The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat
... Moreions against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944. Hide
In public statements U.S. officials had previously praised Pakistan's military effort against militants during its offensive in South Waziristan in November 2009. Karzai started peace talks with Haqqa
... Moreni network groups in March 2010. and there were other peace initiatives including the Afghan Peace Jirga 2010. In July 2010, a U.S. Army report read: "It seems to always be this way when we go there [to meet civilians]. No one wants anything to do with us." A report on meeting up with school representatives mentioned students throwing rocks at soldiers and not welcoming their arrival, as had been reported on several occasions elsewhere. President Zardari said that Pakistan had spent over 35 billion U.S. dollars during the previous eight years fighting against militancy. According to the Afghan government, approximately 900 Taliban were killed in operations conducted during 2010. Due to increased use of IEDs by insurgents the number of injured coalition soldiers, mainly Americans, significantly increased. Beginning in May 2010 NATO special forces began to concentrate on operations to capture or kill specific Taliban leaders. As of March 2011, the U.S. military claimed that the effort had resulted in the capture or killing of more than 900 low- to mid-level Taliban commanders. Overall, 2010 saw the most insurgent attacks of any year since the war began, peaking in September at more than 1,500. Insurgent operations increased "dramatically" in two-thirds of Afghan provinces.
Deployment of additional U.S. troops continued in early 2010, with 9,000 of the planned 30,000 in place before the end of March and another 18,000 expected by June, with the 101st Airborne Division as the main source. U.S. troops in Afghanistan outnumbered those in Iraq for the first time since 2003.
The CIA, following a request by General McChrystal, planned to increase teams of operatives, including elite SAD officers, with U.S. military special operations forces. This combination worked well in Iraq and was largely credited with the success of that surge. The CIA also increased its campaign using Hellfire missile strikes on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The number of strikes in 2010, 115, more than doubled the 50 drone attacks that occurred in 2009.
The surge in troops supported a sixfold increase in Special Forces operations. 700 airstrikes occurred in September 2010 alone versus 257 in all of 2009. From July 2010 to October 2010, 300 Taliban commanders and 800 foot soldiers were killed. Hundreds more insurgent leaders were killed or captured as 2010 ended. Petraeus said, "We've got our teeth in the enemy's jugular now, and we're not going to let go."
The CIA created Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams (CTPT) staffed by Afghans at the war's beginning. This force grew to over 3,000 by 2010 and was considered one of the "best Afghan fighting forces". Firebase Lilley was one of SAD's nerve centers. These units were not only effective in operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, but have expanded their operations into Pakistan. They were also important factors in both the "counterterrorism plus" and the full "counter-insurgency" options discussed by the Obama administration in the December 2010 review.
On 25 July 2010, the release of 91,731 classified documents from the Wikileaks organization was made public. The documents cover U.S. military incident and intelligence reports from January 2004 to December 2009. Some of these documents included sanitised, and "covered up", accounts of civilian casualties caused by Coalition Forces. The reports included many references to other incidents involving civilian casualties like the Kunduz airstrike and Nangar Khel incident. The leaked documents also contain reports of Pakistan collusion with the Taliban. According to Der Spiegel, "the documents clearly show that the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (usually known as the ISI) is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan."
Pakistan and U.S. tensions
Tensions between Pakistan and the U.S. were heightened in late September after several Pakistan Frontier Corps soldiers were killed and wounded. The troops were attacked by a U.S. piloted aircraft that was pursuing Taliban forces near the Afghan-Pakistan border, but for unknown reasons opened fire on two Pakistan border posts. In retaliation for the strike, Pakistan closed the Torkham ground border crossing to NATO supply convoys for an unspecified period. This incident followed the release of a video allegedly showing uniformed Pakistan soldiers executing unarmed civilians. After the Torkham border closing, Pakistani Taliban attacked NATO convoys, killing several drivers and destroying around 100 tankers.
2011: U.S. and NATO drawdown
Battle of Kandahar
The Battle of Kandahar was part of an offensive named after the Battle of Bad'r that took place on 13 March 624, between Medina and Mecca. The Battle followed an 30 April announcement that the Taliban would launch their Spring offensive.
On 7 May the Taliban launched a major offensive on government buildings in Kandahar. The Taliban said their goal was to take control of the city. At least eight locations were attacked: the governor's compound, the mayor's office, the NDS headquarters, three police stations and two high schools. The battle continued onto a second day. The BBC's Bilal Sarwary called it "the worst attack in Kandahar province since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, and a embarrassment for the Western-backed Afghan government."
