September 11, 2001, and the War in Afghanistan

  • Julie GareyEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations book series (PSIR)


This chapter examines how the war in Afghanistan impacted US-NATO relations and how those impacts changed the NATO alliance. Four factors led the United States to prefer limited military contributions from allies during Operation Enduring Freedom: difficulties with command and control during the 1999 Kosovo operation, the capabilities gap between the United States and NATO members, preferences of the administration—and in particular Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—in combatting international terrorism, and a widespread belief in the moral and legal legitimacy of US actions. Still, it continued to contribute to the alliance to improve NATO’s ability to engage in conflict. As time progressed, the United States faced unanticipated challenges, however, and recognized the necessity of NATO engagement. It advocated the alliance take a leading role in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Thus, the Afghanistan conflict provided two unique opportunities to NATO. First, it was able to demonstrate its utility to the United States and have an impact on the conduct of the war. Second, its ability to evolve to meet the demands of the new threat environment ensured that it would remain relevant and persist in the post-Cold War period.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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