September 11: When America was “something far away” for Afghanistan

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When occupied by Al Qaeda aircraft were falling on twin towers in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington on September 11th 2001, the Afghanistan he was still in shock at his own tragedy which also brought al Qaeda’s signature.

Two days earlier, the Islamist group had assassinated Ahmad Shah Massoud, the hero of the resistance against the Soviet invaders in the 1989s and then against the regime. Taliban a decade later, on the birthday of Pansir Valley, his base.

As Afghans still struggled to realize the death of the charismatic Massoud, events in the United States would completely change the course of history in their country. Even if some Afghans did not immediately realize the gravity of the events.

“I heard news that night (…) They were talking about an attack on America“, Says Abdul Rahman, a former civil servant who was then 20 years old. «Did not pay attention“because on the radio they kept talking about attacks and war.”

A few days later, the Afghans learned that Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, hiding in Afghan territory, had organized the attacks.

The Americans, according to the Athenian News Agency, have accused the Taliban, in power in Kabul since 1996, of providing shelter to al Qaeda.

“However, I did not believe that the United States would attack Afghanistan in retaliation,” he said. “For me, America was very far away.”

“US and NATO made it a mantra”

Abdul Samad, a librarian in Kandahar, recalls seeing people gathered around a newsstand looking at photos of flaming twin towers.

“It was two days after the incident,” he said, adding that the attack triggered an “unacceptable occupation.”

In the face of the Taliban’s refusal to hand over bin Laden, the United States invaded Afghanistan leader of an international coalition, overthrowing the Islamist regime in a few weeks.

“They were looking for an excuse to come to Afghanistan. “It was an excuse for them to occupy this land.”

“In the beginning, people were optimistic and refugees in other countries, such as Pakistan and Iran, returned. “They did not know that we would face even more problems.”

The United States and NATO “made it a point to come here.”

After their overthrow, the Taliban joined the insurgency, intensifying attacks on foreign and Afghan forces and causing tens of thousands of deaths among the civilian population.

“US was a trap for Afghans”

The Americans have been accused of disrespecting the traditions and religion of Afghanistan and of committing atrocities at great cost to civilian lives.

Nurullah, a teacher, recalls watching television footage of attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., in a neighbor’s basement.

Television, like other means of entertainment, was banned at the time because it was considered non-Islamic by the Taliban.

“It was scary. “They did not stop showing the towers on fire.”

The fall of the Taliban was followed by a brief period of calm and peace. But it was not going to last, as the Islamists refused to accept the occupation of their country by foreigners.

“When the Taliban left, the people were happy, they could breathe freely again,” Nurullah said. But over time, he began to realize that “the United States was in the wrong place.” “It was a trap for them.”

Twenty years later, the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan. “The same people, the same people, the same behavior have returned.”

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