Afghanistan is a long way from both Canada and Australia, but from 2001, fate conspired to bring the three together. As a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally of the United States, Canada was immediately engaged following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., and Australia moved swiftly to affirm its responsibilities under the 1951 Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) alliance to stand with the Americans in their time of need. Once it became clear that the attacks had been orchestrated by al-Qaeda from safe operating bases in Afghanistan under the Taliban, it was only a matter of time before robust military action was taken to smash the al-Qaeda network and displace the Taliban regime that had provided it with a home. Operation Enduring Freedom, an integrated military operation to bring this about, began on October 4, 2001, and by mid-November the Afghan capital, Kabul, was back in the hands of the anti-Taliban forces that had been driven from the city in September 1996. Yet this was only the beginning of a much longer engagement in Afghanistan for both Canada and Australia, with a legacy much more ambiguous than the initial campaign had seemed to leave. One reason for this was that Afghanistan was no blank page on which a new history could be written. Rather, its population was haunted by the effects of over two decades of high-intensity conflict on political structures, communities, and patterns of social interaction within and among the different components of Afghan society.
|Title of host publication||Australia and Canada in Afghanistan: Perspectives on a Mission|
|Editors||Jack Cunningham & William Maley|
|Place of Publication||Toronto, Cananda|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|