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Overseas Contingency Operations (OEF, OIF, OND, OIR & OFS Combined)

Map of Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan

In response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush launched the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), formally the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). As it evolved, his objective was two-fold: to destroy al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan and around the world, and to remove Saddam Hussein from power to forestall threats from his presumed possession of weapons of mass destruction. Operation ENDURING FREEDOM began on October 7, 2001, when the United States launched military operations in Afghanistan, including airstrikes against Kabul and Kandahar. In sustaining military operations for over a decade, American troops continue to fight a widespread insurgency and establish a viable government. On May 1, 2011, US Navy SEALS killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Simultaneous to the war in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies threatened military action if Iraq did not abide by all of the numerous UN resolutions of the past ten years, including UN Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002), which called on Iraq to cooperate unconditionally with UN weapons inspectors to verify that Iraq was not in possession of WMD and ballistic missiles. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) found no evidence of WMD, but could not verify the accuracy of Iraq's weapons declarations. In the face of Iraq's resistance to open inspections, U.S. and coalition forces on March 20, 2003, launched Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, a combined air and ground assault. U.S. troops seized Baghdad after just twenty-one days. A broad insurgency that ebbed and flowed over the next seven years challenged efforts to create a democratic Iraqi government and threatened open sectarian warfare between minority Sunni and majority Shia, with northern Kurds aspiring to regional autonomy amid the unrest. In January 2007, U.S. military forces implemented "the surge", a counterinsurgency strategy devised by General David Petraeus. U.S. combat operations ended on September 1, 2010. American troops remained in the country to advise Iraqi security forces as part of Operation NEW DAWN until the final withdrawal on December 15, 2011.

Combined Joint Task Force - Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (CJTF-OIR) is comprised of U.S. military and coalition forces. The CJTF-OIR is united to build the military coalition to support Iraqi Security Force operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States executed Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) in Afghanistan, targeting al Qaeda leadership and infrastructure supported by the Afghan Taliban regime. U.S. forces contributed to a coalition of up to 50 Allied and partner countries as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to secure the country and develop Afghan security forces. U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan ended on December 31, 2014. As part of Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL (OFS), U.S. forces remain in the country to participate in a coalition mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and to conduct counterterrorism operations against the remnants of al Qaeda.