Addresses Nation After Terrorist Attacks
At 8:30 p.m. (EST), President Bush addresses the nation from the White
House. "The search is under way for those who are behind these evil acts," he
says, adding, "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed
these acts and those who harbor them."
Shortly before 11 a.m., at the end of a Cabinet meeting, President Bush
announces, "The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday
against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war."
+ Beginning of International Coalition Against Terrorism
Bush phones British Prime Minister Tony Blair who pledges his "total
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf makes a pledge of support for the
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announces that it is prepared to
invoke for the first time Article 5 of its charter, which states that an attack
against one member would be considered an attack against all. This step will
be formally taken at a NATO meeting on Oct. 2.
The U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 1368, which unanimously condemns the attacks and
recognizes "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense" under
the U.N. charter. It calls on the international community "to bring to justice
the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks ... ."
Authorizes Military Response
Congress passes resolution authorizing President Bush "to use all necessary and
appropriate force" against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks, their
sponsors, and those who protected them. The bill passes the Senate by a vote of
98-0 and the House by a vote of 420-1.
Security Team Plans for War
Bush assembles a meeting of the national security principals at Camp David.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argues that it is the perfect
time to move against additional state sponsors of terrorism, including Saddam
Hussein. The president ultimately decides that the primary focus of the war
will be on Afghanistan, and that the question of Iraq will be reconsidered
Bush agrees to adopt a plan proposed by CIA Director George Tenet: a covert war
in which CIA paramilitary officers would link up with anti-Taliban
guerrillas inside Afghanistan. They would later be joined by small special
operations forces teams which would call in precision airstrikes on Taliban and
Al Qaeda fighters. The next day, Bush signs the official Memorandum of
Notification allowing the plan to proceed.
Delegation Delivers Ultimatum to Taliban
A Pakistani delegation led by intelligence chief General Mahmood delivers an
ultimatum to the Taliban. Mahmood reportedly tells Mullah Omar, the leader of
the Taliban, to hand over bin Laden or face a U.S. military attack. Mullah Omar
refuses and calls for a panel of Muslim clerics to decide bin Laden's fate.
Taliban leaders urge Afghanis to prepare for a holy war with the U.S.
French President Jacques Chirac visits the White House and pledges "total solidarity" with the U.S., although he expresses concern over the use of the term "war."
+ U.N. Orders Taliban to Surrender Bin Laden
The U.N. Security Council issues a statement demanding that the Taliban
"surrender bin Laden to the appropriate authorities and close terrorist
Visits Russia, Brussels
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visits Moscow and Brussels to
discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Russian officials say it is
too soon to tell whether they will allow the U.S. to use former Russian
military bases in Central Asia, but that they are open to discussion.
Bush outlines his war plan to a joint session of Congress. Just before he
delivers his speech, he instructs the military to begin planning for war.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends the joint session and pledges
to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the U.S.
The Taliban announces that it has rejected ultimatums to hand over bin Laden.
Afghan citizens began to flee cities as the country prepared to move closer to
Cuts Ties With Taliban
Following the Taliban's announcement, the United Arab Emirates, one of three
countries that officially recognized the Taliban, announces that it is severing
+ Putin Promises Cooperation from Central Asian Republics
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls President Bush to tell him that he
has secured the cooperation of several Central Asian republics in the war on
+ Sanctions on India and Pakistan Lifted
Bush announces that he is lifting sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan after
their 1998 nuclear weapons tests.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announces that the military action against
terrorism will be called "Operation Enduring Freedom."
Arabia Cuts Ties with Taliban
Saudi Arabia, one of two remaining countries recognizing the Taliban, cuts
Pakistani Delegation Meets with Taliban
A delegation of Pakistani religious clerics visits the Taliban to try and
persuade them to give up bin Laden. The Taliban again refuse.
Opposition Groups Agree on First Steps Towards a New Government
At the end of a three-day meeting in Rome between the exiled former Afghan
King Mohammad Zahir Shah and members of the Northern Alliance, the groups agree
to form a loya jirga, or grand council of tribal and military leaders, as a
first step towards forming a new government in Afghanistan. Taliban leader
Mullah Mohammed Omar denounces the opposition's statements as part of a U.S.
attempt to impose an outside regime on Afghanistan.
