Friday, September 29, 2023

9/11: Reflecting on 22 Years Since the Darkest Day in Modern U.S. History

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is the leading news agency of Afghanistan with over 3 million hits a month.

By: Eva Johnson

On September 11, 2001, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks by the extremist group Al-Qaida changed the course of global history. On the 22nd anniversary of this tragic incident, it’s essential to reflect on the events of that fateful day, its implications, and how it shaped global counterterrorism strategies and geopolitics.

On the morning of 9/11, 19 Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within hours, the mighty Twin Towers collapsed, turning downtown Manhattan into a smoke-filled ruin.

Meanwhile, American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon, the Department of Defense’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was headed towards either the U.S. Capitol or the White House but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.

By the day’s end, almost 3,000 people from over 90 countries had lost their lives, marking the single deadliest terrorist act in world history.

Al-Qaida, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, quickly became the prime suspect. While the extremist group orchestrated the attacks, they found sanctuary with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban’s refusal to extradite bin Laden and dismantle terrorist camps eventually led to the U.S. launching the War on Terror.

Operation Enduring Freedom was initiated on October 7, 2001, to dismantle Al-Qaida and unseat the Taliban. Though the Taliban regime collapsed within months, the conflict continued for two decades. The U.S., during this period, established the Department of Homeland Security and enacted the USA PATRIOT Act, granting expanded surveillance powers to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

The War on Terror also played a role in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, propelled by the belief that Saddam Hussein might produce weapons of mass destruction and potentially ally with extremist groups.

Nearly a decade post-9/11, in May 2011, U.S. Navy SEALs located and eliminated Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. But Al-Qaida’s threat wasn’t entirely neutralized. Last year, another prominent Al-Qaida leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, met his end in Kabul, the result of a U.S. drone strike as detailed on the U.S. Department of Defense website.

However, despite these successes, Afghanistan’s political landscape remained volatile. As U.S. military presence diminished, the Taliban regained control, culminating in their capture of Kabul in August 2021.

22 years post-9/11, the globe faces a different landscape. The attacks reshaped geopolitics, influenced security policies, and altered perceptions of freedom and safety.

With the rise of other extremist factions like ISIS post-Al-Qaida’s decline, counterterrorism remains crucial. To ensure lasting peace, nations must address extremism’s root causes, from socio-economic issues to political disenfranchisement.

Commemorating 9/11’s 22nd anniversary reminds us of the innocent lives lost, the heroes of that day, and the unyielding human spirit. The lessons from 9/11 and its aftermath are enduring, continuously influencing global decisions.

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