Date published: September 1, 2011
THE U.S. Army Center of Military History provided Soldiers magazine with a compilation of data, illustrating some of the key events that have occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past 10 years. This compilation is not meant to be all-inclusive. It lists a sampling of events and figures which are meant to illustrate some of the efforts taken in last decade. The data is from open source materials, which may be found listed at the end of each section. All data was compiled by the U.S. Army Center of Military History.
*Figures are through May 31, 2011. Data is from the Defense Manpower Data Center.
**Boots on the ground data, where listed, is from "Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues" by Amy Belasco.
Sept. 9 - Ahmad Shah Masood, a legendary guerilla fighter and leader of the primary opposition to the Taliban, is assassinated - the assassins posed as journalists. The event exposes the Taliban's protection of Osama bin Laden, and serves to strengthen Taliban unity against the West.
Sept. 1 1 - Al-Qaida hijackers commandeer four passenger planes from U.S. airports. Three of the planes are flown into the Pentagon in Washington and the World Trade Center towers in New York City. The buildings, symbols of U.S. economic and global influence, become icons of the war on terrorism. The fourth plane crashes into a Pennsylvania field after passengers storm the cockpit, refusing to allow the terrorists to crash into another target. The devastation in New York and Washington becomes the catalyst for the war on terrorism.
October - Osama bin Laden has been identified as being responsible for orchestrating the Sept. 1 1 attacks in the United States. After its leaders refuse to turn over Osama bin Laden, Operation Enduring Freedom is launched, with U.S. and British forces launching air strikes into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Australia, Germany and France commit to military assistance.
November - Coalition forces march into Kabul days after seizing the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.
Boots on the ground: 2,000; 11 total U.S. deaths in Afghanistan for the year*
May - The UN Security Council extends International Security ForceAfghanistan until December 2002. The coalition force is a NATO-led contingent established to provide stability and security within Afghanistan.
July - Afghan Vice President Haji Abdul Qadir is assassinated in Kabul.
September - Afghan President Hamid Karzai survives an assassination attempt in Kandahar.
49 total U.S. deaths for the year*
August - NATO assumes control of security in Kabul, marking the first time in its history it has assumed control of a city outside of Europe.
Boots on the ground: 4,100; 45 total U.S. deaths for the year*
January - A Loya Jirga (grand assembly) adopts a new constitution. The act provides for a stronger presidency.
March - Afghanistan negotiates a deal to receive $8.2 billion in aid over three years. Abuses of prisoners at the Bagram Detention Center are publicized. The resulting loss of confidence and trust in U.S. forces creates public dissension at home and in Afghanistan.
October/November - With high voter turnout and peaceful polling, Hamid Karzai wins the Afghanistan presidential election with 55 percent of the vote.
Boots on the ground: 9,800; 52 total U.S. deaths for the year*
September - Afghanistan's first parliamentary and provincial elections are held. This marks the first time in more than 30 years for such voting.
December - The newly elected Afghan parliament conducts its first session.
Boots on the ground: 18,700; 98 total U.S. deaths for the year*
February - International donors meeting in London pledge more than $10 billion in reconstruction aid through 2010.
May/June - Violent anti-U.S. protests erupt after a U.S. military vehicle crashes into several people, killing them. Scores of Afghans are killed in batdes between Taliban fighters and Afghan/coalition forces.
July - NATO troops assume the lead on military operations conducted in southern Afghanistan. Fierce fighting erupts in Taliban strongholds as the Afghan government tries to extend its influence.
October - NATO assumes full security responsibility for Afghanistan.
December - The U.S. Air Force airdrops 3.5 million pounds of materiel to locations throughout the country.
Boots on the ground: 20,300; 98 total U.S. deaths for the year*
March - Pakistan claims to have captured Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, reportedly the third most senior member of the Taliban Leadership Council. Heavy fighting commences on Helmand Province as NATO and Afghan forces launch the largest operation to date in the south. The Shinwar massacre occurs.
May - Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's most senior military commander, is killed in battles with U.S. and Afghan forces. Afghan and Pakistani troops clash in a series of border incidents, marking the worst violence in decades.
July - The Taliban kidnaps a group of South Korean Christians. Two are murdered, with the remaining hostages freed over several weeks.
August - UN reports indicate that opium production has soared to record highs.
December - Afghan officials accuse two senior European Union and UN envoys of making contact with the Taliban. The pair is expelled from the country. 8.12 million pounds of materiel is airdropped over the year, supporting operations within the region.
Boots on the ground: 26,000; 117 total U.S. deaths for the year*
February - Prince Harry is pulled out of Afghanistan after his location is revealed. He had served for 1 0 weeks in Helmand Province.
June - The Taliban orchestrates enormous jailbreaks, releasing 800-plus insurgents. The British defense secretary announces UK troop numbers will exceed 8,000 in the spring of 2009, its highest total to date.
July - A suicide bomber attacks the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 50 people. Karzai blames Pakistani Intelligence, who deny participation.
September - President George W Bush authorizes an additional 4,500 troops for operations in Afghanistan.
October - Germany expands Afghanistan troop presence from 1,000 to 4,500.
November - Taliban leaders reject peace talks with Karzai, refusing to negotiate until foreign troops leave.
December - Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari agree to joint operations to fight militants in the Afghan/Pakistan border regions. 16.57 million pounds of materiel is airdropped to various locations in support of operations in 2008.
Boots on the ground: 27,000; 155 total U.S. deaths for the year*
February - Up to 20 NATO countries pledge to increase military and other commitments after the U.S. announces plans to add 17,000 additional troops.
March - President Barack Obama reveals a new strategy for 4,000 more troops to train Afghan army and police forces.
May - General Stanley McCrystal replaces Gen. David McKiernan. The largest drug seizure ever in Helmand Province nets 60 insurgents and more than 100 tons of drugs.
August - Presidential elections are held, but tainted by Taliban attacks at polling centers, low turnout and accusations of fraud.
November - After Abdullah Abdullah withdraws from the election, Karzai wins with 55 percent of the votes and is sworn in for a second term.
December - Obama boosts U.S. troop strength to 100,000. Seven CIA agents are killed in an al-Qaida suicide attack in Khost. In 2009, 32.26 million pounds of materiel is air dropped to personnel conducting operations in austere locations.
311 total U.S. deaths for the year*
January - Parliament rejects three-fourths of Karzai's 24 cabinet nominations.
February - Operations in Helmand Province take place to establish government control in the south of that area.
July - Wikileaks releases thousands of classified U.S. military documents related to Afghanistan. Karzai's timetable for security control by 2014 is endorsed. General David Petreaus assumes command of U.S. and NATO International Security Assistance forces. There are 65 U.S. casualties in July. This marks the highest single month of casualties during the war in Afghanistan.
August - 30,000 additional U.S. troops arrive in country. The Pentagon releases a statement expecting increased casualties.
November - NATO agrees to hand over control of security to Afghan forces by the end of 20 14.
December - Airmen supporting deployed airdrop operations in Afghanistan airdrop a record 60.4 million pounds of cargo to austere locations throughout the country.
499 total U.S. deaths for the year*
January - U.S. forces suffer 25 casualties, the lowest monthly total since April 2010. Karzai visits Russia to discuss cooperation.
March/April - A cache sweep intended to disrupt a Taliban spring offensive in southeast Afghanistan results in the deaths of 130 insurgents and six U.S. Soldiers.
May - Osama bin Laden is killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Special Forces. His body is buried at sea.
June 6 - The White House issues a statement that the U.S. will soon reduce troop levels by 15,000. Petreaus is confirmed as the new CIA chief. Marine Gen. John Allen will be his replacement as commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
155 total U.S. deaths for the year*