Theaters of operation for the War on Terrorism

Military/diplomatic campaigns

The campaign War on Terrorism is taking place in the following theaters of operation.


Following the September 11th attacks, the USA demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government extradite Osama bin Laden. The Taliban initially responded by asking to see proof that bin Laden was behind the attacks. When the United States refused and threatened military action, the Taliban offered to extradite him to Pakistan, where he could be tried under Islamic law. This offer was also rejected.

The United States and other Western nations used air support and special forces to help local warlords and the Northern Alliance overthrow the Taliban.

Hamid Karzai became Afghanistan's first democratically elected president on October 9 2004, and the situation in the country appears to be reaching a new equilibrium. However, Karzai's authority is thin outside of the capital Kabul. With a weak central government, well-armed warlords and, in some areas, continuing support for the Taliban, Afghanistan remains an unstable country.

From January 2006, a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) started to replace the U.S. troops of Operation Enduring Freedom in southern Afghanistan. US focus moved back to the east of Afghanistan. The British 16th Air Assault Brigade (later reinforced by Royal Marines) formed the core of the force in Southern Afghanistan, along with troops and helicopters from Australia, Canada and the Netherlands. The initial force consisted of roughly 3,300 British, cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] 2,300 Canadian, cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] 1,963 from the Netherlands, cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] 290 from Denmark, cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] 300 from Australia, cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] and 150 from Estonia cite web | url = | title = | accessdate = 2007-09-27 | publisher = ] . Air support was provided by US, British, Dutch, Norwegian and French combat aircraft and helicopters.

As of 2008, Osama bin Laden has not been found but messages from him have been received by Arabic media outlets.

= Iraq =

The current and ongoing Iraq War began as a part of the campaign, but its necessity has been highly controversial. Claims of Iraq having ties to Al Qaeda date back to published reports in Newsweek in January, 1999 and in other newspapers around the globe in December, 1998. President Bill Clinton ordered Operation Infinite Reach in 1998 striking what was claimed to be a chemical weapons-related facility in Sudan with connections to al-Qaeda. Iraq had also been on the list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1990, and had known ties to Palestinian terrorist groups. Neither evidence of a link to Al Qaeda nor stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found by inspectors, both pre- and post-invasion.


In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist bombing, Pakistan agreed to support the US in its war against terrorism. It gave the US the use of three air bases for the invasion of Afghanistan and the air campaign that preceded it. Some of the top Taliban leaders had studied in madrassas (religious seminaries) in the rugged semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In alliance with the US, Pakistan sent troops into the tribal areas - for the first time in its history - to flush out the remnants of the Taliban who had gone into hiding there and the guerrilla Waziristan War started.

On March 2, 2003, authorities in Pakistan announced the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks.


In July 2006, following the killing of three Israeli soldiers and the taking prisoner of two more by Hezbollah, Israel invaded southern Lebanon, intent on the destruction of Hezbollah. The conflict lasted over a month and caused the deaths of between 845 [cite news | url= | title=Lebanese army greeted in south | publisher=Indianapolis Star | author=Lauren Frayer |date=2006-08-18] and 1300 [cite news | url= | title= Robert Fisk: Lebanon's pain grows by the hour as death toll hits 1,300 | publisher=The Independent | author=Robert Fisk |date=2006-08-17] Lebanese and 163 Israelis (119 military and 44 civilian) and wounding thousands more Israelis and Lebanese. [ cite news|url= | title= Refugees stream back to southern Lebanon | publisher=CNN | author= Ben Wedeman | coauthors=Brent Sadler |date=2006-08-14] Both the Lebanese government (including Hezbollah) and the Israeli government have agreed to the terms of the ceasefire agreement created by the United Nations that began at 0500 on August 14, 2006. While the conflict is associated with the longer running Arab-Israeli conflict, prior to the declaration of the ceasefire, Israel stated it was fighting a war against terrorism, [cite news|title=Israel needs int'l support for war against terrorism: DM |publisher=People's Daily Online |date=August 10, 2006 |url= "Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday morning that Israel is fighting a war of the free world against terror"] the U.S. government stated the conflict was also a front in the "War on Terrorism" [cite news|title=Lebanon part of 'war on terror', says Bush |publisher=ABC News |date=July 30, 2006 |url=] and President Bush reiterated it in a speech the day the ceasefire came into effect. [cite news|url=|title= Bush: 'Hezbollah suffered a defeat' | publisher=CNN |date=2006-08-14]

In 2007 a conflict began in northern Lebanon after fighting broke out between Fatah al-Islam, an Islamist militant organization, and the Lebanese Armed Forces on May 20, 2007 in Nahr al-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli. The conflict evolved mostly around the Siege of Nahr el-Bared, but minor clashes had also occurred in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon and several terrorist bombings took place in and around Lebanon's capital Beirut. The terrorist group has been described as a militant jihadistLe Figaro (April 16, 2007). [ "Fatah Al-Islam: the new terrorist threat hanging over Lebanon"] . Retrieved May 20, 2007.] movement that draws inspiration from al-Qaeda. The U.S. provided military aid to Lebanon during the conflict.

In May 2008, Lebanon's 17-month long political crisis spiralled out of control. The unrest saw fighters from Shi'a movements Hezbollah and Amal opposing pro-government gunmen, including fighters loyal to the Sunni Future Movement Party, in several areas of the capital. The government was U.S.-backed while the Shiite militants were armed and financed by Syria and Iran. The fighting led to the fall of Beirut and the eastern Aley area to opposition forces.


In January 2002, a U.S. force approximately 1,000 strong was sent to assist Philippine forces. About 600 troops, including 160 Special Operations soldiers, remain training forces in the Philippines to combat Abu Sayyaf on Basilan. On October 2, 2002, a bomb in Zamboanga killed a U.S. Army Special Forces master sergeant and two civilians. In October 2002 additional Zamboanga bombings killed six and wounded 200. In February 2003, the U.S. sent approximately 1,700 soldiers to the Philippines to engage in active combat against Abu Sayyaf, as opposed to training.


Near the end of 2001, the United States Congress relaxed restrictions put into place in 1999 against the U.S. training of Indonesian forces because of human rights abuses in East Timor. In October 2002 the Bali car bombing killed and wounded hundreds of civilians, the majority of whom were foreign tourists. The Islamic extremist movement Jemaah Islamiyah, suspected of carrying out that attack, was classified as a terrorist organization in November 2001.


When Al-Qaeda trained Islamist forces drove the various feuding warlords out of Somalia, they established a relatively stable government in what had been a war and famine-torn country for decades. The government, calling themselves the Council of Islamic Courts, used Islamic law, or sharia, to guide their reconstruction. They even began taking on the pirate-infested coastline. Al-Qaeda members, fleeing NATO forces, had been using Somalia as a refuge.

It was not long, however, before Ethiopean forces, backed by the majority of the international community, especially the United States, pushed Islamist forces out of Somalia. The majority of the Muslim fighters, however, were ordered to melt back into the local population and await the call to Jihad. US forces have conducted air strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda fugitive hideouts, and Somalia is considered yet another front in the global War on Terrorism.



External links

* [ Athena Intelligence] Advanced Research Network on Insurgency and Terrorism

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