Britain & USA Begin Airstrikes in Afghanistan
The 7th of October 2001 AD
Less than a month after the 9/11 attacks in the USA that claimed nearly 3000 lives America and Britain retaliated against the perceived centre of such terrorist activities, Afghanistan. On October 7 2001 American bombers flying at high altitude to avoid potential anti-aircraft fire dropped ordnance there. Some 50 cruise missiles were launched from submarines in the Gulf, British vessels including HMS Illustrious among them. Targets in Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad were hit.
The goal was to end the terrorist threat posed by the al-Qaeda organisation headquartered in Afghanistan and to decapitate it by killing or capturing its leader, Osama Bin Laden; and to remove the Taleban government in that country which condoned and supported Bin Laden’s activities. Initial results of the campaign were better than had been expected by many: within months the Taleban government had been removed; training camps had been hit; many terrorist operatives had been killed. But Osama Bin Laden remained at large; the Taleban would regroup; and the West was drawn into a ground war in an alien environment and culture. This in a country where Alexander the Great found “every foot of the ground is like a wall of steel;” which had defeated the British Empire at its military zenith; and which a decade earlier had humiliated the USSR.
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