Operation Enduring Freedom Fast Facts

Updated 4:58 PM EDT, Sun October 4, 2020
(CNN) —  

Here’s a look at Operation Enduring Freedom, which began on October 7, 2001 with allied air strikes on Taliban and al Qaeda targets. The United States linked the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to al Qaeda, a group that operated under the Taliban regime’s protection in Afghanistan. The operation was launched to stop the Taliban from providing a safe haven to al Qaeda and to stop al Qaeda’s use of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities.


October 7, 2001 - Operation Enduring Freedom begins. US President George W. Bush announces that US and British forces have begun airstrikes on Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan. Airstrikes continue for five days.

October 14, 2001 - The Taliban offers to discuss giving Osama bin Laden to a third country for trial if the United States provides evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in the September 11 attacks. The White House rejects the offer.

October 19, 2001 - The Pentagon reports that US forces have searched a compound used by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. This is the first acknowledged ground action of OEF.

October 26, 2001 - British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram tells the House of Commons that Britain is deploying a force of 4,200 military personnel to Afghanistan.

November 1, 2001 - Turkey announces it will deploy troops to Afghanistan. Australia and Canada also agree to send forces.

November 5, 2001 - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the United States has more than doubled the number of its troops based in Afghanistan.

November 6, 2001 - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder offers up to 3,900 troops for the effort.

November 7, 2001 - Italy says it will provide 2,700 troops.

November 9, 2001 - The Netherlands announces that they are prepared to send up to 1,400 troops to Afghanistan.

November 13, 2001 - US airstrikes and ground attacks by the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance lead to the fall of Kabul.

November 16, 2001 - French troops deploy for Afghanistan.

November 20, 2001 - The bodies of four journalists missing in Afghanistan are recovered. The journalists were on the road between Jalalabad and Kabul when their convoy was attacked.

November 22, 2001 - Poland agrees to contribute up to 300 soldiers to OEF.

December 2-5, 2001 - The United Nations hosts the Bonn Conference in Germany. The resulting Bonn Agreement creates an Afghan Interim Authority and outlines a process for creating a new constitution and choosing a new government.

December 7, 2001 - The Taliban loses its last major stronghold as the city of Kandahar falls and opposition forces enter.

December 20, 2001 - The United Nations authorizes the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to provide security support to the Afghans. The United Kingdom agrees to lead the force initially.

December 22, 2001 - Hamid Karzai is sworn in as head of an interim power-sharing government.

January 23, 2002 - Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is abducted in Karachi, Pakistan, by the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, which claims the kidnapping is in retaliation for the detention of Pakistanis at Guantanamo Bay.

January 27, 2002 - Media organizations receive the first email from Pearl’s captors, which includes photos of reporter Daniel Pearl handcuffed with a gun to his head.

February 21, 2002 - FBI and Pakistani officials announce they have received a videotape that confirms Pearl has been killed.

March 25, 2002 - Rumsfeld announces that there are plans under way for US and coalition forces to help train and create an Afghan national army.

June 13, 2002 - Karzai is elected to a two-year presidential term by the grand council, a gathering of Afghanistan’s tribal leaders.

August 9, 2003 - NATO assumes responsibility for the ISAF mission.

January 2004 - Afghanistan passes a new constitution by consensus.

October 9, 2004 - Afghanistan’s first direct democratic election is held.

December 7, 2004 - Karzai is sworn in as the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan.

September 18, 2005 - The first parliamentary and provincial elections are held in more than three decades.

March 1, 2006 - US President Bush makes his first visit to Afghanistan and meets with Afghan President Karzai.

February 27, 2007 - A suicide bomber blows up a checkpoint at Bagram Air Base, killing more than 20. Taliban insurgents claim US Vice President Dick Cheney was the target of the attack.

February 15, 2007 - Bush calls on NATO to increase troops in Afghanistan. There are already about 50,000 US and NATO troops there.

May 11, 2007 - The Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Dadullah, is killed in a US-led coalition operation.

July 19, 2008 - Democratic US presidential nominee Barack Obama makes his first visit to Afghanistan.

December 15, 2008 - Bush makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan. It is his second and last visit as president.

February 17, 2009 - US President Obama approves a troop increase of 17,000 for Afghanistan. There are currently about 38,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan.

June 30, 2009 - US soldier Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl is taken hostage by the Taliban. He is released five years later in 2014.

August 20, 2009 - Afghanistan holds its second election. Voting fraud allegations lead to the scheduling of a presidential runoff vote on November 7.

October 31, 2009 - A runoff election is canceled when Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah drops out, leaving Karzai as the only candidate and winner by default.

November 19, 2009 - Karzai is sworn in for a second term as president.

December 1, 2009 - Obama announces the deployment in 2010 of 30,000 additional US troops. This new deployment will bring the US total to almost 100,000 troops, in addition to 40,000 NATO troops.

January 2010 - Representatives from over 60 nations meet in London for the International Conference on Afghanistan, pledging to support the development of the Afghan National Security Forces.

March 28, 2010 - US President Obama makes his first visit to Afghanistan as president.

August 1, 2010 - The Netherlands becomes the first NATO member to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan.

August 5, 2010 - Ten aid workers are killed by gunmen in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. Among the dead are six Americans, two Afghans, a Briton and a German.

September 18, 2010 - Parliamentary elections are held. Results are delayed following allegations of fraud.

December 3, 2010 - US President Obama visits for the third time, the second as president.

May 2, 2011 - In the early morning hours, a small group of US Forces, including Navy Seals, raid a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In the ensuing firefight, bin Laden is killed. DNA samples are taken to confirm his identity, then his body is buried at sea.

June 22, 2011 - Obama announces that all 33,000 additional US forces deployed to Afghanistan in December 2009 will return home within the next 15 months. He also announces that US combat operations in Afghanistan will end by 2014.

July 13, 2011 - The first batch of departing US soldiers leaves Afghanistan. About 650 US soldiers leave the northeastern province of Parwan.

August 6, 2011 - Insurgents shoot down a helicopter in central Afghanistan, killing 30 US coalition members, seven Afghan troops and a civilian interpreter.

August 10, 2011 - NATO announces that Coalition forces in Afghanistan have killed Mullah Mohibullah, the Taliban leader and insurgent responsible for the downing of the helicopter that left 38 US and Afghan personnel dead.

August 2011 - August becomes the deadliest month for US forces in Afghanistan since the conflict began, with 71 US casualties.

September 10, 2011 - Two Afghan civilians are killed, and 77 US troops and 25 Afghan workers are wounded when a Taliban suicide bomber detonates a large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at the entrance of Combat Outpost Sayed Abad, an ISAF base in Afghanistan’s Wardak province.

September 13, 2011 - Taliban militants open fire near the US Embassy and NATO’s Inter