A different kind of war? September 11 and the United States' Afghan War

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The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the US response have been widely described as heralding a new kind of war. For over a decade previous to 11 September, however, a body of literature had developed arguing that during the 1990s a new kind of warfare had begun to emerge for the West. This article examines whether 11 September and its immediate aftermath – the US campaign in Afghanistan – confirmed these trends, or whether it really did constitute a different kind of war. It does so through a four-part framework: that during the 1990s wars were localised; that the enemy was not a state but a regime or individual leader; that civilian deaths should be minimised; and that wars were fought on behalf of the West by professionals, but that the risks to these forces should also be minimised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-184
Number of pages20
JournalReview of International Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003


  • new wars
  • september 11
  • afghan war 2001-2
  • operation enduring freedom


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