In response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, Operation Enduring Freedom officially began 7 October 2001 with American and British bombing strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Initially, the Taliban was removed from power and al-Qaeda was seriously crippled, but forces continually dealt with a stubborn Taliban insurgency, infrastructure rebuilding, and corruption among the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Border Police.
On 2 May 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS (Sea, Air, Land) launched a raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing the al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the September 11th terrorist’s attacks. Operation Enduring Freedom officially ended on 28 December 2014, although coalition forces remained on the ground to assist with training Afghan security forces. The United States Armed Forces completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August 2021, marking the end of the 2001-2021 war.
The U.S. Navy had three Medal of Honor recipients during Operation Enduring Freedom—Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward C. Byers Jr. and Master Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski. All were all Navy SEALS.