U.S. Engagement in Afghanistan From "The Surge" Until Today
February 2009: In an effort to combat a potentially resurging Taliban, President Obama announces his decision to send an additional 17,000 troops into Afghanistan to assist the 37,000 US and NATO troops already in the country.
December 2009: President Obama announces his Afghanistan "Surge" strategy: sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, drawing the total number of troops deployed in the country to slightly under 100,000 forces. He committed to begin withdrawing forces in July of 2011.
November 2010: NATO members sign a declaration to pass total control of security to Afghan forces by 2014.
June 2011: With Bin Laden having been killed a month prior, President Obama announces a timeline to withdraw the surge troops, planning to bring home 10,000 throughout 2011 and another 23,000 by the summer of 2012. Focus begins to shift from defeating the Bin Laden-led Al-Qaeda to stabilizing Afghanistan through minimizing the power of the Taliban.
June 2013: NATO passes security responsibility to Afghan forces and defines its newly limited role as providing military training and conducting specified counterterrorism operations. The Taliban agrees to participate in talks with the US in its recently opened office in Doha, Qatar.
May 2014: Obama announces that, despite troop withdrawals, 9,800 forces will remain in Afghanistan to provide military training and conduct specified counterterrorism operations.
January 2018: The Taliban conducted several consecutive terrorist attacks in Kabul, including packing an ambulance with explosives and detonating it in a populated area (95 deaths) and a gunmen attack at the Intercontinental hotel (40 deaths).
February 2019: Under the Trump Administration, the US and the Taliban participate in peace talks in Doha. The goal of these talks is to find an agreement in which the United States withdraws troops, while the Taliban prevents terrorism within Afghanistan. There are roughly 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan at this time.
February 2020: The US and the Taliban sign a peace agreement oriented around the aforementioned goals; although, the Taliban continues to conduct attacks on Afghan forces. This deal was reached a full year after the talks began, partly due to President Trump's temporary cancelation of the talks after the Taliban killed a US soldier.
September 2020: The Taliban and Afghan forces participate in direct talks, referred to as the Intra-Afghan peace talks, in Doha, with the aim of identifying avenues to a conflict free Afghanistan post US involvement. In these talks, the Taliban communicated their desire for Afghanistan to be ruled by an Islamic system and the Afghan government expressed the need for a ceasefire; however, the parties did not make significant progress in reaching an agreement.
April 2021: President Biden announces that all troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.
August 2021: The Taliban captured control of 26 of the country's 34 provinces within only 10 days. Afghan President Ashraf Ghan fled the country upon the Taliban's capture of Kabul, and the United States evacuated its embassy in Afghanistan. President Biden has now committed to sending 6,000 US troops back to Afghanistan for the sole purpose of ensuring the safe evacuation of US and allied personnel.