11/14 – Liberation of Kabul

Northern Alliance fighters advance into Kabul. (source: Wikimedia Commons)

On this day in 2001 US-backed Afghan fighters from the Northern Alliance recaptured Kabul (Afghanistan’s capital) from Taliban forces. Since the early 1990s, Kabul had been under the oppressive rule of the “Ministry for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice”, a paramilitary wing of the extremist Taliban that forbade women from working and the flying of kites. American intelligence forces like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) provided limited aid to Afghan forces opposing the Taliban during the 1990s; but following the 9/11 attacks (whose planners were supported by the Taliban) American money and military support came quickly for the Northern Alliance. Following a precise American bombing campaign, the Northern Alliance was able to defeat the Taliban in engagement after engagement and push them into hiding along the Pakistani border with the help of American Special Operations Forces (SOF) riding on horseback.

This arguably marked the high point of the War in Afghanistan and the broader Global War on Terror (GWOT). Nearly twenty years later, Western coalition members and Afghan security forces are still dying in combat with the Taliban and other violent extremist Islamist groups.

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