Photos from the Longest War in the United States

Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US military attention shifted to Afghanistan, where al Qaeda leaders were. Many knew that this invasion was sure to come.

What no one knew was Operation Freedom Protection, invasion looga Al Qaeda and the host, the Taliban, they are changing in the current year to 19 – the longest in the United States.

It angered three American administrators and fired 13 US military commanders. It also opened a window to, in most parts of the world, the modern country that still struggles with ancient traditions and religious laws.

Here, systematically historically, are photographs that show the long haul of war, as seen in the eyes of New York Times photographers.


Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001, in a US bombing campaign against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. On the ground, the US Special Forces forces linked the Afghanistan militia against the Taliban, especially the Northern Alliance, to expel the Taliban. The capital, Kabul, and in mid-November, along with Taliban forces in Kandahar.

In December, Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, fled to Pakistan with the mountains surrounding Tora Bora. That same month, an interim government in Afghanistan was led by Hamid Karzai.

The United Nations Security Council has established the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, a US-led military alliance.

In 2007, about 25,000 US troops were in Afghanistan.

In 2012, Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, began to blame the United States and its allied forces for causing civilian casualties, as his relationship with US leaders deteriorated.

Afghanistan took over the majority of security forces in 2013, with US-led coalition forces moving in training and counter-terrorism operations.

On the battlefield, Afghan security forces are repeatedly battling the Taliban with heavy casualties and large amounts of ground.


In late 2018, the US and Taliban negotiators began holding peace talks. Negotiations continued well until 2020, in Doha, Qatar. (The Afghan government is excluded from the talks – the Taliban refused to meet its leaders.)

By February, about 12,000 U.S. troops were still in the country.

The United States has spent more than $ 2 trillion dollars on war effort. More than 2,400 American soldiers and nearly 700 soldiers from other allied countries have died. More than 38,000 civilians have been killed, including Afghan security forces, about 60,000 are estimated to have died since the beginning of the war.

Produced by Craig Allen, David Furst, Mikko Takkunen and Gaia Tripoli.