategic objectives have shifted and President Bush called for the reconstruction of the country.

Afghanistan: From 9/11 horror to Taliban takeover – how America’s longest war unfolded |  World news
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Kabul residents celebrate and escort Northern Alliance fighters entering Kabul on November 13, 2001

“This was never going to be a military solution in Afghanistan,” said Sir William Patey, British Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012.

“There always had to be a political solution, so in many ways the troops were abandoned by the politicians.”

He said the troops “did as they were asked” and “created the environment in which the Afghans were given the opportunity to build a better country.”

At this point, the Taliban were reorganizing themselves – their leader Mullah Omar launching an insurgency – and so followed years of bloody warfare.

Afghanistan: From 9/11 horror to Taliban takeover – how America’s longest war unfolded |  World news
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George W. Bush declares the end of major fighting in Iraq on May 2, 2003. Photo: AP

By the time British troops deployed to Helmand province in 2006, political attention and military efforts had been diverted to Iraq.

It was considered the most dangerous region in Afghanistan and the British Army found itself exposed.

The Taliban now used improvised explosive devices, called improvised explosive devices.

These homemade bombs were cheap to make and hidden in the ground by the thousands, making patrols deadly and dangerous.

Afghanistan: From 9/11 horror to Taliban takeover – how America’s longest war unfolded |  World news
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On February 29, 2020, the United States signed an agreement with the Taliban which provides for a 14-month deadline for the withdrawal of all American and NATO troops from Afghanistan.

As they got more sophisticated, they could take out entire vehicles and detonate from a distance.

Without sufficient air support, ballistic clothing and poorly armored vehicles, British soldiers suffered catastrophic injuries and death.

Snatch Land Rovers are known as movable coffins.

The most fatalities were caused by a spy plane crash in Nimrod in 2006 – all 14 British servicemen on board were killed.

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President Joe Biden has said he will withdraw the remaining US troops from Afghanistan, saying the 9/11 attacks “cannot explain” why US forces should still be there 20 years later.

A report then criticized senior military officials for sacrificing security at the expense of savings.

Lt. Col. Richard Williams, former commander of the 22nd SAS Regiment, said: “I think a lot of effort, courage, lives, limbs have been expended for a result which is in every way less than what we wanted when people walked into 2001.

“It is very difficult to judge whether any of our sacrifices today were worth it given this result.”

No one has suffered more than Afghan civilians – more than 47,000 people have died in the conflict since 2001.

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Repatriation ceremonies to the UK have raised awareness of the cost of returning home.

The public who walked the streets of Royal Wooten Basset too regularly to shed tears and pay homage to him.

This Wiltshire town has become synonymous with dead young soldiers.

The towns in Helmand where they fought – Sangin, Musa Qala, Lashkar Gah – became the everyday language of parents waiting for their children to come home.

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President Joe Biden has said he will withdraw the remaining US troops from Afghanistan, saying the 9/11 attacks “cannot explain” why US forces should still be there 20 years later.

A total of 457 British servicemen lost their lives in Afghanistan.

As the number of grieving families increased, support for the long war in Afghanistan began to wane.

British soldiers also returned home with life-changing injuries – hundreds of amputees.

But it wasn’t just the physical cost of the war – 17% of those who had combat roles suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

At its peak, 150,000 NATO troops were in Afghanistan.

When coalition fighting ended in 2014, there were only 13,000 left, helping the Afghan national security forces to fend for themselves.

As that support retreated, after 20 years of war with lives and limbs lost, the Taliban recaptured the country in just 10 days.


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