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Although U.S. and Pakistani involvement in Afghanistan extends back at least to the Soviet invasion in 1979, most scholars date the beginnings of the modern War in Afghanistan to the weeks following the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, by the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda. Direct U.S. and British involvement began on September 14, when the U.S. State Department demanded that the Taliban turn over al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, and his followers, to whom the fundamentalist Taliban regime had given shelter and basing rights in the rugged Afghan mountains. On October 7, the U.S. campaign began with aerial attacks directed by a blend of special operations and intelligence operators on the ground. The special operations personnel quickly linked with ...

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