Travels to Middle East
On a three-day trip to shore up support for the coalition against terrorism,
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld visits Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and
Presents Case Against Bin Laden
Before an emergency meeting of the British parliament, Prime Minister
Tony Blair announces new details of the evidence against bin Laden. The
British government also publishes a summary of the evidence on the Internet. [Note: The document was updated on
Nov. 14.] Following his speech, Blair travels to Russia, Pakistan, and India to
shore up support for the coalition.
Troops to Uzbekistan
Shortly after Uzbekistan announces its agreement to allow U.S. troops and
aircraft to base humanitarian and search-and-rescue operations there, 1,000 U.S.
troops from the 10th Mountain Division are dispatched to the former Soviet
U.S. and Britain begin airstrikes against Taliban government installations and
Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. For the first several days, the strikes are intensive, but their effectiveness
is questioned. The training camps had already been largely abandoned, and much
of the Taliban infrastructure targeted by the strikes had been destroyed by
decades of war. There were also civilian casualties.
Nations Take Domestic Action
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announces that terrorist suspects
have been arrested or detained in 23 countries and that 112 countries have
taken steps against terrorist financial assets.
Secretary of State Colin Powell flies to Islamabad to reassure President
Musharraf that the U.S. alliance with the Northern Alliance guerrilla
forces in battling the Taliban did not mean that the Northern Alliance would
lead a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan.
attends APEC Summit in Shanghai
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, President Bush meets
with various world leaders, including Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Malaysian
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and
Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the coalition.
Sneaks into Afghanistan
Exiled Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai decides to return in secret to Afghanistan
in the hopes of leading an anti-Taliban uprising. He arrives at a small Pashtun
village on the outskirts of Kandahar. Within days of his
arrival, he finds himself surrounded by Taliban forces, and calls for help.
America rushes in an airdrop of weapons. U.S. officials say that at his
request, Karzai was airlifted out of Afghanistan with some of his senior
supporters. Karzai has since denied that he left Afghanistan.
the Ground War, Special Forces Arrive in Afghanistan
In Operation Rhino--a highly publicized nighttime raid--Army Rangers and Delta
Force operatives strike a Taliban compound in Khandahar and an airfield south
of the city, and then promptly withdraw.
Meanwhile, two A-teams from the Army's 5th Special Forces Group are
helicoptered in to join forces with Northern Alliance. One A-team
joins General Rashid Dostum, whose forces are positioned 55
miles outside the key northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Further south, at Bagram
airbase outside Kabul, another team joins General Fahim
[Click here for a map.]
Executes Opposition Leader Abdul Haq
Abdul Haq, a Pashtun leader who had fought in the 1980s war against Soviet
occupation, is captured and executed by the Taliban after he returns to
Afghanistgan from exile in Pakistan. Considered to be one of a handful of
Pashtun leaders who could form a unified post-Taliban government, Haq had been
leading a small band of Pashtun warriors into the south of Afghanistan, hoping
to spark an anti-Taliban rebellion.
Acknowledges Ground Troops
For the first time, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld publicly acknowledges that there
are "a very modest number" of ground troops in Afghanistan.
Visits Russia and Central Asia
On a four-day trip to Russia and Central Asia, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
visits Moscow to discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism. He then
travels to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan, where President Musharraf
cautions the U.S. against continuing military action during Ramadan. Rumsfeld
wraps up in India, where he praises the country's cooperation in the war and
pledges support for India's fight against terrorists in Kashmir.
Special Forces Arrive
Another A-team from the U.S.
Army's 5th Special Forces Group arrives and meets up with Northern Alliance General
Mohammed Atta. They plan to join with ODA 595 and General Dostum's forces
to wage an assault on the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
Uses "Daisy Cutter" Bombs
The Pentagon confirms that the U.S. used two "daisy cutter" bombs against
Taliban frontlines. These are the largest conventional bombs in the U.S.
military arsenal, weighing 15,000 pounds.
