Operation Enduring Freedom was the US and NATO’s nations’ military operation in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, beginning on October 7, 2001. It was in response to the savage and murderous attack on the World Trade Center Towers in Manhattan, New York, and the Pentagon, Washington, perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists on September 11, 2001, and orchestrated by al-Qaeda with the support of the Muslim Taliban government of Afghanistan. The first phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, which was the overthrowing of the Taliban from power and the liberation of Kabul and most of Afghanistan, was conducted by American, British, Canadian, Australian, and the Afghan Northern Alliance troops, with air and naval support.
With fighter and bomber aircraft that took off from bases in Kuwait, Pakistan, and US carriers from the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001, with an air bombadrment of the Taliban and al-Qaeda strongholdholds and communication centers. As the intense bombing campaign severely mauled and weakened the Taliban, Afghan Northern Alliance quickly gained control of most of the northern half of the country, liberating Kabul on November 13, 2001, with the Taliban unexpectedly fleeing the city. As Operation Enduring Freedom raged on, the Taliban were restricted to a smaller and smaller territory. In October 2001, with US Rangers securing key points on the periphery, British SAS troops along with US Navy Seals and Delta Force men launched a surprise and ferocious assault on the Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold of Kandahar, liberating the city after several days of savage fighting. Kunduz, the last Taliban-held city in the north, was captured on November 26.
From December 12 to December 17, US, British, and Australian forces carried out a military operation against al-Qaeda elements hiding in Tora Bora, a cave complex in the mountains of Nangarthar Province. Despite winning the battle, the US-led Coalition forces were not able to find and catch Osama Bin Laden as the remainder of the Taliban and al-Qaeda members fled to Pakistan, where they found protection in the Muslim population. During this first phase, Operation Enduring Freedom removed the Taliban from power and seriously crippled al-Qaeda and associated terrorists in Afghanistan, allowing the establishment of the elected President Hamid Karzai in first direct elections held in the country.
US-led Coalition military units that fought in Afghanistan during the first two years of Operation Enduring Freedom: CIA paramilitary members, Delta Force, Navy Seals, British Special Air Service, Australian Special Air Service, British Royal Marines, 75th Ranger Regiment, US 101st Airborne Division, German Special Forces (KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte), Canadian Special Forces (Joint Task Force 2), etc.
Operation Enduring Freedom (Historical Video)