Death of Osama bin Laden
On 2 May U.S. officials announced that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in Operation Neptune Spear, conducted by the CIA and U.S. Navy SEALs, in Pakistan. Crowds gathered outside the White House chanting "USA, USA" after the news emerged.
On 22 June President Obama announced that 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2011 and an additional 23,000 troops would return by the summer of 2012. After the withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops, only 80,000 remained. In July 2011 Canada withdrew its combat troops, transitioning to a training role.
Following suit, other NATO countries announced troop reductions. The United Kingdom stated that it would gradually withdraw its troops, however it did not specify numbers or dates. France announced that it would withdraw roughly 1,000 soldiers by the end of 2012, with 3,000 soldiers remaining. Hundreds would come back at the end of 2011 and in the beginning of 2012, when the Afghan National Army took control of Surobi district. The remaining troops would continue to operate in Kapisa. Their complete withdrawal was expected by the end of 2014 or earlier given adequate security.
Belgium announced that half of their force would withdraw starting in January 2012. Norway announced it had started a withdrawal of its near 500 troops and would be completely out by 2014. Equally, the Spanish Prime Minister announced the withdrawal of troops beginning in 2012, including up to 40 percent by the end of the first half of 2013, and complete withdrawal by 2014.
2011 U.S.–NATO attack in Pakistan
After Neptune Spear, an accidental, direct attack on Pakistan's armed forces by ISAF forces occurred on 26 November, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan blocked NATO supply lines and ordered Americans to leave Shamsi Airfield. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the attack was 'tragic' and 'unintended'. "This (regret) is not good enough. We strongly condemn the attacks and reserve the right to take action," said DG ISPR Major General Athar Abbas. "This could have serious consequences in the level and extent of our cooperation. Hide
In November 2006, the U.N. Security Council warned that Afghanistan may become a failed state due to increased Taliban violence, growing illegal drug production, and fragile state institutions. ... More
In 2006, Afghanistan was rated 10th on the failed states index, up from 11th in 2005.
From 2005 to 2006, the number of suicide attacks, direct fire attacks, and improvised explosive devices all increased. Intelligence documents declassified in 2006 suggested that Al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network and Hezb-i-Islami sanctuaries had by then increased fourfold in Afghanistan.
The campaign in Afghanistan successfully unseated the Taliban from power, but has been significantly less successful at achieving the primary policy goal of ensuring that Al-Qaeda can no longer operate in Afghanistan.
In January and February 2007, British Royal Marines mounted Operation Volcano to clear insurgents from firing-points in the village of Barikju, north of Kajaki. Other major operations during this period included Operation Achilles (March–May) and Operation Lastay Kulang. The UK Ministry of Defence announced its intention to bring British troop levels in the country up to 7,700 (committed until 2009). Further operations, such as Operation Silver and Operation Silicon, took place to keep up the pressure on the Taliban in the hope of blunting their expected spring offensive.
On 4 March 2007 U.S. Marines killed at least 12 civilians and injured 33 in Shinwar district, Nangrahar, in a U.S. marine response to a bomb ambush. The event became known as the Shinwar Massacre. The 120 member Marine unit responsible for the attack was asked[by whom?] to leave the country, because the incident damaged the unit's relations with the local Afghan population.
Later in March 2007, the US added more than 3,500 troops.
On 12 May 2007, ISAF forces killed Mullah Dadullah. Eleven other Taliban fighters died in the same firefight.
During the summer, NATO forces achieved tactical victories at the Battle of Chora in OrÅ«zgn, where Dutch and Australian ISAF forces were deployed.
US Army paratroopers navigate to Observation Post Chuck Norris in Dangam.
On 16 August, eight civilians including a pregnant woman and a baby died when Polish soldiers shelled the village of Nangar Khel, Paktika Province. Seven soldiers have been charged with war crimes.
On 28 October about 80 Taliban fighters were killed in a 24 hour battle in Helmand.
Western officials and analysts estimated the strength of Taliban forces at about 10,000 fighters fielded at any given time. Of that number, only 2,000 to 3,000 were highly motivated, full-time insurgents. The rest were part-timers, made up of alienated, young Afghans, angered by bombing raids or responding to payment. In 2007, more foreign fighters came than ever before, according to officials. Approximately 100 to 300 full-time combatants are foreigners, usually from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, various Arab countries and perhaps even Turkey and western China. They were reportedly more fanatical and violent, often bringing superior video-production or bombmaking expertise.
