What’s happening in Afghanistan? How did the war begin?

Afghanistan is 'new safe haven for terror' says Tobias Ellwood

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The US, UK and other foreign forces have started to pull out of Afghanistan. This has left a vacuum the Taliban has since started to fill, taking territory across the country. How did the war begin?

Why did US troops enter Afghanistan?

Foreign troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years.

In 2001 a devastating terrorist attack took place in the US when the 9/11 terror attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.

The US responded to this by demanding the leader of the terrorist group responsible for the attacks should be handed over to them.

Osama Bin Laden was head of Al-Qaeda the group behind the attacks.

Bin Laden was in Afghanistan and the Islamist group, the Taliban, who had been in power since 1996, gave Bin Laden their protection.

The US responded with military action, they soon removed the Taliban and vowed to eliminate the terrorist threat in the country.

How did the war unfold?

After an initial defeat, the militants soon regrouped and fought back against the American military in Afghanistan.

Nato allies joined the US army in 2003 to fight against the Taliban.

A new Afghan government took over in 2004 with US and Nato support and their first president under the new constitution is elected.

In 2006 British troops were deployed to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, a stronghold region for the Taliban.

In 2011 Bin Laden, who had been in hiding, was assassinated by US Navy Seals after a 10 year CIA led manhunt.

Throughout the 20 years the US troops had been stationed in Afghanistan, the Taliban continued to fight back.

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The Afghan conflict has become America’s longest war.

Periods where foreign forces pushed back the Taliban, such as former president Barack Obama’s “troop surge” in 2009, was met with later gains by the Taliban.

In February 2020 an “agreement for bringing peace” to Afghanistan was signed between the US and the Taliban, in Doha, Qatar.

In this agreement the US and Nato allies committed to withdrawing all troops within 14 months if the Taliban upheld their side of the deal.

Many Nato forces have already be withdrawn, US troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan exactly 20 years since 9/11, by September 11, 2021.

However now Taliban fighters could isolate Afghanistan’s capital in 30 days and possibly take it over in 90, a US defence official has said.

The Islamists now control 65 percent of Afghanistan and have taken or threaten to take 11 provincial capitals, a senior EU official said this week.

Faizabad, in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, on Wednesday became the eighth provincial capital to be seized by the Taliban.

Spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, said the attacks were against the spirit of a 2020 agreement.

The Taliban committed to talks on a peace accord which would lead to a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” Mr Price said on Wednesday.

He added: “All indications at least suggest the Taliban are instead pursuing a battlefield victory.

“Attacking provincial capitals and targeting civilians is inconsistent with the spirit of the agreement.”

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