Northern Eurasia 2001: US invasion of Afghanistan
On 11 September 2001 terrorists attacked the US, destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. NATO and Russia quickly agreed to assist the US in their bid to bring the perpetrators of the attack—Al Qaeda operatives based in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan—to justice. In October the US launched an offensive in Afghanistan, allowing its Afghan allies to overthrow the Taliban by the end of the year.
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.
12 Sep 2001 NATO invokes Article 5▲
In response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the North Atlantic Council announced that, should the attacks prove to have been directed from abroad, it would regard them as being covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty (which states that an armed attack against a NATO member shall be considered as an attack against them all). When investigations concluded that the attacks came from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, NATO fully invoked Article 5 for the first time on 2 October 2001.
13 Sep 2001 NATO-Russia joint statement▲
The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council expressed its anger at the horror inflicted by the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States and called on the entire international community to “unite in the struggle against terrorism”. When it was determined that the attacks had been orchestrated by Al Qaeda, based in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the Russian Federation supported the United States by sharing intelligence and contacts with Washington, by allowing the US-led coalition to send logistical and military supplies through Russian territory, by encouraging the former-Soviet Central Asian states to provide bases to the US, and by supplying arms to the new Afghan government.
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.