War on Terror

Post-Cold War Europe

Europe 2003.0413

War on Terror

Europe after the Cold War (13 April 2003)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

On September 11, 2001, the Islamist terrorist organization of al-Qaeda launched multiple suicide attacks in the United States. The US responded with a a global military campaign to destroy al-Qaeda and its affiliates. First it overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda's primary hosts. Then, more controversially, it invaded Iraq (which was hostile to the US but had no clear links to world terrorism).

Main Events

Second Chechen War

In 1999, the militant group Islamic International Brigade invaded Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya, establishing a pretext for Russia to invade and finally crush the Chechen rebellion. The Russian invasion force vastly outnumbered the Chechens and easily captured the province.

September 11 Attacks

On the morning of 11 September 2001, nineteen members of the terrorist group Al Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes, crashing two into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia; the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania en route to Washington, DC. The vast majority of the damage was done to the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which both completely collapsed within an hour and 42 minutes of being struck. The attacks killed almost 3,000 people, injured some 6,000 more, and caused at least $10 billion in property damage.

Operation Enduring Freedom

Following the September 11 Attacks, the United States joined forces with NATO and a coalition of other states to intervene in Afghanistan, supporting the Northern Alliance against the rival Taliban regime which was harboring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The Allies invaded Afghanistan on 7 October, with the Northern Alliance capturing the capital Kabul on 13 November.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Alleging that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, the United States formed a "Coalition of the Willing" to invade the country in March 2003. Although Coalition forces defeated the ruling Ba'ath Party by early May of that year, no such weapons were found, and a state of war continued to exist between the Coalition and domestic insurgent groups until US withdrawal in 2011.

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