Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger planes on September 11, 2001, and used them as missiles against American targets. Approximately 3,000 people were killed in the attacks that permanently transformed the world.
In the previous two decades, what has changed?
It was a Tuesday evening in India, and early dawn in America, 20 years ago, when the world and the United States were forever altered. Terrorism functioned as a line of demarcation. On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and used them as weapons against American targets. The incident claimed the lives of almost 3,000 individuals.
WAR: THE ONE AND ONLY RESPONSE
Then, in response, US President George W. Bush came up with two crucial differentiators. “Each nation in every region now has an alternative: either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” he said in a speech that reshaped the world.
After it, a legislation called the Authorisation of Military Force was passed (AUMF). It provided the US administration the authority to use military force against individuals it believed were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The law received only one vote of disapproval out of 500 members of Congress.
At the time, Barbara Jean Lee, a Democratic Party legislator, was the only person speaking out against the US war in Afghanistan. The United States’ military engagement in Afghanistan has now come to an end.
AL-QAEDA HAS BEEN DEFEATED?
The Bush administration dispatched American soldiers to Afghanistan, armed with legislative and popular support, to avenge al-Qaeda and its founder, Osama bin Laden. A Pew survey conducted in October 2001, the month before American forces landed in Afghanistan, revealed that 60% of adults in the United States had faith in the government, a level of acceptance not seen in the previous four decades.
At the time, the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan. American forces deposed them from power in less than two months. Since the early 1990s, the Taliban has been al-guardian. Qaeda’s Pakistan, particularly its military, backed them up.
It took over ten years for the US to track down Osama bin Laden and kill him in a night raid in Pakistan’s garrison town of Abbottabad in 2011. However, the United States, then under the administration of Barack Obama, did not immediately withdraw. It had to fight a war on terror.
Five US presidential elections have been dominated by the fight against al-Qaeda or terrorism. The last two elections were about bringing American soldiers home rather than fighting the war. The storey went on to say that the US had succeeded in defeating al-Qaeda.
However, considering that the repatriation of the US soldiers coincided with the return of al-protector, Qaeda’s the Taliban, to Afghanistan, it appeared to be yet another American withdrawal from the conflict. Days after their return, the Taliban handed Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda a clean bill of health in the 9/11 case.
WHAT WE ACHIEVED IN THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
As a result, the question of what the US accomplished during its 20-year war in Afghanistan arises. Experts have described the United States’ pursuit of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan as a massive blunder that has cost the country more than $1 trillion. The United States, on the other hand, has not experienced that loss. The $1 trillion did not go primarily to the Afghan government. According to reports, American companies received the majority of the contracts for Afghanistan reconstruction. As a result, the true cost to America would be far lower.
During the Afghan conflict, the US was able to test its weapons. Drones, for example, were simply an experiment when the US attacked Afghanistan. During its time in Afghanistan, the US put its drone technology to the test in terms of delivering weapons to its declared enemy without being held accountable.
Another significant win for the US appears to be the development of intelligence assets in what is widely regarded as the world’s most challenging geostrategic knot. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is reported to have gotten access to every nook and crevice of the Af-Pak region through its network of assets. This could be crucial to future US policy in dealing with China’s growing strength and Russia’s reassertion of power, as well as maintaining a careful eye on the crucial Middle East.