Political map of North America & the Caribbean 26 November 2014 (Mexican Drug War): The US responded to the September 11 attacks by declaring a "War on Terror" and invading Afghanistan (War in Afghanistan (2001-present)), where Al-Qaeda was based. More controversially, it followed this up by occupying Iraq (2003 invasion of Iraq) in 2003. Meanwhile increased security at US ports had helped turn Mexico into the main transit route of illegal drugs into the US. As the drug cartels became more powerful and violent, the Mexican government attempted to suppress them (Mexican Drug War) but with limited success.