Seven years ago, the United States began bombing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan after its refusal to hand over Al-Qaeda leaders who plotted the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Pentagon's strategy was quick and effective. About 100 U.S. Special Forces, grouped into teams of about a dozen each, had already parachuted into different parts of the country. Most had already linked up with anti-Taliban militia fighters before the first U.S. air strikes.
In fact, using laser devices to guide U.S. air bombs into Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets, those small teams of U.S. Special Forces were able to reverse the fortunes of the so-called Northern Alliance, a grouping of anti-Taliban militias that had been pushed by the Taliban out of all but 10 percent of Afghan territory.
Within six weeks, U.S. air strikes allowed the Northern Alliance to advance from those small mountain strongholds into Kabul itself -- with the Taliban fleeing the city during the night.
Many Afghans had hoped that their war-ravaged country would finally see peace after Afghan President Hamid Karzai was appointed as transitional leader under a mandate from the UN Security Council.
To read the full story
Contributors to this report include RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Ajmal Torman in Kabul and Sultan Sarwar in Prague.