The longest war in American history is over. On August 31, 2021, a U.S. plane carrying the remaining U.S. officials to Afghanistan took off from Kabul, ending the country’s nearly 20-year presence in the country. The chain of events leading to the long and endless war began early on September 11, 2001.
Nineteen terrorists divided into four groups, each with a trained pilot, hijacked four commercial flights: United Flight 93 from New Jersey, American Flight 77 from Washington, DC and United Flight 175 and American Flight 11 from Boston. The planes flew across the country, either to Los Angeles or to San Francisco. They, so, had enough fuel to cause the maximum possible damage.
The passengers a board the planes knew they had been hijacked shortly after takeoff. However, the rest of the world remained oblivious to the situation until 8:46 a.m. EST. It was at this point that U.S. Flight 11 was seen heading towards the tallest buildings in New York City, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). Before anyone can react, the plane crashed into the north tower, creating a massive 93rd to 99th floor impact hole.
Experts initially thought the accident was due to pilot error or a plane malfunction. However, that theory changed when United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. EST. About half an hour later, at 9:37 a.m. EST, U.S. Flight 77 struck the Pentagon in Virginia. Shortly after, United Flight 93 crashed into an empty field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At that time it was obvious that America had experimented a well-planned terrorist attack.
The consequences attacks was heartbreaking, especially for those inside the majestic Twin Towers. Intense fires, caused by fueled planes, weakened the steel support farms which attached each of the 110 floors to the building outside. This, combined with the aircraft’s initial impact, caused both turns crumble into a giant heap of cement and steel in less than two hours. While the quick-witted firefighters and police had evacuated a majority of valued 18,000 people in the WTC compound themselves were not so lucky. Most did not make it out alive. The Pentagon building withstood the crash, but the plane’s initial impact killed 184 people.
The senseless act of violence, planned by the extremist Islamic organization Al-Qaeda, killed 2,977 innocent people. The death toll would have been even higher if the crew and passengers of United Flight 93 had not taken control of the plane. They managed to confuse the plane – supposed to be heading to the United States Capitol in Washington, DC – in an empty field in Shanksville. Although none of the 40 survived the forced landing, their courage saved the country from an even greater disaster.
Sshortly thereafter, the United States and its allies declared a “global war on terror” in Afghanistan. They wanted retaliate against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban – the fundamentalist Islamic militia – which provided them with a safe haven. The two decades conflict lasted four US presidencies, killed tens of thousands and cost an estimated $ 2,000 billion. Unfortunately, that didn’t do much to change the situation.
While al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was murdered in 2011, the terrorist group remains active. He has generates several ramifications, including the murderer ISIS. The United Nations estimates that 5 million Afghans were moved by war since 2012. To make matters worse, the Taliban returned to power shortly after the Departure of allied forces. In just ten days, from August 6 to 15, 2021, they took over the provincial capitals Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and, finally, Kabul. As Taliban militants gained ground, the country’s President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates and the United States Embassy quickly evacuated thousands of citizens of the country.
President Joe Biden drew critical for the unfortunate turn of events. However, the American leader defended his decision, saying, “I was the fourth president in preside on the presence of American troops in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not and will not pass this war on to a fifth.
September 11, 2001 was an epic tragedy proportions – one that will never be forgotten. However, it also made Americans more resilient and determined continue to live fearlessly. September 11 – or Patriot Day, as it’s called now – take a few minutes to remember the thousands of innocent lives lost to it. fateful day and the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives to try to stop global terrorism.
Resources: History.com, Wikipeida.com, www.aljazeera.com