Twenty years ago, 19 men flew commercial planes into New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington DC. A total of 2,977 people died and several thousand others were injured. The world watched as the United States was attacked on its own soil by hijackers with the singular mission of ending human life.
In addition to planes, the terrorists, who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam, hijacked the religion of more than 1.8 billion people.
Muslim Americans endured years of racism at best, and hate-filled violence at worst. Mainstream political pundits lambasted Islam and its followers. Many women permanently removed their hijabs in the hope of evading domestic terrorism at the hands of ignorant strangers. Muslim communities were subjected to government surveillance in their mosques, homes, schools and places of work.
Here, Muslim Americans in the arts, politics, healthcare, education and the media speak about life over the last two decades and the permanent repercussions of that single moment.
Read the full article (Guardian)
Two days before 9/11, an Al-Qaeda suicide squad posing as journalists sat down for an interview with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the last major commander resisting the jihadist group’s Taliban allies in northern Afghanistan.
Before he could answer a question, they detonated explosives that investigators said later had been cunningly disguised in their camera equipment.
Twenty years on, Massoud’s assassination and the September 11 attacks on the United States are for many Afghans the twin cataclysms that started yet another era of uncertainty and bloodshed — and which continue to reverberate following the Taliban’s return.
Read full article (International Business Times)
A profile of Ahmad Shah Massoud can be found on Wikipedia.
The Taliban have announced a new government from Kabul, 20 years after they were driven from power.
For a generation that grew up with education, international investment and hope in a democratic future, reading that line must feel scarcely believable.
So how did the previous administration fall so quickly? The Taliban went from taking control of their first major city to arriving at the gates of Kabul in just 10 days.
Read full article (BBC)
Afghanistan’s geographical location has always put it in the middle of the plans of greater powers. This article outlines how before the British and Russians engaged in the “Great Game” China had its own experience with the strategic importance of Afghanistan.
Read full article (The Diplomat)
A US Air Force linguist gives an account of his reconnaissance missions aboard an Air Force Special Operations Command aircraft over Afghanistan.
“Ten years after my last deployment, and after 20 years of combat with the world’s richest, most advanced military, the Taliban has reclaimed Afghanistan. Whatever delusions existed about whether this would happen or how long it might take have been dispatched as efficiently as the Afghan security forces were by the Taliban over a single week.”
Read full article (The Atlantic)