In their first major victory, Northern Alliance forces, led by Dostum and Atta
with American Special Forces, capture Taliban stronghold Mazar-e-Sharif.
Thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda flee east to
Kunduz. The fall of Mazar triggers the collapse of Taliban positions throughout the
[Click here for a map.]
Bush tells the U.N. General Assembly, "We must unite in opposing all
terrorists... No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the
deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle,
trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the
Later that day Bush held his first face-to-face meeting with Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf.
Alliance Takes Kabul and Herat
After weeks of American airstrikes around Bagram airbase, just north of Kabul, have
weakened the Taliban's defense of the capital, Northern Alliance commander Fahim Kahn's forces sweep
into the city, despite U.S. requests to stop
short of the city gates.
Northern Alliance forces led by Ismail Khan also capture the key western city
[Click here for a map.]
of "Six-plus-two" at U.N.
On Nov. 12, the foreign ministers of the group of "six-plus-two" -- the six
nations surrounding Afghanistan, plus the U.S. and Russia -- meet with
Lakhdar Brahimi at the U.N. to discuss Afghanistan's future. Given the
situation on the ground in Kabul, the group agrees to accelerate the process of
assembling a "multiethnic, politically balanced, freely chosen" government.
Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 574, a Special Forces A-team of eleven soldiers led by Capt. Jason Amerine, arrives in the Oruzgan
province to join Pashtun leader Hamid Karzai. They hope to move south to take
over Kandahar, the last Taliban stronghold. Karzai, his troops, and the A-team
move into the regional capital of Tarin Kowt, where the local townspeople had
recently overthrown the Taliban.
[Click here for a map.]
Laden Lieutenant Believed Killed
U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announces that he has authoritative
intelligence reports indicating that Muhammad Atef, a senior deputy of Osama bin Laden,
has been killed by U.S. airstrikes near Kabul.
Alliance moves into Presidential Palace in Kabul
Afghanistan's former president and Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani
makes a triumphal return to Kabul, moving back into the presidential palace. He
invites all Afghan groups, excluding the Taliban, to come to Kabul for talks on
a new government.
The Bush administration responds by sending diplomat James Dobbins to deliver a
message directly to the Northern Alliance: they would not be allowed to keep
control of Kabul.
In the following days, Northern Alliance Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah
Abdullah agrees to a meeting to discuss a post-Taliban government in a neutral
location in Europe rather than Kabul. Negotiators eventually settle on Bonn,
Germany as the site for the talks.
of Tarin Kowt
[Read accounts of the battle from Special Forces soldiers on the ground.]
The Taliban sends a convoy of 1,000 soldiers north from Kandahar towards Tarin
Kowt, where Karzai is based with his few dozen fighters and Special Forces
ODA 574. For four hours U.S. warplanes attack the Taliban convoy, with
assistance from Special Forces soldiers on the ground. The Taliban eventually
retreat back to Kandahar.
Severs Diplomatic Ties with Taliban
Pakistan, the last country to maintain diplomatic relations with the Taliban,
orders the closing of the Taliban's embassy in Islamabad. According to U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Pakistan had wanted to cut ties
with the Taliban much earlier, but maintained them at the request of the U.S.,
which was concerned over the fate of foreign aid workers, including two U.S.
citizens, held by the Taliban.
After a two week siege by Northern Alliance forces and U.S. airstrikes, the
Taliban-controlled city of Kunduz falls. It is the last major Taliban
stronghold in Northern Afghanistan. Thousands of Taliban are taken prisoner.
Those suspected of being Al Qaeda are transferred to American custody, and the
remaining are turned over to Dostum and his troops.
[Click here for a map.]
+ Alleged Atrocities
In late August, 2002, Newsweek magazine reported on its investigation of claims that many of Taliban and Al
Qaeda prisoners were killed as they were being transported by the Northern
Alliance from Kunduz to the nearby Sheberghan prison. Because U.S. Special
Forces were rarely far from Dostum's side, it raises the question of whether
they knew or could have prevented these alleged atrocities. The U.S. team with
Gen. Dostum denies having any involvement in or knowledge of human rights
abuses of prisoners.
