After 13 years of combat operations in response to and following the attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. military began a new phase in what was known as Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL. This after U.S. combat ops officially concluded on December 31, 2014; those ops were known as Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).
Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL (OFS) was part of the larger Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and a part of the NATO-led RESOLUTE SUPPORT (RS) mission. OFS had two components: working with allies as part of RS and “counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland,” according to SECDEF Chuck Hagel.
At the start of OFS in 2015, U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan were at about 9,800; by 2019, that number increased to 14,000 troops that supported RS and OFS.
Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL was expected to formally end on August 31, 2021; however, the complete withdrawal of U.S. military personnel concluded on August 30, 2021 following the advancement of Taliban forces throughout Afghanistan. The plan was to continue airstrikes on the Taliban after military personnel withdrew but those plans ended with the Islamic Republic fell.
In March 2015, it was announced that OFS qualified for the award of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal and the GWOT Service Medal.
The SITREP thanks all Veterans and Servicemembers who were a part of OFS and OEF for their service.