Europe 2003: War on Terror
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).
26 Aug 1999–4 May 2000 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 swiftly captured the province, taking the Chechen capital Grozny on 6 February 2000. However an insurgency would continue in Chechnya until April 2009.
11 Sep 2001 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.
7 Oct–17 Dec 2001 Operation Enduring Freedom▲
After the Taliban’s refusal to assist the United States in extraditing Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11 Attacks, the United States began inserting special forces in Afghanistan in late September to coordinate with the Northern Alliance, the Taliban’s rivals. On 7 October the US began airstrikes against Taliban positions, allowing the Northern Alliance to retake northern Afghanistan and capture the capital Kabul on 13 November. By the end of December all the major Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan had fallen, bin Laden had fled to a hideout in neighboring Pakistan, and a new US-backed Afghan government was installed.
19 Mar–1 May 2003 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.