Killed at Prison Uprising
Taliban prisoners revolt at the Qala Jangi prison west of Mazar-e-Sharif. The
prisoners gain access to Northern Alliance weapons, and a bloody battle ensues.
Johnny "Mike" Spann, a CIA agent sent to question the prisoners, becomes the
first American to die in combat in the war in Afghanistan when he is beaten to death.
Eventually, U.S. airstrikes are called in to bomb the prison fortress. Hundreds
are killed in the three-day uprising, including several Northern Alliance
U.S. Marines seize an airstrip southwest of Khandahar which will become the
first base in the country for regular U.S. troops.
Representatives from four Afghan factions meet under U.N. auspices in Bonn,
Germany to establish a broad-based interim government for Afghanistan.
Behind the scenes, the U.S. solicits support from other nations, including
Russia and Iran, to promote Hamid Karzai as the new leader of
Afghanistan. The U.S. arranges for Karzai to address the conference by
telephone from Afghanistan, and he makes an impassioned plea for the factions
to set aside their differences for the sake of the country.
The Bonn Conference concludes on Dec. 5, with the election of Hamid Karzai as
chairman of the interim administration.
[Read more about the Bonn Conference.]
Moves On Kandahar
Karzai's troops and his Special Forces A-Team begin to advance south towards Kandahar, the
Taliban's last holdout. Simultaneously, forces led by commander Gul Agha
Sherzai move toward the city from the south.
Leaders Announce Tora Bora Offensive
Commanders Hazrat Ali and Mohammed Zaman announce that the
Northern Alliance will begin a ground offensive on the mountainous Tora Bora
region, where it is believed Osama bin Laden is hiding, along with Taliban and
Al Qaeda forces. The region has been under fire by heavy U.S. airstrikes for
Friendly Fire Incident
As they move south toward Kandahar, Karzai's forces meet strong resistance from
the Taliban at the village of Shawali Kowt. U.S. Special Forces call in
airstrikes, and a misdirected U.S. bomb explodes near Karzai's position, killing 3 U.S.
soldier and at least 23 of Karzai's Afghani fighters. Dozens more, including
all the members of A-Team 574 and Karzai himself, were wounded in the worst friendly
fire incident of the war. As of September, 2002, an official investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.
[Read accounts of the incident, and military commanders' responses.]
Elected Interim Leader
Shortly after the friendly fire incident, Hamid Karzai receives a phone call
notifying him he had just been elected at the Bonn Conference to lead Afghanistan's new
Escapes Before Surrender of Kandahar
Marking the final collapse of the Taliban regime, Hamid Karzai, led by U.S.
Special Forces, enters Kandahar, the last remaining Taliban stronghold in the country. Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, including
Mullah Omar, have fled.
[Read accounts of the push towards Kandahar, and the final surrender, from Special Forces troops who were there.]
Sign of Bin Laden at the End of Tora Bora Offensive
After two weeks of heavy U.S. bombing and ground fighting between Northern
Alliance and Taliban forces in Tora Bora, Afghan commanders proclaim victory,
as the last Al Qaeda troops retreat from their fortified mountain caves towards
Bin Laden himself remains unaccounted for. Hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives have
been killed in the offensive; around 60 are captured and transferred to a U.S.
base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many, including possibly bin Laden, have slipped
across the border into Pakistan.
The bombing at Tora Bora also results in numerous civilian casualties. The U.S.
and Afghan governments have made no official casualty estimates; news
organizations say they have documented more than 400. Some groups suggest the
actual number may be much higher.
[ Read first hand accounts of the Tora Bora offensive and military commanders' assessments of the operation.]
of Peacekeeping Force
As determined at the Bonn Conference, the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) begins to arrive in Kabul. The force is spearheaded by
British Royal Marines.
Karzai Sworn In
In a three-hour ceremony, Hamid Karzai is sworn in as head of the Afghan
interim government. "Today we are happy that we can see the sun rising again on
our land," Karzai said in a speech. "I think a wave of peace and unity is
coming to our country."