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Klokken 14:40 lokal tid den 11. september udsendte USA's forsvarsminister [[Donald Rumsfeld]] hurtige ordrer om at finde beviser for [[Irak]]s involvering.<ref name="IraqSuspect">{{cite news |first=Joel |last=Roberts |title=Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9/11 |date=September 4, 2002 |publisher=CBS News |url =http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/04/september11/main520830.shtml |accessdate = October 7, 2009 }}</ref><ref>{{cite news |first=Julian |last=Borger |title=Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders |date=February 24, 2006 |publisher=Guardian News and Media Limited |url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/feb/24/freedomofinformation.september11 |accessdate = October 7, 2009 }}</ref>
 
[[NATO]]'s Råd erklærede, at angrebene på USA blev anset for at være et angreb mod samtlige NATO-lande.<ref>{{cite web |title = Statement by the North Atlantic Council |publisher = NATO |date=September 15, 2001 |url = http://www.nato.int/docu/pr/2001/p01-124e.htm |accessdate = September 8, 2006 |quote="Article 5: The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. / Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security."}}</ref> Efter et officielt besøg i USA af den australske premiereministerpremierminister [[John Howard]] på tidspunktet for angrebene påberåbte han en artikel i IV ANZUS traktat. I kølvandet på angrebene meddelte Bush-administrationen, at der erklæredes krig mod terrorisme med det mål at retsforfølge Osama bin Laden og al-Qaeda samt forhindre fremkomsten af andre terrornetværk. Disse mål skulle opnås ved økonomiske og militære sanktioner mod stater, som blev opfattet som husly til terrorister samt øget global overvågning og udveksling af efterretninger.
 
Den næststørste operation i den amerikanske globale krig mod terrorisme uden for USA, og den største direkte forbundet med terrorisme, blev den amerikansk-ledede koalitions omstyrtning af Taleban-styret i Afghanistan. USA var ikke den eneste nation der øgede sit militære beredskab. Bemærkelsesværdige eksempler er Filippinerne og Indonesien, lande, der begge har deres egne interne konflikter med den islamiske terrorisme.<ref>{{cite paper |author = C. S. Kuppuswamy |title = Terrorism in Indonesia : Role of the Religious Organisation |publisher = South Asia Analysis Group |date= November 2, 2005 |url = http://www.saag.org/%5Cpapers16%5Cpaper1596.html |accessdate =July 6, 2007}}</ref><ref>{{Cite book |last=Banlaoi |first=Rommel |contribution=Radical Muslim Terrorism in the Philippines |year=2006 |title=Handbook on Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia |editor-last=Tan |editor-first=Andrew |place=London |publisher=Edward Elgar Publishing}}</ref>