The war in Afghanistan (2001–14) was Canada’s longest war and its first significant combat engagement since the Korean War. After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, Canada joined an international coalition to destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban regime that sheltered it in Afghanistan. The operation also marked the entrance of other countries’ troops into the war: special operations forces from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, and Norway. Canada’s campaign would be multifaceted, involving land, air and sea forces as well as civilian diplomatic and intelligence resources. Although the Taliban were removed from power and the al-Qaeda network was disrupted, Canada and its allies failed to destroy either group, or to secure and stabilize Afghanistan. The Canadians fought against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces, and provided protection for humanitarian operations and for Afghanistan’s new interim government.
The busiest naval deployment occurred during Operation Apollo, from 2001 to 2003, during which 15 Canadian warships from bases in Halifax and Esquimalt were sent to the region — Canada’s largest naval operation since the Second World War. In January 2002, as many as six Canadian ships, with 1,500 personnel, were operating simultaneously in the area.
More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in the 12-year campaign. The war killed 165 Canadians — 158 soldiers and 7 civilians. Many Canadian veterans of the war in Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
By the time the U.S. and NATO combat mission formally ended in December 2014, the 13-year Afghanistan War had become the longest war ever fought by the United States.
40,000 Canadians served as part of the NATO mission from 2001 to 2014. Canada continues to support stabilization, development and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, providing a total of $3.6 billion in international assistance since 2001.
* information taken from the Canadian Encyclopedia