Fifteen years ago on October 7 a U.S. led coalition began Operation Enduring Freedom in retaliation for the terrorist attacks on the United States a few weeks earlier. US and coalition forces used Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (or TLAM for short), air strikes, precision bombing, and special operations to begin it all, soon followed by more conventional boots on the ground.
For the first time since NATO’s inception in 1949, Article V was invoked, which states, “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”
But that wasn’t all. As an Army Combined Arms Center paper states in A Different Kind of War, “NATO and the UN were not the only international organizations to express solidarity with the United States. The Organization of American States, which included many Central and South American countries as well as the United States, quickly invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (commonly know as the Rio Treaty). Ratified in 1945, this treaty was similar to NATO’s Article V in that the agreement stated that an attack against one was considered an attack against all. On 14 September 2001 Australia formally invoked the ANZUS Treaty, which pledged Australian and New Zealand support for their ally, the United States. Both Australia and New Zealand would eventually provide both SOF and naval ships for OEF.”
Even the United Nations took a stand by passing Resolution 1368 , “…that condemned the (September 11) attacks, expressed condolences to the victims, and called on all nations to combat terrorism.”
While combat operations lasted only a few weeks, OEF would drag on for over a decade. American troops are still there today, supporting Afghan and coalition partners in the continuing struggle against terrorism, in a region that spawns it.
And although terrorism is nothing new to the world, in large part, the war against it began fifteen years ago.