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Initially, the war appeared to have been won with relative ease. On the same day, aboard the aircraft carrier USS , President Bush announced that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended.” At that time, there were 8,000 U. Parliamentary elections were staged a year later, with dozens of women claiming seats set aside for them to ensure gender diversity.

The 2004 constitution provided Afghanistan with a powerful central government and weak regional and local authorities—a structure that was in opposition to the country’s long-standing traditions.

On December 24, 1979, Soviet tanks rumbled across the Amu Darya River and into Afghanistan, ostensibly to restore stability following a coup that brought to power a pair of Marxist-Leninist political groups—the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party. officials hoped that by partnering with the Afghans they could avoid deploying a large force to Afghanistan.

But the Soviet presence touched off a nationwide rebellion by Islamist fighters, who won extensive covert backing from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States and who were joined in their fight by foreign volunteers. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) team known as Jawbreaker arriving in the country and, working with anti-Taliban allies, initiating a strategy for overthrowing the regime. Pentagon officials were especially concerned that the United States not be drawn into a protracted occupation of Afghanistan, as had occurred with the Soviets more than two decades prior.

More than 20 other countries also lost troops during the war, though many—such as Germany and Italy—chose to focus their forces in the north and the west, where the insurgency was less potent.

Between January 2005 and August 2006, Afghanistan endured 64 suicide attacks—a tactic that had been virtually unknown in the country’s history before then.

With al-Qaeda’s help, the Taliban won control of over 90 percent of Afghan territory by the summer of 2001. In the aftermath of the attacks, the administration of U. They also helped coordinate targeting for the air campaign, which began on October 7, 2001, with U. and British war planes pounding Taliban targets, thus marking the public start of Operation Enduring Freedom. It had been besieged by a force led by Karzai that moved in from the north and one commanded by Gul Agha Sherzai that advanced from the south; both operated with heavy assistance from the United States.

On September 9 of that year, al-Qaeda hit men carried out the assassination of famed mujahideen leader Ahmad Shah Masoud, who at the time was leading the Northern Alliance (a loose coalition of mujahideen militias that maintained control of a small section of northern Afghanistan) as it battled the Taliban and who had unsuccessfully sought greater U. In late October, Northern Alliance forces began to overtake a series of towns formerly held by the Taliban. As the Taliban leadership retreated into Afghanistan’s rural areas and across the border to Pakistan, anti-Taliban figures convened at a United Nations (UN)-sponsored conference in Bonn, Germany.

The Taliban’s resurgence corresponded with a rise in anti-American and anti-Western sentiment among Afghans. For commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, however, it was apparent that the Taliban intended to escalate its campaign, launching more frequent attacks and intensifying its fund-raising from wealthy individuals and groups in the Persian Gulf.

Those feelings were nurtured by the sluggish pace of reconstruction, allegations of prisoner abuse at U. detention facilities, widespread corruption in the Afghan government, and civilian casualties caused by U. Another source of money was Afghanistan’s resurgent opium industry.

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