war on terror, officially the Global War on Terrorism ( GWOT), is an ongoing international counterterrorism military campaign initiated by the United States following the September 11 attacks. The main targets of the campaign are  militant Islamist and Salafi-Jihadist armed organisations such as Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and their international affiliates; which are waging military insurgencies to overthrow governments of various Muslim countries.  
War on terror Photographs, clockwise from top left: Aftermath of the September 11 attacks; American servicemen boarding an aircraft at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan; an American soldier and Afghan interpreter in Zabul Province, Afghanistan; explosion of an Iraqi car bomb in Baghdad. Map: Countries with major military operations of the war on terror. Belligerents
Other participant countries:
(note: most contributing nations are included in the international operations)
Commanders and leaders
Joe Biden (President 2021–present) Rishi Sunak (Prime Minister 2022–present) (President 2017–present) Emmanuel Macron Vladimir Putin (President 2000–2008, 2012–present)
Hamid Karzai (President 2002–2014) Ashraf Ghani (President 2014–2021) Olusegun Obasanjo (President 1999–2007) Umaru Yar'Adua (President 2007–2010) Goodluck Johnathan (President 2010–2015) Peter Mafany Musonge (Prime Minister 1996–2004) Ephraïm Inoni (Prime Minister 2004–2009) Philémon Yang (Prime Minister 2009–2019) Mamadou Tandja (President 1999–2010) Hama Amadou (Prime Minister 2000–2007) Seyni Oumarou (Prime Minister 2007–2009) Albadé Abouba (Acting Prime Minister 2009) Ali Badjo Gamatié (Prime Minister 2009–2010) Salou Djibo (President 2010–2011) Mahamadou Danda (Prime Minister 2010–2011) Mahamadou Issoufou (President 2011–2021) Brigi Rafini (Prime Minister 2011–2021) Blaise Compaoré (President 1987–2014) Honoré Traoré (Interim President 2014) Yacouba Isaac Zida (Interim President 2014) Gilbert Diendéré (Interim President 2015) Michel Kafando (Transitional President 2014–2015, 2015) Roch Marc Christian Kaboré (President 2015–2022) Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba (Interim President 2022) Charles Taylor (President 1997–2003) Moses Blah (President 2003) Gyude Bryant (Interim President 2003–2006) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President 2006–2018) Idriss Déby † (President 1990–2021) Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Prime Minister 1993–2001) Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Prime Minister 2001–2009) Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Prime Minister 2009–2011, 2015–2019) Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Prime Minister 2011–2015) Wim Kok (Prime Minister 1994–2002) Jan Peter Balkenende (Prime Minister 2002–2010) Kostas Simitis (Prime Minister 1996–2004) Kostas Karamanlis (Prime Minister 2004–2009) George Papandreou (Prime Minister 2009–2011) Lucas Papademos (Prime Minister 2011–2012) Panagiotis Pikrammenos (Prime Minister 2012) Antonis Samaras (Prime Minister 2012–2015) Alexis Tsipras (Prime Minister 2015, 2015–2019) Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou (Prime Minister 2015) Ahmet Necdet Sezer (President 2000–2007) Abdullah Gül (President 2007–2014) Jens Stoltenberg (Prime Minister 2000–2001, 2005–2013) Kjell Magne Bondevik (Prime Minister 1997–2000, 2001–2005) Erna Solberg (Prime Minister 2013–2021) Megawati Sukarnoputri (President 2001–2004) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (President 2004–2014) Abderrahmane Youssoufi (Prime Minister 1998–2002) Driss Jettou (Prime Minister 2002–2007) Abbas El Fassi (Prime Minister 2007–2011) Abdelilah Benkirane (Prime Minister 2011–2017) Saadeddine Othmani (Prime Minister 2017–2021) Abdelaziz Bouteflika (President 1999–2019) Abdelkader Bensalah (Acting President 2019) Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya (President 1984–2005) Ely Ould Mohamed Vall (Acting President 2005–2007) Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi (President 2007–2008) Ba Mamadou Mbaré (Acting President 2009) Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (President 2008–2009, 2009–2019) Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (President 1987–2011) Mohamed Ghannouchi (President 2011) Fouad Mebazaa (President 2011) Moncef Marzouki (President 2011–2014) Beji Caid Essebsi (President 2014–2019) Mohamed Ennaceur (President 2019) Abdoulaye Wade (President 2000–2012) Helen Clark (Prime Minister 1999–2008) John Key (Prime Minister 2008–2016) Bill English (Prime Minister 2016–2017) (Chancellor 1998–2005) Gerhard Schröder Angela Merkel (Chancellor 2005–2021) Silvio Berlusconi (Prime Minister 2001–2006, 2008–2011) Romano Prodi (Prime Minister 2006–2008) Mario Monti (Prime Minister 2011–2013) Enrico Letta (Prime Minister 2013–2014) Matteo Renzi (Prime