In order to give everyone some background, here is a short, abbreviated timeline of America and our involvement with Afghanistan.
- Groups of mujahideen (holy warriors) rebel against the pro-Soviet government during the Cold War. The Soviet Union responds by invading Afghanistan in 1979
- The CIA begins to funnel weapons to the mujahideenfighting the Soviets via the Pakistani intelligence agency.
- The war last 10 years, and with the help of U.S. aid, the Soviets are defeated. The war takes a massive toll on the USSR, and shortly thereafter, the Soviet nation collapses.
- With the Soviets defeated, the U.S. turns its attention elsewhere in the world, leaving Afghanistan with large groups of mujahideen fighters looking for a cause, and with lots of weapons and resources.
- During the war with the Soviets, and young rich businessman from Saudi Arabia, Osama Bin Laden, comes to fight with the mujahideen. While he was not lauded as a great soldier, he managed to gain a reputation and eventually establishes his terrorist network using the mujahideen cells created during the Soviet War.
- The attacks of September 11, 2001 occur
- In retaliation the U.S. invades Afghanistan in Octbober, 2001
If you are interested in learning a more detailed historical account I would recommend these two books:
- The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
- Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile