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Photos: Afghanistan as the war begins

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  1. A month after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Operation Enduring Freedom began on Oct. 7 with a coalition of troops from the U.S., United Kingdom and also with local fighters from the Northern Alliance. Supporting the war, largely fought by air at the beginning, a jet takes-off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Gulf, Oct. 11, 2001. (Jockel Finck / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Taliban soldiers, one holding a bull horn and the other carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, guard the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan at the Chaman border crossing Oct. 28, 2001. Afghanistan was in the crosshairs because members of al-Qaida were allied with the Taliban and operating out of Afghanistan while planning the terrorist attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. (Arshad Butt / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reacts while speaking to the press at the Pentagon, Oct. 22, 2001. The stated aim of the invasion was to find Osama bin Laden and other high-ranking al-Qaida members to be put on trial, to destroy the organization of al-Qaida, and to remove the Taliban regime, which supported and gave safe harbor to terrorists. (Hyungwon Kang / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Khadija Syed, 8, of Culver City, Calif., protests at a rally in Los Angeles' Pershing Square, Oct. 27, 2001, as part of a national demonstration against U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. Protests started in the days leading up to the Oct. 7 invasion, and have continued ever since. Then-President George W. Bush was criticized for using the "war on terror" to launch unilateral military action, and domestic legislation such as the USA Patriot Act, which significantly expanded U.S. law enforcement's power, among others. (John Lazar / Los Angeles Daily News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Initially, the conflict in Afghanistan was fought by a small number of U.S. and British special forces and massive U.S. air support. Explosions rise over the Taliban positions in the Qala-Cata mountains, northern Afghanistan, Nov.7, 2001. Aided by heavy U.S. bombing, forces seized a district of Mazar-e-Sharif from Taliban forces and were closing in on the key northern city. (Gergei Grits / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. An Afghan woman, wearing a traditional burqa required by the Taliban, walks on the side of a road as a Northern Alliance Armored Personnel Carrier ferries fighters to a new position in the outskirts of Jabal us Seraj, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Nov. 4, 2001. The Taliban ruled the country since 1996, mandating repressive, fundamentalist rules banning education for women, entertainment such as movies and music, and requiring beards for men, among others. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A Northern Alliance fighter takes position at the captured al-Qaida training camp after Afghan anti-Taliban forces captured the camp in Melawa mountain near Tora Bora, Dec. 11, 2001. The Northern Alliance, a mix of mostly ethnic Uzbek and Tajik fighters in the north, is viewed with suspicion and enmity by ethnic Pashtuns, who operate in other areas. (Romeo Gacad / AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Shannon Spann, wife of CIA officer Johnny Michael "Mike" Spann, follows her husband's casket to the graveside as she holds her 6-month old son, Jake, at Arlington National Cemetery, Dec. 10, 2001 in Arlington, Va. Spann was the first American known to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. Johnny "Mike'' Spann, 32, who entered the Marine Corps and then joined the CIA in June 1999, was killed in action during a prison riot at Mazar-e-Sharif. (Doug Mills / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Afghan refugees fleeing the fighting keep themselves warm under wool blankets as they live homeless near the Maslakh refugee camp, west of Herat in western Afghanistan, Nov. 30, 2001. They lived on the ground without tents due to lack of space for them at the camp, where more than 200,000 were crammed. While millions of Afghans have fled to other countries during decades of war, many have been repatriated in recent years. (Behrouz Mehri / AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Ahmad, a nurse at Jalalabad's Public Health Hospital, attends to Hazrat Hussein, left, and Abdul Ghafar, right, both of whom local officials claim were injured in a U.S. bombing raid in Nangarhar province, about 15 miles south of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The U.S. military said it had no evidence any of its airstrikes hit civilians. There is no accurate figure for the number of civilians killed in the conflict, but concerns were raised as the invasion began due to the heavy reliance on air strikes. (Yola Monakhov / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. American soldiers take cover during an explosion before fighting with Taliban forces Nov. 26, 2001, at the fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif, northern Afghanistan. The fall of Mazar-e-Sharif was the first major offensive of the war. It was an intense battle, but it fell sooner than U.S. coalition officials expected. (Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. An Afghan anti-Taliban tank gunner prays next to his tank position overlooking the White Mountains of Tora Bora in northeastern Afghanistan, Dec. 10, 2001. Tora Bora was the focus of attack because the U.S. and its allies believed that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was hiding in the rugged mountains. Despite overrunning key positions, bin Laden escaped capture and wasn't killed until a decade later. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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    397209 09: Northern Alliance soldiers execute a wounded Taliban soldier during an advance from the Bagram front line toward Kabul November 12, 2001 in Afghanistan. The attack was launched in the early afternoon from several front lines and continued until dark. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/Getty Images) (Tyler Hicks / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A civilian man runs away from a BM21 Northern Alliance multiple rocket launching system, Nov. 12, 2001, about 15.5 miles from the town of Bagram, Afghanistan. (Alexander Nemenov / AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A Northern Alliance soldier points at the traces of jets in the sky above the village of Ai-Khanum, near Qalai Dasht, northern Afghanistan, Nov. 10, 2001. (Sergei Grits / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Northern Alliance fighters atop a Russian made T-62 tank enter Kabul and drive past a destroyed bread factory Nov. 13, 2001, as reports from across the country pointed to a collapse of Taliban rule. Civilians greeted opposition fighters and celebrated in the streets of Kabul. (Yannis Behrakis / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A Kabul, Afghanistan, resident has his beard shaved off Nov. 13, 2001, in a barber shop after Taliban forces vacated the Afghan capital. Beards were one of the many personal and cultural edicts by the city's former rulers. (Sayed Salahuddin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Handwritten notes lie on the floor of a room inside a house on a suspected al-Qaida base Nov. 16, 2001, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Items found included a page torn from a flying magazine with flight training ads, a map of Afghanistan, packaging from a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, detailed notes written both in Arabic and English and other documents. (Tyler Hicks / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Maqsod, 8, leans on a window near his bed at an orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2001. While many cheered the fall of the Taliban, many benefitted from their support. The orphanage had no means of support after the fall of the Taliban and was left with only a two-week supply of food for the 450 children living there. (Laura Rauch / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Thousands of refugees from Kabul, Afghanistan, and troops wait for the permission to enter the city's northern outskirts Nov. 13, 2001, after Northern Alliance soldiers captured the capital. (Alexander Nemenov / AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers drive through the streets of Kandahar on the way to their security post at the compound of then-interim prime minister Hamid Karzai, Dec. 12, 2001, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. That month, the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, was established by the UN Security Council to secure Kabul and surrounding areas. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Hamid Karzai, then the new prime minister of Afghanistan's interim government, prays during his swearing-in ceremony at the Interior Ministry, Dec. 22, 2001, in Kabul, Afghanistan. That day marked the first peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan in more than two decades. Since Karzai took power, and even after his election in 2004 and re-election in 2009, his rule has been questioned for ineffectiveness and corruption. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A Northern Alliance soldier tries to keep a crowd of desperate Afghans from crowding him Dec. 10, 2001, during a chaotic day of food distribution on the grounds of a high school. The effort was sponsored by the World Food Program and assisted by local authorities in the Afghan capital, Kabul. As hunger grew in Afghanistan with the onset of winter, World Food Program planned to supply wheat to 1.3 million people over eight days. (Brennan Linsley / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. An Afghan girl reads from the board Dec. 2, 2001, in a home-based school in Kabul, Afghanistan. The school, operating secretly for a year under the strict Taliban regime, had opened its doors for all children ready to pay a small monthly fee. While the Taliban was overturned, allowing the return of some personal and cultural freedom, war would continue in the country for another decade. (Damir Sagolj / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

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  4. Editor's note:
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    Jockel Finck / Pool via Reuters
    Above: Slideshow (24) Afghanistan as war begins
    Massoud Hossaini / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (80) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2013
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    Slideshow (139) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2012
  4. Image:
    Rahmat Gul / AP
    Slideshow (234) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2011
  5. Image:
    Altaf Qadri / AP
    Slideshow (158) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2010
  6. Image: U.S. army soldiers from Task Force Denali 1-40 Cav reposition a 105mm Howitzer during snowfall at FOB Wilderness in Paktya province
    Zohra Bensemra / Reuters
    Slideshow (88) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2009: Troops
  1. Image: Afghan protesters shout slogans during a protest in Kabul
    Ahmad Masood / Reuters
    Slideshow (31) Afghanistan: Nation at a crossroads - 2009: Civilians

Video: Poll: 33% of veterans said wars were not worth it

  1. Transcript of: Poll: 33% of veterans said wars were not worth it

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And back in this country there's fresh and stark evidence tonight about another divide, the gap between the all volunteer military that fights this nation's wars and the civilians who don't. After 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan , a new study out today from the Pew Research Center asks veterans how they feel about their sacrifice. We get more from our Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski .

    JIM MIKLASZEWSKI reporting: It's another startling sign that 10 years and two wars have taken a tremendous toll on America 's servicemen and women. In the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center , only 34 percent of combat veterans said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were worth fighting. But nearly just as many, an alarming 33 percent, said the wars were not worth it. The survey dug even deeper into the personal impact of the wars, the terrible hardships suffered by the troops and their families. Nearly half said the wars put a strain on their lives at home. Nearly half said they frequently feel irritable or angry, and 37 percent said they suffer post-traumatic stress.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: The economy also weighs heavily on their minds. Twenty-eight percent said they enlisted in part because they couldn't find a job in the public sector. Two months ago, the economy was the top concern when Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen visited soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan . Instead of asking about the war, they were more worried about budget cuts and losing their jobs.

    Admiral MIKE MULLEN: We're going to have to tighten our belts and we're going to have to prioritize, we're going to have to make some hard decisions.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: There's also a dramatic disconnect between American servicemembers and the rest of the country. Eight out of 10 of those veterans believe the American public has no idea of the problems they face in the service. And only 25 percent of civilians surveyed said they even pay any attention to the wars.

    MIKLASZEWSKI: After 10 years of war, senior military officials here are not surprised by the negative responses in this survey and point out that nearly 90 percent of the veterans are still proud of their military service and 82 percent would still recommend that others enlist. Brian :

    WILLIAMS: Interesting numbers. Jim Miklaszewski from the Pentagon . Jim , thanks.


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