In a first, 9/11 anniversary marked without troops in Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is back to where it was, under the Taliban rule, just as the world found it, almost 20 years ago, reports Asian Lite News

This year, for the first time in 20 years, the anniversary of 9/11 will be marked without US troops in Afghanistan, where the terrorist attacks were planned.

September 11 attacks, also called the 9/11 attacks, series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks were committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in US history.

The attacks caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous US effort to combat terrorism.

In all, 2,977 people lost their lives, most of them in New York. All 246 passengers and crew aboard the four planes were killed. At the Twin Towers, 2,606 people died – then or later of injuries. At the Pentagon, 125 people were killed.

Pentagon officials who survived the attack in Washington that killed 125 reflected on two decades of conflict that has defined several military generations, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The US and its NATO allies raided Afghanistan in October 2001 to overthrow the Taliban, considered as war on terror”, spent billions but the end resulted in the formation of the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” in Afghanistan, reported the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

However, they ended their involvement in a war-torn nation last month. And it is coloured, for many, by still-fresh reactions to the US exit from the country in late August, which saw 13 troops killed and 20 injured along with hundreds of Afghan casualties from an Islamic State attack in the war’s final days.

This unending conflict in what is termed as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’ has left the Taliban relentless and unscathed thanks to persistent Pakistan support for more than 20 years. Building terror bases within Afghanistan again will be an easy task with the Taliban in control as camps of groups like the LeT, JeM is reportedly in the process of being shifted to Afghanistan from Pakistan to avoid the FATF Blacklist, reported IFFRAS.

Moreover, the NATO-backed Government and all other institutions built over the last 20 years have been completely routed and the Taliban have categorically announced women’s rights to be within the sphere of the Sharia.

Though many grand statements are being issued by the Taliban, the situation on the ground with regard to human rights particularly for minorities and women is worsening with every passing day.

Moreover, the cost of the war for the US and its NATO allies was in billions. According to US Government figures when the country had more than 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan between 2010 to 2012, the price of the war increased to nearly $100 billion a year, IFFRAS reported.

Also, the inclusion of hardliners in the caretaker government of Islamic Emirate, those who were involved in the terror attacks shows that the US is back to square one regarding the war on terror.

The cabinet members consist of many Taliban figures that are considered hardliners. The list announced by chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was dominated by members of the group’s old guard, with no women included.

Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund is appointed as Prime Minister with two deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Molavi Abdul Salam Hanafi.

Akhund was a close aide to the group’s late founder Mullah Omar and is on a United Nations sanctions list. He was previously the foreign minister and then deputy prime minister during the group’s last stint in power from 1996 to 2001.

The lesser known Taliban leader who is on the UN terror list hails from Kandahar and was among the founders of the armed group. He worked for 20 years as head of Rehbari Shura and remained close to Taliban chief Hebatullah Akhundzada.

Also, Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the proscribed Haqqani network has been named the new interior minister.

The network is a US-designated terror group aligned with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Haqqani has a $5 million US bounty on his head.

He is suspected of organising a series of bombings in Kabul in 2008 and plotting the assassination of then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Mullah Yaqoob, one of the deputy leaders of the Taliban since 2016 and the son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, will act as caretaker Defence Minister.

In the end, Afghanistan is back to where it was, under the Taliban rule, just as the world found it, almost 20 years ago, said IFFRAS.

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