ABSTRACT

The events of September 11, 2001, had a profound and ongoing effect on the Middle East. The initial conflict of the ‘war on terror’ – the invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and eradicate al-Qaeda’s operational capacity – received reasonable levels of international support. The Taliban was a broadly unpopular organization and its position in Afghanistan was widely condemned. Moreover, UN Security Council Resolution 1267 of 1999, which called for the Taliban to hand over Osama bin Laden, had clearly demonstrated the international community’s desire to see the alQaeda leader tried on terrorism charges. The terrorist attacks of 2001 imbued this agenda with a new sense of urgency. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was broadly understood as a legitimate response, and, although many in the international system articulated concerns about its effect on the war-torn country, a military campaign seemed inevitable.