9/11: The day America can never forget

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks in the US, Americans have a reason to feel safe.

Preeti Panwar

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 attacks in the US, Americans have a reason to feel safe and secure as the man behind the ghastly attacks – Osama bin Laden - has finally met his fate. It’s been a decade since New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania were hit by air attacks. The United States of America, the most powerful nation, was left shaken and stirred by 9/11 and its shockwaves were felt across the entire globe. The heart-wrenching pictures of September 11 attacks - people running chaotically in the hope of survival, some meeting their deaths at ground or getting lost in the debris, all recreate before our eyes the most unfortunate day in the history of America.

America’s perspective on terrorism changed in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks. The US revisited its policies and strategies to fight terror.

Al Qaeda, a terrorist outfit which existed since 1979, became famous overnight after bringing down the World Trade Centre (WTC) and damaging the Pentagon. The mastermind behind the sinful attacks was Osama bin Laden. He, along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mohamed Atta, the Islamist radicals, orchestrated the attacks in which almost 3,000 people died.
After denying initially, Osama bin Laden admitted responsibility for the attacks in 2004, shortly before the US Presidential Elections. In a taped statement, bin Laden expressed his hatred towards America’s support to Israel and the presence of US soldiers in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the principal architects behind 9/11 attacks, confessed his role in conspiring the attacks. Not surprisingly, he was arrested from Pakistan in 2003 and currently he is serving punishment in the Guantanamo Bay.

Pakistan has always denied its role in sponsoring terrorism. However, time and again, it has been proved that it has become a safe haven for terrorists. Under the leadership of former military chief Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan was criticised for its failure to combat terrorism.

In 2002, while making a speech, the then president Musharraf pledged to ‘combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness’ within Pakistan while condemning the attack on US.

Before 9/11 also, terrorists had tried to undermine the security of the US, including the 1973 New York City bomb plot and 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.

Post 9/11, the US and the UK, along with the support of NATO and non-NATO countries, launched the ‘global war on terrorism’ against militant organisations, especially aimed at al Qaeda.

In 2010, at Times Square in New York, al Qaeda and Pakistan Taliban jointly attempted to carry out a car bombing, but US authorities successfully foiled their heinous plans. In this case, Faisal Shahzad was arrested, who was reportedly inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, a senior al Qaeda recruiter, to support the militant group.

Since 2001, the US has stated various objectives to tackle terrorism internationally. These include identifying, locating, defeating and destroying terrorists along with their organisations, among other goals against terrorism.

The US successfully achieved its aim on May 02, 2011 when Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda and main plotter behind the 9/11 attacks, was gunned down in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by a team of US Navy SEALs. They conducted a unilateral raid without prior information to Pakistan. And thus ended a chapter, but only one of many…

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