Ten years since Afghanistan war began

  • 7 October 2011

It's been ten years since the start of the war in Afghanistan.

British troops and forces from other countries are still there, trying to help the Afghan government build a stable nation.

But Taliban fighters continue to carry out surprise attacks, and soldiers and Afghan civilians are still dying.

A total of 382 British soldiers have been killed since the conflict started, and thousands more Afghans have died too.

The British government has said that UK troops will have pulled out of Afghanistan by 2015, and earlier if possible, as long as the Afghan forces are able to keep the country safe.

Why did the war start?

Troops first entered Afghanistan ten years ago because they wanted to overthrow a group called the Taliban, which controlled most of the country.

People were angry because the Taliban ruled with a very strict law and allowed a terrorist organisation called al-Qaeda to train there.

America also wanted to track down Osama bin Laden, the man behind the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001.

Although they succeeded in driving the Taliban from power, foreign troops stayed there to fight supporters that re-grouped, as well as helping to train Afghan forces.

They've also helped to rebuild areas and make sure there are enough hospitals and schools.

The UK believes that a safe and secure Afghanistan will help to keep British streets safe from terrorist attacks.

Some people who live there say it's made life a lot better, although there is still a lot of work to be done.

Check out the timeline below for the key things that have happened there.

Timeline of the war in Afghanistan

  • 2001: British and American troops enter Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. They succeed within weeks, driving the Taliban from power, but Osama bin Laden escapes capture. A new government is formed.
  • 2003: Soldiers remain in Afghanistan and fight Taliban supporters who re-group.
  • 2006: British troops are moved to a different part of Afghanistan called Helmand Province, which is the Taliban's heartland. They are sent mainly to help with rebuilding the area, which is supposed to take three years.
  • 2009: Britain and America send more troops in to Helmand Province. More soldiers are killed here this year than any other of the decade.
  • 2010: The British government says troops will pull out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
  • 2011: Osama bin Laden is found hiding in Pakistan and killed by US soldiers.