The aftermath of the soviet war with Afghanistan, which lasted from the late 1970s to 1988, marked the beginning of another conflict between the fundamentalist groups of the Far East and the American authorities. The emergence of a violent Islamic fundamentalist group founded by a Saudi dissident led to increased terrorist activities around the world. Al Qaeda, the major terrorist network, perpetrated attacks targeting the United States interests in America and abroad. In 1993, Islamic fundamentalist bombed the World Trade Centre in a bid to destroy it. This was one of the early terrorist activities of Al Qaeda. Later, in 1998, the same group bombed the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania enhancing the United States government resolution to eradicate the terrorist network. Three years later, the attack on the World Trade Centre and the pentagon by hijacked airliners triggered the United States government to launch the war on terror.
Given the gravity of the Islamic fundamentalists’ violent activities, the American government was justified to launch a counteractive measure to tackle their actions. The American authorities had been pursuing terrorists, but on a much lesser scale. This was through the pursuit and arrest of individuals who either directly perpetrated terrorist activities, or aided the fundamentalists’ acts. There was the need to embark on the hunt for the terrorists on a larger scale (Bennet 172).
The United States of America, in collaboration with other western countries such as the United Kingdom, attempted to find and bring to book all terrorists and their affiliates in the period between 1993 and 2001 without a lasting solution. The number of terrorists kept on increasing and their violent acts considerably increased during this period. All the targets for the terrorists were the interests of the American people or other western countries. Often, most of the attacks victims were America citizens. The main reason for the vigorous fundamentalist activities despite the efforts to combat them was that they had a safe ground that acted as the base for their operations.
When the American forces and the Northern Alliance rebels invaded Afghanistan, many critics labeled the operation an imperialist action with hidden interests especially for the Americans. However, the country harbored the chief financier of the majority of the terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden. The Saudi dissident masterminded the destruction of the World Trade Centre by financing the training of the terrorists who hijacked the commercial flights that crashed into the twin towers. Afghanistan was then under the religious authority of the Taliban fundamentalists. The Taliban were not terrorists themselves, but they offered Osama bin laden and his Al Qaeda operative protection from American authorities. For the Americans to get to the root of the problem, they had to eliminate the Afghanistan authorities. This would ensure the cessation of terrorist training by al-Qaeda and disrupt extremist plans (Elshtain 89).
Even if the American government were to consider the effects of the ensuing conflict on the Afghanistan people, common reasoning dictated that only a forced removal of the Taliban would pave way for the arrest of the terrorists and eventual destruction of the al Qaeda network. Furthermore, the Taliban were oppressive authorities even to their subjects. They imposed strict Islamic law and partial martial law. The Taliban policies did not favor any kind of development of the Afghanistan nation. However, critics viewed the actition as punitive reprisal for the World Trade Centre and the pentagon attacks. The restoration of a formal government in Afghanistan weakened the al-Qaeda terrorist network and almost stopped its activities entirely. The campaign against the Taliban and the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was a successful operation by the US military despite the fact that the chief suspect, Osama bin Laden was not apprehended.
Authoritarian rule seemed to create a perfect environment for the terrorists to thrive. This kind of government existed in the long time in Iraq; whose government was a long time enemy of the United States. Iraqi authorities were uncooperative with the weapons inspection officers and constantly engaged in feuds with the neighboring countries. During this time of constant terrorist threats, it became necessary that a more responsible government replace the Iraqi regime. Although critics had contested the claim of the presence of al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq, the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime preceded terrorist insurgency by al-Qaeda cells that had existed in the country.
Generally, the war against terror was declared since the Taliban government in Afghanistan shunned diplomacy, which could have provided a platform for bringing to justice the suspects of terrorist activities. With the consistent attacks against American targets, the United States was justified to consider any supporters of the terrorists as her enemies. The decision of the American government to declare war on the Taliban was thus a justified cause (Bennet 186).
The war on terror has proved to be necessary with the current disorganization of the crumbling Islamic fundamentalist groups. Al-Qaeda, the once formidable structured militant organization is now an array of fleeing fugitives many of whom have been subdued or arrested. This only became possible upon the removal of the protective regimes that harbored the terrorists.
Another argument is that the United States of America, the pace setting world power, had to play its part in mitigating the terrorists’ acts. The terrorists were a threat to the people of the whole world, and the effort to dismantle the terrorist networks had to be initiated and led by a powerful nation. America would be making a wrong decision to stand by and wait for the terrorist activities to die down (Elshtain 163).
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