War on Terrorism
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DateSeptember 29, 2001 - present
LocationMiddle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Horn of Africa, Eastern Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, more...

  • Fall of the first Taliban government
  • Destruction of al-Qaeda
  • Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri killed
  • Humanitarian reconstruction of Pashtunistan
  • Legislative elections held in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Taliban insurgency
  • War in North-West Pakistan
  • Piracy actions in Somalia
  • American Quagmire in Iraq
  • Counter-terrorist operations worldwide
Main participants:
* Flag of the United States United States
  • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Flag of NATO NATO
  • 780px-Flag of al-Qaeda.svg al-Qaeda
  • Flag of Taliban Taliban
Political leadership:
Flag of the United States George W. Bush
(U.S. President 2001 –2009)
Flag of the United States Barack Obama
(U.S. President 2009 – 2013)
Flag of the United Kingdom Tony Blair
(UK Prime Minister 1997 – 2007)
Flag of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown
(UK Prime Minister 2007-2015)
Flag of NATO George Robertson
(NATO Secretary General 1999 – 2004)
Flag of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
(NATO Secretary General 2004 – present)

Military commanders:
Flag of the United States Gen. Tommy Franks
(CENTCOM commander 2000 – 2003)
Flag of the United States Gen. John Abizaid
(CENTCOM commander 2003 – 2006)
Flag of the United States David Petraeus
(CENTCOM commander 2006 – present)
Flag of the United Kingdom Adm. Sir Michael Boyce
(Chief of the Defence Staff 2001 – 2003)
Flag of the United Kingdom Gen. Sir Michael Walker
(Chief of the Defence Staff 2003 – 2006)
Flag of the United Kingdom ACM Sir Jock Stirrup
(Chief of the Defence Staff 2006 – present)
780px-Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Osama bin Laden
780px-Flag of al-Qaeda.svgAyman al-Zawahiri
Flag of Taliban Mohammed Omar
Flag of Taliban Obaidullah Akhund
Flag of Taliban Mullah Dadullah
Flag of Taliban Mullah Bakht Mohammed
Flag of Taliban Jalaluddin Haqqani

Military casualties:
~24,450 dead
~47,600+ injured
Killed in action:
~64,114 to 68,864+ dead

Civilian casualties
Exact number unclear.

The War on Terrorism, (also referred to as the US Jihadist War, Global War on Terror, or Overseas Contingency Operation) is the common term for the military, political, legal and ideological conflict against Islamic terrorism and Islamic militants, and specifically used in reference to operations by the United States and their allies in NATO and the United Nations, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The stated objectives of the war in the US are to protect the citizens of the US and allies, to protect the business interests of the US and allies at home and abroad, break up terrorist cells in the US, and disrupt the activities of the international network of terrorist organizations made up of a number of groups under the umbrella of al-Qaeda.

Both the term and the policies the war denoted were a source of controversy in its day, as critics argued it had been used to justify unilateral preemptive war, human rights abuses and other violations of international law. In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid use of the term, instead using "Overseas Contingency Operation". The war has been over since the end of the US led war in Afghanistan in 2014.

Theaters of WarEdit


On September 20, 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, then President George W. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban government of Afghanistan to turn over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or face attack. The Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden's link to the September 11 attacks and, if such evidence warranted a trial, they offered to handle such a trial in an Islamic Court. The US refused to provide any evidence.

In October 2001 US forces (with some coalition allies) invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime which had control of the country. On October 7, 2001 the official invasion began with British and US forces conducting aerial bombing campaigns.

Waging war in Afghanistan had been of a lower priority for the US government than the war in Iraq for the first 7 years. Admiral Mike Mullen, Staff Chairman the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while the situation in Afghanistan is "precarious and urgent," the 10,000 additional troops needed there would be unavailable "in any significant manner" unless withdrawals from Iraq are made. Mullen stated that "my priorities . . . given to me by the commander in chief are: Focus on Iraq first. It's been that way for some time. Focus on Afghanistan second." It wasn't until the Obama administration that Afghanistan was once again made the first war to fight. Upon entering office and recalling troops from Iraq, President Obama ordered an increase of almost 70 thousand more troops to Afghanistan to aid the country before its general elections in August 2009.

Following the Afghanistan general elections and the rampant evidence of voter fraud, the US began to reexamine military strategy in the region. By November 2009, President Obama announced that the US would be concentrating all efforts in Afghanistan in the Pashtunistan mountains, focusing more on drone strikes, special opperations, and development of the region. Military efforts were also moved to aid Pakistan as well.

In 2014 Osama bin Laden and the majority of the al Qaeda leadership were killed in a Delta force strike in the Swath Valley in Pakistan. With Pashtunistan becoming a quasi-independent state thanks to US humanitarian efforts, the US ordered an end of combat operation on October 3rd, 2014.


Iraq had been listed as a state sponsor of international terrorism by the United States since the Gulf War . The regime of Saddam Hussein proved a continuing problem for the UN and Iraq’s neighbors in its use of chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds. After the 9/11 attacks, the US government claimed that Iraq was an actual threat to the United States because Iraq could use its previously known chemical weapons to aid terrorist groups.

The second Bush administration called for the United Nations Security Council to again send weapons inspectors to Iraq to find and destroy the alleged weapons of mass destruction and for a UNSC resolution. The Iraqi government subsequently allowed UN inspectors to access Iraqi sites, while the US government continued to assert that Iraq was being obstructionist.

In October 2002, a large bipartisan majority in the United States Congress under pressure from the Bush administration authorized the president to use force if necessary to disarm Iraq in order to "prosecute the war on terrorism." After failing to overcome opposition from European allies as well as the Security Council, the United States assembled a "Coalition of the Willing" composed of nations who pledged support for its policy of regime change in Iraq. This coalition had very few major militaries other than the US, save for the UK, and is widely considered to have been largely pointless.

On March 20, 2003, the invasion of Iraq was launched. The Bush administration insisted the invasion was the "serious consequences" spoken of in UNSC Resolution 1441. Iraq's government was quickly toppled and on May 1, 2003, Bush stated that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, with the infamous "Mission Accomplished" incident. While the war was won, the occupation of Iraq quickly descended into a quagmire, and a number of insurgencies soon appeared in the wake of the Hussein Regime.

Elements of the Sunni insurgency were led by fugitive members of President Hussein's Ba'ath regime, which included Iraqi nationalists and pan-Arabists. A separate insurgency of Shia militants also arose in defiance of the Ba'ath and were allies of convenience for the US.

After months of brutal violence against Iraqi civilians, in January 2007 President Bush presented a new strategy for Operation Iraqi Freedom based upon counter-insurgency theories and tactics developed by General David Petraeus, which were in turn adapted by former Secretary of State Powell. This culminated in a troop surge in 2007 and US financial coercion of Sunni groups it had previously sought to defeat. These tactics decreased violence, but ultimately failed to make any major political contribution. By 2011 all combat operations in Iraq under the US had ended and the country soon divided into three new states (Kurdistan, Sunni Republic, Shiite Republic).

Today the Iraq War is synonymous with poor planning, cronyism, and the failures of the Bush administration.

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