Minister 2014–2016) Paolo Gentiloni (Prime Minister 2016–2018) Giuseppe Conte (Prime Minister 2018–2021) Mario Draghi (Prime Minister 2021–2022) José María Aznar (Prime Minister 1996–2004) José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Prime Minister 2004–2011) Mariano Rajoy (Prime Minister 2011–2018) António Guterres (Prime Minister 1995–2002) José Manuel Barroso (Prime Minister 2002–2004) Pedro Santana Lopes (Prime Minister 2004–2005) José Sócrates (Prime Minister 2005–2011) Pedro Passos Coelho (Prime Minister 2011–2015) Islam Karimov (President 1991–2016) Nigmatilla Yuldashev (Acting President 2016) Abdiqasim Salad Hassan (President 2000–2004) Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed (President 2004–2008) Aden Madobe (Acting President 2008–2009) Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (President 2009–2012) Muse Hassan Sheikh Sayid Abdulle (Acting President 2012) Mohamed Osman Jawari (Acting President 2012) Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (President 2017–2022) Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (President 1971–2004) Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Acting President 2004) Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (President 2004–2022) Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Acting President 2022) Fahd bin Abdulaziz (King 1982–2005) Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (King 2005–2015) Sultan bin Abdulaziz (Crown Prince 2005–2011) Nayef bin Abdulaziz (Crown Prince 2011–2012) Muqrin bin Abdulaziz (Crown Prince 2015) Muhammad bin Nayef (Crown Prince 2015–2017) Muhammad Mustafa Mero (Prime Minister 2000–2003) Muhammad Naji al-Otari (Prime Minister 2003–2011) Adel Safar (Prime Minister 2011–2012) Riyad Farid Hijab (Prime Minister 2012) Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji (Acting Prime Minister 2012) Wael Nader al-Halqi (Prime Minister 2012–2016) Imad Khamis (Prime Minister 2016–2020) Pervez Musharraf [note 4] (President 1999–2008) Asif Ali Zardari (President 2008–2013) (President 2013–2018) Mamnoon Hussain Nawaz Sharif (Prime Minister 2013–2017) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Prime Minister 2017–2018) Imran Khan (Prime Minister 2018–2022) Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Prime Minister 1998–2004) Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister 2004–2014) Junichiro Koizumi (Prime Minister 2001–2006) Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister 2006–2007, 2012–2020) Yasuo Fukuda (Prime Minister 2007–2008) Tarō Asō (Prime Minister 2008–2009) Yukio Hatoyama (Prime Minister 2009–2010) Naoto Kan (Prime Minister 2010–2011) Yoshihiko Noda (Prime Minister 2011–2012) Yoshihide Suga (Prime Minister 2020–2021) Jiang Zemin (General Secretary 1989–2002) Hu Jintao (General Secretary 2002–2012) Kim Dae-jung (President 1998–2003) Roh Moo-hyun (President 2003–2008) Lee Myung-bak (President 2008–2013) Park Geun-hye (President 2013–2017 ) [lower-alpha 1] Hwang Kyo-ahn (Acting President 2016–2017) Moon Jae-in (President 2017–2022) John Howard (Prime Minister 1996–2007) Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister 2007–2010, 2013) Julia Gillard (Prime Minister 2010–2013) Tony Abbott (Prime Minister 2013–2015) Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister 2015–2018) Scott Morrison (Prime Minister 2018–2022) Aleksander Kwaśniewski (President 1995–2005) Lech Kaczyński (President 2005–2010) Bronisław Komorowski (President 2010–2015) Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister 1993–2003) Paul Martin (Prime Minister 2003–2006) Stephen Harper (Prime Minister 2006–2015) Moshe Katsav (President 2000–2007) Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister 2001–2006) Ehud Olmert (Prime Minister 2006–2009) Shimon Peres (President 2007–2014) Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister 2009–2021) Reuven Rivlin (President 2014–2021) Naftali Bennett (Prime Minister 2021–2022) Émile Lahoud (President 1998–2007) Michel Suleiman (President 2007–2014) Tammam Salam (Acting President 2014–2016) Michel Aoun (President 2016–2022) Daniel arap Moi (President 1978–2002) Mwai Kibaki (President 2002–2013) Uhuru Kenyatta (President 2013–2022) Hosni Mubarak (President 1981–2011) Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (Interim President 2011–2012) Mohamed Morsi (President 2012–2013) Adly Mansour (Interim President 2013–2014) Fayez Tarawneh (Prime Minister 1998–1999, 2012) Ali Abu Al-Ragheb (Prime Minister 2000–2003) Faisal Al-Fayez (Prime Minister 2003–2005) Adnan Badran (Prime Minister 2005) Marouf al-Bakhit (Prime Minister 2005–2007, 2011) Nader Al-Dahabi (Prime Minister 2007–2009) Samir Rifai (Prime Minister 2009–2011) Awn Al-Khasawneh (Prime Minister 2011–2012) Abdullah Ensour (Prime Minister 2012–2016) Hani Mulki (Prime Minister 2016–2018) Omar Razzaz (Prime Minister 2018–2020) Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (Acting President 2004–2005) Ayad Allawi (Prime Minister 2004–2005) Jalal Talabani (Acting President 2005–2006, President 2006–2014) Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Prime Minister 2005–2006) Nouri Al-Maliki (Prime Minister 2006–2014) Fuad Masum (President 2014–2018) Haider al-Abadi (Prime Minister 2014–2018) Barham Salih (President 2018–2022) Adil Abdul-Mahdi (Prime Minister 2018–2020) Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (Prime Minister 2020–2022) (President 2001–2010) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (President 2010–2016) Benigno Aquino III Rodrigo Duterte (President 2016–2022) Than Shwe ( Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces/ Chairman of the SPDC 1992–2011, Prime Minister 1992–2003) Khin Nyunt ( Prime Minister 2003–2004) Soe Win ( Prime Minister 2004–2007) Thein Sein ( President 2011–2016, Prime Minister 2007–2011) Aung San Suu Kyi ( State Counsellor 2016–2021) Htin Kyaw ( President 2016–2018) Win Myint ( President 2018–2021) Ali Abdullah Saleh (President 1990–2012) Abdul Qadir Bajamal (Prime Minister 2001–2007) Ali Muhammad Mujawar (Prime Minister 2007–2011) Mohammed Basindawa (Prime Minister 2011–2014) Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi (President 2012–2022) Abdullah Mohsen al-Akwa (Acting Prime Minister 2014) Khaled Bahah (Prime Minister 2014–2016) Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher (Prime Minister 2016–2018) All various former world leaders
East Turkestan Islamic Movement
Abdul Haq (Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement) † Abdullah Mansour (Emir of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement)
Casualties and losses
900,000+ people killed At least 37 million people displaced  (Per Costs of War) 
The "war on terror" uses
war as a metaphor to describe a variety of actions which fall outside the traditional definition of war taken to eliminate international terrorism. 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush first used the term "war on terrorism" on 16 September 2001,  and then "war on terror" a few days later in a formal speech to  Congress.  Bush indicated the enemy of the war on terror as "a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them."   The initial conflict was aimed at al-Qaeda, with the main theater in  Afghanistan and Pakistan, a region that would later be referred to as " AfPak". 
The term "war on terror" was immediately criticized by individuals including
Richard Myers, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and eventually more nuanced terms came to be used by the Bush administration to define the campaign. While "war on terror" was never used as a formal designation of U.S. operations,  a  Global War on Terrorism Service Medal was issued by the U.S. Armed Forces.
On 23 May 2013, President Obama announced that the Global War on Terror was over,
 indicating that the U.S. would not wage war against a tactic but would instead focus on a specific group of terrorist networks.   The rise of ISIL led to the global  Operation Inherent Resolve, and an international campaign to destroy the terrorist organization.
The notion of a "War on Terror" was contentious, with critics charging that it has been used to reduce
civil liberties and infringe upon human rights, such as controversial actions by the U.S. including surveillance, torture, and  extraordinary rendition, and drone strikes that resulted in the deaths of suspected terrorists but also civilians.   Many of the U.S.' actions were supported by other countries, including the 54 countries that were involved with
 CIA black sites, or those that assisted with drone strikes.  
Criticism of the war on terror has focused on its morality, efficiency, and cost. According to a 2021 study conducted by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the several post-9/11 wars participated in by the United States in its war against terror have caused the displacement, conservatively calculated, of 38 million people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Philippines and Pakistan; 26.7 million people have returned home following displacement. The study estimated these wars caused the deaths of 897,000 to 929,000 people, including over 364,000 civilians, and cost $8 trillion.   Critics accuse participating governments of using the "War on Terror" to repress minorities or sideline domestic opponents,   of mainstreaming  Islamophobia, and have criticized negative impacts to health and the environment, resulting from the "War on Terror".    Critics assert that the term "war" is not appropriate in this context (much like the term "  war on drugs") since terror is not an identifiable enemy and it is unlikely that international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.