On September 11, 2001, 19 Al-Qaida terrorists from various countries in the Middle East and Asia hijacked four airplanes and 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.
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 mutilates 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, and work, together.
After the attacks on 9/11, President Bush demanded from Afghanistan/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 and the U.S. helped the Afghans establish a republic. The Taliban is still fighting, though. The U.S. has soldiers in Afghanistan and is fighting the Taliban with the Afghan people.
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 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 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. Terrorist groups unhappy with Iraqi democracy are now fighting Iraqis, and Iraqis fight the terrorists.
President Obama became the leader of the U.S. in 2009 and continued the fight against terrorists in a different way than President Bush. In 2011, he gave the order for Navy Seals to kill the leader of Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden. American soldiers risk their lives each day fighting people who made a promise to kill Americans. We remember September 11, 2001, as a day of mourning for those innocent civilians killed on American soil and as a day that changed how Americans fight terrorists around the globe.
Questions: 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? Extra: The following question is not answered in the text: 4. Where are the terrorists fighting today? 5. Research and describe President Obama’s foreign policy in regards to terrorism. What is your opinion of his policy?
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