The War on Terror was the first US mission in Afghanistan

Indeed, the United States’ original mission was to fight terrorism after 9/11, but after the Taliban lost government power, the goal was to rebuild Afghanistan.

The United States is in the process of withdrawing US troops and allies from Afghanistan. The Taliban soon ruled the country after the collapse of the Afghan government over the weekend.

President Joe Biden addressed the country on August 16 and defended the decision to withdraw US troops, stating that it was his original mission to prevent another terrorist attack after September 11, 2001.

“Our mission in Afghanistan was not considered to be nation-building,” Biden said. “It was not supposed to create a unified centralized democracy.”


Was the first US mission in Afghanistan only to fight terrorism?

Source of information


Yes, the original US mission in Afghanistan was only to fight terrorism, but the reconstruction of Afghanistan soon became another US goal during the war.

What we found

Parliament approved the use of military force in Afghanistan the day after the 9/11 attack by the Taliban-controlled terrorist group Al Qaeda, which had a base in Afghanistan. The joint resolution states:

“The President against any country, organization, or person he determines to have planned, endorsed, committed, or supported a terrorist attack that occurred on September 11, 2001, or contained such an organization or person. Be empowered to use all necessary and appropriate forces to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such countries, organizations or individuals. “

The resolution does not mention nation-building.

In his September and October 2001 speeches, President George W. Bush states that war is about defeating terrorism. He does not mention nation-building in those speeches.

The United States has demanded that the Taliban, which then ruled the Afghan government, hand over Osama bin Laden and close al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan or face a full-scale war, according to the Parliamentary Research Service (CRS). The 2017 report states. When the Taliban refused, the United States and its allies began a war in Afghanistan. By December 2001, the Taliban administration had ended.

It was at this point that the reconstruction of Afghanistan became a US goal. In April 2002, President George W. Bush made a speech calling for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

“Because we believe in the dignity and value of every individual, America has a far greater purpose than simply eliminating threats and containing resentment,” Bush said. “America seeks hope and opportunity from all people of all cultures, and that is why we are helping to rebuild Afghanistan.”

Since then, Afghanistan’s nation-building has become part of American policy.

“After the Taliban administration was dismissed in 2001, the administration and its international partners decided to build a relatively strong and democratic central government of Afghanistan,” a report from the Congressional Research Service said. “This effort, described by many outside experts as’nation-building’, was supported by the United Nations. “

According to the Congressional Research Service, nation-building continued beyond the Bush administration.

“The Obama administration’s strategic review in late 2009 initially narrowed the official US goal of preventing a safe haven for terrorism in Afghanistan, but the policy in a way expanded existing nation-building efforts.” Said the report. “Building and reforming Afghanistan’s governance capacity has consistently been determined to be key to the success of US policy, even after the transition to Afghanistan-led security in 2014.”

So while it is true that the original US mission in Afghanistan was only to fight terrorism, the reconstruction soon became a goal as the Taliban needed to be replaced by some form of government.

Other articles on VERIFY: Fact-checking viral photos and videos about the Taliban and Afghanistan

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The War on Terror was the first US mission in Afghanistan

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