On 2 November security forces killed a top-ranking militant, Mawlawi Abdul Manan, after he was caught crossing the border. The Taliban confirmed his death. On 10 November the Taliban ambushed a patrol in eastern Afghanistan. This attack brought the U.S. death toll for 2007 to 100, making it the Americans' deadliest year in Afghanistan.
The Battle of Musa Qala took place in December. Afghan units were the principal fighting force, supported by British forces. Taliban forces were forced out of the town.
2008: Reassessment and renewed commitment
A U.S. Army Special Forces medic in Kandahar Province in September 2008.
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while the situation in Afghanistan is "precarious and urgent", the 10,000 additional troops needed there would be unavailable "in any significant manner" unless withdrawals from Iraq are made. However, Mullen stated that "my priorities . . . given to me by the commander in chief are: Focus on Iraq first. It's been that way for some time. Focus on Afghanistan second."
In the first five months of 2008, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased by over 80% with a surge of 21,643 more troops, bringing the total from 26,607 in January to 48,250 in June. In September 2008, President Bush announced the withdrawal of over 8,000 from Iraq and a further increase of up to 4,500 in Afghanistan.
In June 2008, British prime minister Gordon Brown announced the number of British troops serving in Afghanistan would increase to 8,030 – a rise of 230. The same month, the UK lost its 100th serviceman.
US troops burn a suspected Taliban safe house
On 13 June, Taliban fighters demonstrated their ongoing strength, liberating all prisoners in Kandahar jail. The operation freed 1200 prisoners, 400 of whom were Taliban prisoners of war, causing a major embarrassment for NATO.
On 13 July 2008, a coordinated Taliban attack was launched on a remote NATO base at Wanat in Kunar province. On 19 August, French troops suffered their worst losses in Afghanistan in an ambush. Later in the month, an airstrike targeted a Taliban commander in Herat province and killed 90 civilians.
Late August saw one of NATO's largest operations in Helmand, Operation Eagle's Summit, aiming to bring electricity to the region.
On 3 September, the war spilled onto Pakistani territory for the first time when heavily armed commandos, believed to be U.S. Army Special Forces, landed by helicopter and attacked three houses close to a known enemy stronghold. The attack killed between seven and twenty people. Local residents claimed that most of the dead were civilians. Pakistan condemned the attack, calling the incursion "a gross violation of Pakistan's territory".
On 6 September, in an apparent reaction, Pakistan announced an indefinite disconnection of supply lines.
On 11 September, militants killed two U.S. troops in the east. This brought the total number of U.S. losses to 113, more than in any prior year. Several European countries set their own records, particularly the UK, who suffered 108 casualties.
Taliban attacks on supply lines
In November and December 2008, multiple incidents of major theft, robbery, and arson attacks afflicted NATO supply convoys in Pakistan. Transport companies south of Kabul were extorted for money by the Taliban. These incidents included the hijacking of a NATO convoy carrying supplies in Peshawar, the torching of cargo trucks and Humvees east of the Khyber pass and a half-dozen raids on NATO supply depots near Peshawar that destroyed 300 cargo trucks and Humvees in December 2008.
Issues with Pakistan
Barack Obama with Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, 6 May 2009
An unnamed senior Pentagon official told the BBC that at some point between 12 July and 12 September 2008, President Bush issued a classified order authorizing raids against militants in Pakistan. Pakistan said it would not allow foreign forces onto its territory and that it would vigorously protect its sovereignty. In September, the Pakistan military stated that it had issued orders to "open fire" on U.S. soldiers who crossed the border in pursuit of militant forces.
On 25 September 2008, Pakistani troops fired on ISAF helicopters. This caused confusion and anger in the Pentagon, which asked for a full explanation into the incident and denied that U.S. helicopters were in Pakistani airspace.
A further split occurred when U.S. troops apparently landed on Pakistani soil to carry out an operation against militants in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. 'Pakistan reacted angrily to the action, saying 20 innocent villagers had been killed by US troops'. However, despite tensions, the U.S. increased the use of remotely piloted drone aircraft in Pakistan's border regions, in particular the Federally Administered Tribal Regions (FATA) and Balochistan; as of early 2009, drone attacks were up 183% since 2006.
By the end of 2008, the Taliban apparently had severed remaining ties with al-Qaeda. According to senior U.S. military intelligence officials, perhaps fewer than 100 members of al-Qaeda remained in Afghanistan.
