First Afghanistan, then Iraq. Two decades on from the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 (9/11), the president of the United States has made two highly symbolic decisions: on the one hand withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan and on the other ending combat operations in Iraq. In so doing, Joe Biden brings an end to the so-called “war on terror” begun by George W. Bush. The main objectives have been achieved, he says in justification: find Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11, and eliminate the terrorist threat to the United States posed by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Al Qaeda leader was assassinated in May 2011, so the first can be said to have been achieved, but what about the war on terror’s other goals? Has transnational terrorism been weakened? What did the international interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq achieve?
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