Fox News' Steve Harrigan reflects on Afghanistan, America's longest war

As the war in Afghanistan grinds on and peace negotiations between the United States and Taliban leaders continue, Fox News has been covering the conflict from every angle since the beginning.

Launched by George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, the war in Afghanistan, known as Operation Enduring Freedom, had Al Qaeda and the Taliban as its original targets.

By 2011, there were about 140,000 foreign troops serving in Afghanistan, although that number has now dropped significantly. There are still 14,000 American troops serving in Afghanistan.

One of the initial goals, capturing 9/11 terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden, proved to be extremely challenging.

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Although the first democratic elections in Afghanistan since the Taliban's fall were held in October 2004, the fighting continued as the Taliban regrouped and changed its tactics.

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan, who will be reporting from Afghanistan this week, interviewed Hamid Karzai, who would go on to serve as the country's president for a decade: "[Bin Laden's] a criminal. He's killed thousands of our people. He's ruined our lives. If we catch him, he will be given over to international justice."

An Afghan security force stand guard at the site a day after an a suicide attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Three American service members and a U.S. contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

An Afghan security force stand guard at the site a day after an a suicide attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 9, 2019. Three American service members and a U.S. contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

"Yes, the enemy will attack people in the government, yes they'll try to figure out how to get suicide car bombs in here, yes they'll try to increase their ability to move against the border outposts, but nowhere in any of this can they derail the process," former U.S. Central Command commander John Abizaid told Fox News' Bret Baier before the 2004 election.

After President Obama was elected in 2008, he pushed to add resources to parts of Afghanistan where American casualties were increasing. The U.S. presence in the country peaked at 100,000 when the war was in its 10th year. Although the U.S. and NATO forces formally ended their combat missions in Afghanistan on December 28, 2014, there have been numerous deadly incidents since then.

Three U.S. Marines were killed on Monday in an IED blast while in a convoy near Bagram Airfield. The first Marines killed in combat in over three years, they were from the 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve: Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31.

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U.S. soldiers, working with Afghan forces, are now battling a resurgent Taliban in some parts of the war-torn country and an Islamic State affiliate that has tried to expand its footprint.

The prospects for a peace deal are at a difficult stage.

“It would be a shame if a deal was made with the terrorists who killed more than 5,400 Americans, and if they were given control of the lives of the Afghan people. That would be a win for those terrorists,” Hamdullah Mohib, the National Security Adviser of Afghanistan (NSA) who previously served as the Ambassador to the United States, told Fox News on a recent visit to the U.N. Mission in New York. “It would also dishonor the one million Americans who have served in Afghanistan.”

Fox News' Hollie McKay and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.