Just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. forces began bombing Afghanistan in hopes that it would lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden. Though the CIA worked closely with Taliban guerillas during the Soviet-Afghan conflict, the United States has now chosen to ally itself with the Northern Alliance, a rival Afghan ethnic group and ragamuffin band of fighters said to fund operations through drug production and traffic.
U.S. Special Forces soon landed in Afghanistan and have allegedly made a number of successful attacks on Taliban strongholds.
The month of November allegedly saw great advances by the Northern Alliance. The Afghan capital, Kabul, and other strategic areas, such as the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, have allegedly fallen with little effort and few losses.
On Nov. 26, President Bush announced that hundreds of U.S. Marine forces were on the ground and more were on the way. Nov. 28 brought reports of the first American casualty of the war: a CIA operative killed during a riot at a prison housing captured Taliban troops.
President Bush again warned America that winning this war would not be easy and the country was now setting its sights on Iraq.
"Afghanistan is still just the beginning" of the war on terrorism, Mr. Bush said Nov. 26, emphasizing that Americans would die there. "It's going to happen," the president said. "I said this early on, as the campaign began: America must be prepared for loss of life. I believe the American people understand that we've got a mighty struggle on our hands and that there will be sacrifice."
Back on the home front, many Americans are still unsure of what is going on around them. The economy is in recession. Congressional offices, media organizations and even a 94-year-old woman have been exposed to anthrax, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service but of unknown origin.
This is only the beginning of a major war. We have been told many lives will be lost and we see no end in sight. The only thing the American people, and the world, can do is sit back and watch. But be careful to watch. Things are changing all around us and the world we grew up in could be changed in the blink of an eye.