Operation Enduring Freedom Turns 10

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom. “While our raids today focus on the Taliban and the foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, our aim remains much broader. Our objective is to defeat those who use terrorism, and those that house or support them,” said then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in his statement to the nation on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the operation began. Precision airpower played a decisive role in the conflict’s early phase in setting the conditions on the ground that allowed US special forces and Afghan Northern Alliance fighters to push the Taliban from its hold on power. Air Force bombers, fighters, and special operations gunships delivered 10,000 tons of munitions—about 75 percent of the total—and struck more than half of all targets in those first two months of fighting. Ten years later, operations continue against Taliban and al Qaeda insurgents in Afghanistan and against terrorists elsewhere, as OEF encompasses more than just Afghanistan. Through it all, air, cyber, and space power remains integral to the fight. (See also Air Mobility Command’s three-part OEF anniversary series: Part 1: Airlift; Part 2: Airdrops; and Part 3: Air Refuelers.)