In a meeting with General Stanley McChrystal, Pakistani military officials urged international forces to remain on the Afghan side of the border and prevent militants from fleeing into Pakistan. Pakistan noted that it had deployed 140,000 soldiers on its side of the border to address militant activities, while the coalition had only 100,000 soldiers to police the Afghanistan side.
2009: Southern Afghanistan
Northern Distribution Network
In response to the increased risk of sending supplies through Pakistan, work began on the establishment of a Northern Distribution Network (NDN) through Russia and Central Asian republics. Initial permission to move supplies through the region was given on 20 January 2009, after a visit to the region by General David Petraeus. The first shipment along the NDN route left on 20 February from Riga, Latvia, then traveled 5,169 km (3,212 mi) to the Uzbek town of Termez on the Afghanistan border. In addition to Riga, other European ports included Poti, Georgia and Vladivostok, Russia. U.S. commanders hoped that 100 containers a day would be shipped along the NDN. By comparison, 140 containers a day were typically shipped through the Khyber Pass. By 2011, the NDN handled about 40% of Afghanistan-bound traffic, versus 30% through Pakistan.
On 11 May 2009, Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov announced that the airport in Navoi (Uzbekistan) was being used to transport non-lethal cargo into Afghanistan. Due to the still unsettled relationship between Uzbekistan and the U.S. following the 2005 Andijon massacre and subsequent expulsion of U.S. forces from Karshi-Khanabad airbase, U.S. forces were not involved in the shipments. Instead, South Korea's Korean Air, which overhauled Navoi's airport, officially handled logistics.
Originally only non-lethal resources were allowed on the NDN. In July 2009, however, shortly before a visit by new President Barack Obama to Moscow, Russian authorities announced that U.S. troops and weapons could use the country's airspace to reach Afghanistan.
Human rights advocates were (as of 2009) concerned that the U.S. was again working with the government of Uzbekistan, which is often accused of violating human rights. U.S. officials promised increased cooperation with Uzbekistan, including further assistance to turn Navoi into a regional distribution center for both military and civilian ventures.
Azerbaijan, which sent peacekeeping forces as part of ISAF, also provided airspace and airports. Over one-third of all of the nonlethal equipment including fuel, clothing, and food used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan traveled through Baku at one point.
Increase in U.S. troops
In January, about 3,000 U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division moved into the provinces of Logar and Wardak. Afghan Federal Guards fought alongside them. The troops were the first wave of an expected surge of reinforcements originally ordered by President Bush and increased by President Obama.
In mid-February, it was announced that 17,000 additional troops would be deployed in two brigades and support troops; the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade of about 3,500 and the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a Stryker Brigade with about 4,000. U.S. commander General McKiernan had called for as many as 30,000 additional troops, effectively doubling the number of troops.
On 23 September, a classified assessment by General McChrystal included his conclusion that a successful counterinsurgency strategy would require 500,000 troops and five years.
In November, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry sent two classified cables to Washington expressing concerns about sending more troops before the Afghan government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise. Eikenberry, a retired three-star general who in 2006–2007 commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan, also expressed frustration with the relative paucity of funds set aside for development and reconstruction. In subsequent cables, Eikenberry repeatedly cautioned that deploying sizable American reinforcements would result in "astronomical costs" – tens of billions of dollars – and would only deepen the Afghan government's dependence on the United States.
On 26 November, Karzai made a public plea for direct negotiations with the Taliban leadership. Karzai said there is an "urgent need" for negotiations and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks. There was no formal US response.
On 1 December, Obama announced at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point that the U.S. would send 30,000 more troops. Antiwar organizations in the U.S. responded quickly, and cities throughout the U.S. saw protests on 2 December. Many protesters compared the decision to deploy more troops in Afghanistan to the expansion of the Vietnam War under the Johnson administration.
On 4 September, during the Kunduz Province Campaign a devastating NATO air raid was conducted 7 kilometres southwest of Kunduz where Taliban fighters had hijacked civilian supply trucks, killing up to 179 people, including over 100 civilians.
Operation Khanjar and Operation Panther's Claw
On 25 June US officials announced the launch of Operation Khanjar ("strike of the sword"). About 4000 U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and 650 Afghan soldiers participated. Khanjar followed a British-led operation named Operation Panther's Claw in the same region. Officials called it the Marines' largest operation since the 2004 invasion of Fallujah, Iraq. Operation Panther's Claw was aimed to secure various canal and river crossings to establish a long-term ISAF presence.
