By Julia Kemp
On September 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic extremist group called Al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial planes. Armed with box cutters and mace, the terrorists coordinated attacks against the US by planning to crash planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capitol Building in Washington DC. The terrorists were successful in three out of four of the attacks. In the attempted attack on the Capitol Building, passengers attempted to retake the plane by flooding the cockpit, which caused the plane to crash in a field in Pennsylvania. Totaling all of the attacks, the casualties neared 3,000 people–– consisting of building workers, bystanders, plane passengers, first responders, and the terrorists themselves.
Across the nation and around the world, millions of viewers watched in shock as news reports and video of the attacks circulated the media. The devastating impact of the attacks caused a solemn feeling that swept across the hearts of everyone in the world. On September 14, President George W Bush stood on piles of rubble to speak to the rescue workers, firefighters, police officers, and the people of the nation to deliver an important message. “I can hear you,” Bush reassured, “The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon.” Bush then vowed to “win the war against terrorism,” and launched air strikes and ground combat in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces that initiated the 20 year struggle of the US against the Taliban.
20 years after that fateful day on September 11, 2001, after President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in April of 2021, Taliban forces reemerge and take control of the Afghan capital of Kabul. As thousands of Afghans struggle to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban takes control, Biden defends his decision to evacuate Afghanistan, and promises to help evacuate Afghan citizens who assisted the US and to open refugee-status to vulnerable Afghans.