War in Afghanistan Debate

History and Debate of War in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan (2001-present) began when the United States military invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. This war is still in progress today after 9 years and 166 days. It has since been known by several other names including The War on Terror and Operation Enduring Freedom. The war was spurred by the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and remains an ongoing conflict.

The invading troops were led by the United States with the support of the North Atlantic Free Trade Organization, or NATO. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Spain, Romania, and 39 other nations all contributed to the initial effort. Over 146,000 troops were sent into Afghanistan from these various nations. The main enemies at the start of the war were the Taliban government of Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, a large terrorist organization that was behind the September 11th attacks. Other terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hi-Khalis were also targeted. New terrorist organizations have since been discovered and are being targeted as they are found.

The War on Terror has had many successes. The Taliban was dispersed and over two thirds of its leadership was destroyed. Many Al Qaeda camps were destroyed, though there are still suspicions that the Al Qaeda is still in operation from remote locations. Afghanistan was also occupied by NATO troops, which helps ensure that new terrorist groups are not coming into power. The war is still being fought adamantly, despite reduced media coverage in recent years. In December of 2009, President Obama sent an additional 30,000 troops into Afghanistan over a 6 month period. He also set a withdrawal date of 2014. He has promoted human rights and progress towards increased rights for women in Afghanistan as well.

Another goal of the War on Terror has been to improve the human rights or women and children in Afghanistan. The Taliban Party was infamous for denying women any rights and committing violence against women and girls. To this day, women in this nation have poor access to the justice system and to education. They are also often subject to physical violence. The United States and its allies hope to improve this situation.

Afghanistan War Criticism

Many critics in the War in Afghanistan debate feel that the war has been indirect in its approach and poorly managed. They tend to feel that since there is no one definite enemy, the war is set up for an indefinite conflict. Another common criticism has been the large number of civilian casualties. Somewhere between 14,000 and 26,000 innocent people have lost their lives during the war, either by becoming caught in the crossfire or in a bombing situation.

A number of protests against the war have been seen throughout the world. Though the majority of Americans were in support of the initial invasion, the majority of Americans are now opposed to the war. Many see it as an unnecessary act of aggression against the people of Afghanistan. The NATO bombing campaigns are often the focus of such sentiments. Many groups have proposed non-violent solutions to the problem in Afghanistan and wish to end the loss of civilian lives.

The War in Afghanistan started off as a fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda but has grown to a larger scale effort to eliminate terrorism. Whether or not the United States will indeed remove all troops by 2014 remains to be seen. Regardless, the War in Afghanistan debate remains at the center of public attention in the US and abroad.

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