The Operation comprises several subordinate operations:
The term "OEF" typically refers to the war in Afghanistan. Other operations, such as the Georgia Train and Equip Program, are only loosely or nominally connected to OEF, such as through government funding vehicles. All the operations, however, have a focus on antiterrorism activities. Operation Enduring Freedom - Kyrgyzstan was basically an operation to clear out al-Qaeda forces in Kyrgyzstan so that Operation Enduring Freedom Allies could use Kyrgyzstan as a base in central Asia.
It should be noted that Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, which is a joint US and Afghan operation, is separate from the ISAF, which is an operation of NATO nations including the USA. The two operations run in parallel, and although has been intended that they merge for some time, this has not yet happened.
On October 7, 2001, early combat operations including a mix of strikes from land-based B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers; carrier-based F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet fighters; and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from both U.S. and British ships and submarines signaled the start of Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan (OEF-A). The initial military objectives of OEF-A, as articulated by President George W. Bush in his Sept. 20th Address to a Joint Session of Congress and his Oct. 7th address to the country, included the destruction of terrorist training camps and infrastructure within Afghanistan, the capture of al-Qaeda leaders, and the cessation of terrorist activities in Afghanistan.
In January 2002, over 1,200 soldiers from the United States Special Operation Command Pacific (SOCPAC) deployed to Philippines to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their push to uproot terrorists forces on the island of Basilan. Of those groups included are Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah. The operation consisted of training the AFP in counter-terrorist operations as well as supporting the local people with humanitarian aid in Operation Smiles.
In October 2002, the Combined Task Force 150 and United States military Special Forces established themselves in Djibouti at Camp Le Monier. The stated goals of the operation were to provide humanitarian aid and patrol the Horn of Africa to reduce the abilities of terrorist organizations in the region. Similar to OEF-P, the goal of humanitarian aid was highlighted in order to prevent terrorist organizations from being able to take hold amongst the population as well as reemerge after being removed. The military aspect involves coalition forces searching and boarding ships entering the region for illegal cargo as well as providing training and equipment to the armed forces in the region. The humanitarian aspect involves building schools, clinics and water wells to enforce the confidence of the local people.
The operation continues, with military direction mostly coming from United States Central Command.
In 1996, Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan upon the invitation of the Northern Alliance leader Abdur Rabb ur Rasool Sayyaf. When the Taliban came to power, bin Laden was able to forge an alliance between the Taliban and his al-Qaeda organization. It is understood that al-Qaeda-trained fighters known as the 055 Brigade were integrated with the Taliban army between 1997 and 2001. It has been suggested that the Taliban and bin Laden had very close connections.
On September 22, 2001 the United Arab Emirates and later Saudi Arabia withdrew their recognition of the Taliban as the legal government of Afghanistan, leaving neighboring Pakistan as the only remaining country with diplomatic ties.
On October 4, 2001, it is believed that the Taliban covertly offered to turn bin Laden over to Pakistan for trial in an international tribunal that operated according to Islamic shar'ia law Pakistan is believed to have rejected the offer.
On October 7, 2001, the Taliban proposed to try bin Laden in Afghanistan in an Islamic court This proposition was immediately rejected by the U.S. Shortly afterward, the same day, the United States, supported by a coalition of other countries, initiated military action against the Taliban, bombing Taliban forces and al-Qaeda terrorist training camps
On October 14, 2001, the Taliban proposed to hand bin Laden over to a third country for trial, but only if they were given evidence of bin Laden's involvement in the events of September 11, 2001 The U.S. rejected this proposal and continued with military operations.
The Northern Alliance, fighting against a Taliban weakened by U.S. bombing and massive defections, captured Mazari Sharif on November 9. It rapidly gained control of most of northern Afghanistan and took control of Kabul on November 13 after the Taliban unexpectedly fled the city. The Taliban were restricted to a smaller and smaller region, with Kunduz, the last Taliban-held city in the north, captured on November 26. Most of the Taliban fled to Pakistan. The war continued in the south of the country, where the Taliban retreated to Kandahar. After Kandahar fell in December, remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaeda continued to mount resistance. Meanwhile, in November 2001 the US military and its allied forces established their first ground base in Afghanistan to the south west of Kandahar, known as FOB Rhino.
The Battle of Tora Bora, involving US, British and Northern Alliance forces took place in December 2001 to further destroy the Taliban and suspected al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In early March 2002 the United States military, along with allied Afghan military forces, conducted a large operation to destroy al-Qaeda in an operation code-named Operation Anaconda. The operation was carried out by elements of the United States 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division, the US special forces groups TF 11, TF Bowie, and TF Dagger, British Royal Marines, Canada's 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the Afghan National Army, the German KSK, and elements of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment and of the New Zealand Special Air Service.
