9/11, 20 Years Later
On September 11, 2001, 19 Al-Qaida terrorists from various countries in the Middle East and Asia hijacked four airplanes and purposefully crashed them. Two airplanes hit the “Twin Towers” in New York City, one hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and one did not reach its target of the White House because the passengers stopped the terrorist pilots. This plane crash-landed in a field in Pennsylvania. Because of the 9/11 attacks, approximately 3,000 civilians were murdered and America fully entered into the War on Terror.
The terrorists who committed these attacks were part of an international organization called Al-Qaida, a radical Islamic organization. Al-Qaida does not control a country, but its members live in many parts of the world, including the United States of America. These terrorists hate America because the United States supports Israel’s right to exist, and because America represents freedom. Israel is a Jewish country, and the Al-Qaida organization hates Jews. Osama bin Laden was the head of Al-Qaida. He demanded that the U.S.A. stop supporting Israel, and that we remove all of our soldiers from the Arabian Peninsula.
In 2001, Al-Qaida had most of its bases in Afghanistan, a country of Asia. Afghanistan was ruled by a political party called the Taliban. Like Al-Qaida, the Taliban was very extreme in its Islamic beliefs. The Taliban did not allow girls to study or women to have a job. Women had to wear a black robe called a burqa that covered their entire body. When a girl under Taliban control becomes a woman, the Taliban may agree to mutilate her body to permanently mark her as less than a man. If you had a book or a newspaper that the Taliban didn’t like, the Taliban soldiers might torture or kill you. If it was thought you were an Afghani Christian, the Taliban would execute you. If you belonged to a minority group, you could be tortured. Punishment for homosexuality or for infidelity for a married woman was execution. The Taliban and Al-Qaida worked together.
After the attacks on 9/11, President Bush demanded from the Taliban that it hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States of America. The Taliban refused, and the U.S. launched a war. The Taliban lost the war initially and the U.S. helped the Afghans establish a republic. However, after 20 years, the Taliban are back in charge of Afghanistan, and the U.S. has withdrawn all soldiers.
In 2001, Saddam Hussein was the dictator of Iraq, and the world believed that he was supporting terrorists and that he had dangerous weapons. It was feared he would give terrorists a nuclear bomb or poison gas or some other weapons that the terrorists would then use against Americans. Saddam Hussein threatened the U.S., attempted to kill President George H.W. Bush in a visit to Kuwait, and had defied 16 United Nations resolutions to come clean on his making dangerous weapons. The United States Senate gave President George W. Bush authority to use force to remove Hussein, and he used it. The U.S. launched a war against Hussein, removed him, and established a republic. The Iraqi people tried and executed Hussein as a mass murderer.
President Obama became the leader of the U.S. in 2009 and continued the fight against terrorists in a different way than President Bush. He stated that he wanted the U.S.A. to lead from behind and to disengage in the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. However, he continued ordering the killing of terrorists. In 2011, he gave the order for Navy Seals to kill the leader of Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden. In 2014, Obama announced the end of active military operations in Afghanistan. From that point on, America performed more of a backup role in support of Afghan soldiers.
President Obama ordered American soldiers out of Iraq. After the American retreat from Iraq, another terrorist organization, called Daesha (or also ISIS) conquered much of Iraq and Syria. ISIS instituted Sharia Law, the same law that the Taliban ruled with in Afghanistan. Over 1 million refugees fled ISIS and immigrated, mainly to Europe. Some of these refugees are terrorists and have killed Europeans. Once it became clear that ISIS was a threat to Iraq and American interests, President Obama sent American soldiers back into Iraq.
President Trump continued the fight against terrorists in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Different from President Obama, Trump allowed the American military to fully engage the terrorists and be more aggressive. In early 2018, the United States and its allies defeated ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In 2018, ISIS held no territory, could not collect any taxes, and did not control any oil fields.
When President Trump left office in January 2021, the Taliban controlled 20% of Afghanistan. Trump made a deal with the Taliban that the United States would withdraw its soldiers by May 1, 2021, if the Taliban would not take conquer Afghanistan or harm Americans. Trump’s plan was to maintain an American presence at the military airport at Bagram Air Base, a massive military airport the Americans had built in Afghanistan, to ensure that terrorists would not threaten America from Afghanistan.
In January, 2021, President Joe Biden took office. Biden extended the American presence in Afghanistan four months. Beginning in May, the Taliban attacked and captured key military posts and territory throughout Afghanistan. Biden did not order American troops to fight the Taliban as they took control of more of the country. Biden's decision to leave on August 31st did not involve American allies and NATO, even though they had supported the U.S. during the war. While the Afghani President in July and August warned Biden that the Taliban could take over the country quickly, Biden told him to not speak of this in public, but to give the perception that the Taliban were not threatening the Afghani government. Biden announced to reporters at this time that the Taliban could not take over the country so quickly. Biden then gave the order to abandon Bagram Air Base. American forces left at midnight, without telling the Afghani commander. The Taliban, before taking over Kabul, asked the Biden administration if he wanted to secure the city while the Americans evacuated. Biden told the Taliban they could take over the city and be in charge. On August 15, the Taliban captured Kabul. Only the airport in Kabul was controlled by the Americans.
For the last two weeks of August, the Biden Administration attempted to evacuate all Americans and its Afghani allies from the country. Biden reported there were around 11,000 Americans in the country. Throughout these two weeks, Americans and its Afghan allies had to make their way through Taliban guards to the airport. Many Americans and Afghani allies reported that the Taliban beat them and denied them to get to the airport. On August 26, a suicide attack killed 13 U.S. Marines and up to 200 Afghanis at the airport. By the end of August, all U.S. soldiers were evacuated along with 6,000 Americans, but anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand Americans were left stranded along with tens of thousands of Afghani allies in Afghanistan.
As of September 11, 2021, the Taliban controls Afghanistan and there are no more U.S. soldiers in the country. There are still an untold number of Americans and Afghan allies trying to get out. Twenty years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, those who harbored and supported the terrorists claim victory over America in Afghanistan.
1. Who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.A?
2. Who are the Taliban?
3. How did the U.S. respond to these attacks in Afghanistan?
4. Why did the U.S. attack Iraq?
5. What happened after President Obama took U.S. soldiers out of Iraq?
6. What has happened to ISIS since President Trump began his presidency?
7. What did the Taliban do from May through August, 2021?
8. How did President Biden respond?
9. How many Americans and its Afghani allies were left behind once the American military evacuated Afghanistan?
10. Bonus Question Requiring Research: What is the Pineapple Express in Afghanistan?
John De Gree
John De Gree writes the current events with a look at the history of each topic. Articles are written for the young person, aged 10-18, and Mr. De Gree carefully writes so that all readers can understand the event. The perspective the current events are written in is Judeo-Christian.
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