The fall – and rise – of NATO: Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
Operation Enduring Freedom In line with the US decision not to work through NATO and to employ an ad hoc coalition in Afghanistan that would give the US the operational control it desired, OEF was under the control of General Tommy Franks, the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM). Operations commenced on 6 October 2001 with a series of air and cruise missile strikes against key Taliban positions in Kabul, Kandahar and other locations, including al-Qaeda bases. The initial goals of OEF, as stated by Rumsfeld (2001), were:
1 to make clear to the Taliban that harbouring terrorists carries a price; 2 to acquire intelligence to facilitate future operations against al-Qaeda and
3 to develop useful relationships with groups in Afghanistan that oppose alQaeda and the Taliban;
4 to make it increasingly difficult for terrorists to use Afghanistan as a base of operation;
5 to alter the military balance over time by denying to the Taliban the offensive systems that hamper the progress of the various opposition forces; and
6 to provide humanitarian relief to Afghans suffering oppressive living conditions under the Taliban regime.