After managing to evade U.S. forces throughout the summer of 2002, the remnants of the Taliban gradually began to regain their confidence. A Canadian and US led operation (supported by British and Dutch forces), Operation Mountain Thrust was launched in May 2006 to counter renewed Taliban insurgency.
Since January 2006, the NATO International Security Assistance Force undertook combat duties from Operation Enduring Freedom in southern Afghanistan, the NATO force chiefly made up of British, Canadian and Dutch forces (and some smaller contributions from Denmark, Romania and Estonia and air support from Norway as well as air and artillery support from the US) (see the article Coalition combat operations in Afghanistan in 2006). The United States military also conducts military operations separate from NATO as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in other parts of Afghanistan, in areas such as Kandahar, Bagram, and Kabul (including Camp Eggers and Camp Phoenix.)
On October 9, 2004, Afghanistan elected Hamid Karzai President in its first direct elections. The following year, Afghans conducted the Afghan parliamentary election, 2005 on September 18, 2005. Since the invasion, hundreds of schools and mosques have been constructed, millions of dollars in aid have been distributed, and the occurrence of violence has been greatly reduced. While military forces interdict insurgents and assure security, Provincial reconstruction teams are tasked with infrastructure building, like constructing roads and bridges, assisting during floods, and providing food and water to refugees. Many warlords have participated in an allegiance program, recognizing the legitimacy of the Government of Afghanistan, and surrendering their soldiers and weapons, though some of their subsequent actions have led to serious questions about their true loyalties. The newly activated Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Border Police are being trained to assume the task of securing their nation. However, the Taliban still wields strong influence in many regions, and Karzai's government is believed to hold little real power outside the capital city of Kabul.
The conduct of U.S. forces was criticised in a report entitled Enduring Freedom - Abuses by US Forces in Afghanistan by U.S.-based human rights group, Human Rights Watch in 2004.
For more criticism of OEF in Afghanistan, see PDA monograph (http://www.comw.org/pda/0201strangevic.html).
For one U.S. Army response, see The Human Terrain System: A CORDS for the 21st Century
Since inception in the early 1990s, the group has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion in their fight for an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, with a claimed overarching goal of creating a Pan-Islamic superstate across the Malay portions of Southeast Asia, spanning, from east to west, the large island of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago (Basilan and Jolo islands), the large island of Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia), the South China Sea, and the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar).
Financial links between Jemaah Islamiyah and other terrorist groups, such as Abu Sayyaf and al-Qaeda, have been found to exist. Jemaah Islamiyah means "Islamic Group" or "Islamic Community" and is often abbreviated JI.
Jemaah Islamiyah is thought to have killed hundreds of civilians and is suspected of having executed the Bali car bombing on October 12, 2002 in which suicide bombers killed 202 people, mostly Australian tourists, and wounded many in a nightclub. After this attack, the U.S. State Department designated Jemaah Islamiyah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Jemaah Islamiyah is also suspected of carrying out the Zamboanga bombings, the Metro Manila bombings, the 2004 Australian embassy bombing and the 2005 Bali terrorist bombing.
The United States Special Forces (SP) unit trained and equipped special forces and scout rangers of the AFP, creating the Light Reaction Company (LRC). The LRC and elements of SOCPAC deployed to Basilan on completion of their training. The stated goals of the deployment were denying the ASG sanctuary, surveiling, controlling, and denying ASG routes, surveiling supporting villages and key personnel, conducting local training to overcome AFP weaknesses and sustain AFP strengths, supporting operations by the AFP "strike force" (LRC) in the area of responsibility (AOR), conducting and supporting civil affairs operations in the AOR.
CJTF-HOA has devoted the majority of its efforts to train selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include the rebuilding of schools and medical clinics, as well as providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained. The program expands as part of the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative as CJTF personnel also assist in training the forces of Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.
Anti piracy operations were undertaken by the coalition throughout 2006 with a battle fought in March of that year when US vessels were attacked by pirates. In January 2007, during the war in Somalia, an AC-130 airstrike was conducted against al-Qaeda members embedded with forces of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) operating in southern Somalia near Ras Kamboni. US naval forces, including the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, were positioned off the coast of Somalia to provide support and to prevent any al-Qaeda forces escaping by sea. Actions against pirates also occurred in June and October 2007 with varying amounts of success.
NATO also created a military decoration related to Operation Enduring Freedom: