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Afghanistan. How and Why We Went There. The war in Afghanistan and America's Battle with Al Qaeda spring directly from the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan. Soviets invade Afghanistan Christmas Eve 1979

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afghanistan

Afghanistan

How and Why We Went There

slide2

The war in Afghanistan and America's Battle with Al Qaeda spring directly from the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

soviet union invades afghanistan
Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan
  • Soviets invade Afghanistan Christmas Eve 1979
    • Rescue a communist government under attack by Islamic rebels
  • A grueling 10-year war followed and led to:
    • Collapse of the Soviet Union
    • Emergence of Islamic guerrilla fighters
      • Evolved into the Taliban and Al Qaeda
    • Al Qaeda's terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001
      • Forced the U.S into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that continue today
afghan russo war
Afghan Russo War
  • Soviets had over 80,000 troops in the field
    • They quickly discovered that conventional forces were of little use in a place like Afghanistan
      • It is a country of rugged terrain and harsh weather
      • It is a collection of tribes not a united country
        • Attack from many places and with many different tactics
  • Afghanistan’s difficult to rule, impossible to conquer
    • “Time doesn’t concern us, we have been fighting for centuries”
    • Soviet tanks/troops were no use in mountains and canyons
  • Only weapon the guerrillas could not effectively combat was helicopters
help from the u s
Help From the U.S.
  • Soviets began turning their guns and rockets on villages
    • Terrorize the population and tried to discourage resistance
  • Soviet Union was a major enemy of the U.S.
    • "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
    • America's new friends were Islamic guerillas known as the Mujahedeen
      • "holy warriors"
  • U.S. began arming the mujahedeen with Stinger missiles
    • Shoulder-fired rockets that could hit their targets 3 miles away
    • Mujahedeen could shoot down Soviet aircraft
  • Mujahedeen battle the Soviet Union to a stalemate
    • Soviets give up and leave Afghanistan in 1989
cost of the war
Cost of the War
  • 1.5 million Afghans died of a population of 15 million
    • Hundreds of thousands of civilians
  • Chaos reigned as tribal bands of the mujahedeen battled for leadership
  • Before war U.S. said they would rebuild/ modernize Afghanistan after the war, but we never did
    • This enrages many Afghans and Mujahedeen
  • From the chaos emerged the Taliban
    • Young men who were Islamic extremists
    • Determined to restore order and implement a radical Muslim code of behavior
cost of the war1
Cost of the War
  • At first, the Taliban were welcomed by Afghans
    • As they got more powerful the people feared them
    • Afghans were forced to follow “Sharia” or Islamic law
      • Public executions for minor offenses were common
      • Women and girls had no rights
        • No work, no school, no appearing in public without being covered
        • Could be stoned to death for adultery
        • Shot for offenses as insignificant as wearing nail polish
osama bin laden emerges
Osama Bin Laden Emerges
  • Millionaire from Saudi Arabia
  • Came to Afghanistan to fight in the holy war against the Soviet Union
  • Welcomed by the Taliban after the war
    • Worked with a growing group of angry Islamic extremists who became known as Al Qaeda (“the base”)
    • Began plotting terror against the U.S. because they did not rebuild Afghanistan
osama and al qaeda
Osama and Al Qaeda
  • Exact number of terrorist acts committed by Al Qaeda is not known
    • Some say as many as 50
    • Most notorious were the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001
      • Almost 3,000 people were killed by 19 suicide hijackers
  • American Response in 2001/ 2003
    • President Bush sent forces into Afghanistan to find Osama
    • President Bush sent forces into Iraq to find Osama
      • Bush accused Iraq of aiding Al Qaeda and harboring weapons of mass destruction
        • Both claims turned out to be false
afghanistan and osama bin laden 2011
Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden 2011
  • Afghanistan
    • Taliban government wastechnically removed… but they have regrouped
    • We are still fighting Al Qaeda
  • Osama Bin Laden
    • Spent nine years escaping U.S. troops in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan
    • Eventually found and killed on May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan