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News Link • Afghanistan

Editor's Notebook: Afghan War Now Country's Longest

• ABC News
The Afghan war was enormously popular when it began on a fall Sunday eight and a half years ago. Less than a month had passed since the September 11 attacks, and President Bush could draw on deep wells of support when he ordered air strikes against Kabul , Jalalabad and the Taliban stronghold at Kandahar. 

"We are supported," Bush said that day, with only slight exaggeration, "by the collective will of the world."

By mid-November American forces had driven the Taliban from the capital; at month's end Kandahar was in the U.S. sights; in early December the Taliban leadership fled, and Marines set up a base near the Kandahar airfield.

No one proclaimed "Mission Accomplished," but they might as well have. Surely, it seemed, this would be a brief campaign.

On the one-year anniversary, in October 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told CNN, "The Taliban are gone. The Al Qaeda are gone."

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