20 years in Afghanistan: Was it worth it? – BBC News

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Let’s just step back for a moment and consider why Western forces went in in the first place and what they set out to do. For five years, from 1996-2001, a designated transnational terrorist group, Al-Qaeda, was able to establish itself in Afghanistan, led by its charismatic leader Osama Bin Laden. It set up terrorist training camps, including experimenting with poison gas on dogs, and recruited and trained an estimated 20,000 jihadist volunteers from around the world. It also directed the twin attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing 224 people, mostly African civilians.

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