Initially, Afghan and American soldiers moved into towns and villages along the Helmand River to protect the civilian population. The main objective was to push into insurgent strongholds along the river. A secondary aim was to bring security to the Helmand Valley in time for presidential elections, set to take place on 20 August.
According to a 22 December briefing by Major General Michael T. Flynn, the top U.S. intelligence officer in Afghanistan, "The Taliban retains [the] required partnerships to sustain support, fuel legitimacy and bolster capacity." The 23-page briefing states that "Security incidents [are] projected to be higher in 2010." Those incidents were already up by 300 percent since 2007 and by 60 percent since 2008, according to the briefing. NATO intelligence at the time indicated that the Taliban had as many as 25,000 dedicated soldiers, almost as many as before 9/11 and more than in 2005.
On 10 August McChrystal, newly appointed as U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said that the Taliban had gained the upper hand. In a continuation of the Taliban's usual strategy of summer offensives, the militants aggressively spread their influence into north and west Afghanistan and stepped up their attack in an attempt to disrupt presidential polls. Calling the Taliban a "very aggressive enemy", he added that the U.S. strategy was to stop their momentum and focus on protecting and safeguarding Afghan civilians, calling it "hard work".
The Taliban's claim that the over 135 violet incidents disrupting elections was largely disputed. However, the media was asked to not report on any violent incidents. Some estimates reported voter turn out as much less than the expected 70 percent. In southern Afghanistan where the Taliban held the most power, voter turnout was low and sporadic violence was directed at voters and security personnel. The chief observer of the European Union election mission, General Philippe Morillon, said the election was "generally fair" but "not free".
Western election observers had difficulty accessing southern regions, where at least 9 Afghan civilians and 14 security forces were killed in attacks intended to intimidate voters. The Taliban released a video days after the elections, filming on the road between Kabul and Kandahar, stopping vehicles and asking to see their fingers. The video went showed ten men who had voted, listening to a Taliban militant. The Taliban pardoned the voters because of Ramadan. The Taliban attacked towns with rockets and other indirect fire. Amid claims of widespread fraud, both top contenders, Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, claimed victory. Reports suggested that turnout was lower than in the prior election.
After Karzai's alleged win of 54 per cent, which would prevent a runoff, over 400,000 Karzai votes had to be disallowed after accusations of fraud. Some nations criticized the elections as "free but not fair".
In December, an attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman, used by the CIA to gather information and to coordinate drone attacks against Taliban leaders, killed at least six CIA officers. Hide
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat
... Moreions against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944. Hide
The Philippine Presidential Unit Citation is a unit decoration of the Republic of the Philippines. It has been awarded to certain units of the United States military for actions both during and subseq
... Moreuent to the Second World War. Hide
Streamer embroidered 17 OCTOBER 1944 TO 4 JULY 1945
(Luzon Campaign 15 December 1944 to 4 July 1945) After Leyte came Mindoro, which was invaded on 15 December 1944, an air strip being obtained to provide a base for operations during the invasion on Lu
... Morezon. American troops landed on the shores of Lingayen Gulf on g January 1945 and pushed to Manila, which the Japanese defended vigorously until 24 February. Rather than meet the Americans in a decisive battle, the Japanese decided to fight delaying actions in numerous places. Organized resistance ended in southern Luzon in April and in central and northern Luzon in June. Hide
(New Guinea Campaign 24 January 1943 to 31 December 1944) After the loss of Buna and Gona in New Guinea, the Japanese fell back on their stronghold at Lae. Their attempt to reinforce Lae by sea in Mar
... Morech 1943 met with disaster when American and Australian planes sank most of the convoy in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Salamaua and Lae then became the objectives for an Allied advance along the northern coast of New Guinea. Fifth Air Force bombers attacked airfields at Wewak, 300 miles west of Lae, to neutralize them. The Allies dropped paratroops at Nadzab, just beyond Lae. Enemy resistance at Salamaua broke on 14 September 1943; Lae fell two days later. In the months that followed, MacArthur’s forces pushed westward, capturing some Japanese strongholds and bypassing others. After taking Hollandia in April 1944, the Allies attacked islands off the northern coast of New Guinea, taking Wakde and Biak in May, Owi in June, and Noemfoor in July. Sansapor on New Guinea also was gained in July. Aerial attacks on the Philippines began in August, and Morotai was seized in October to provide air bases for the invasion of the Philippines. Allied planes also bombed the oil center at Balikpapan and other targets in Borneo and Celebes. Hide