The September 11 attacks also known as 9/11 were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York and the Washington, D.C. areas on September 11, 2001. On that Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamic militant group Al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger plans. The hijackers intentionally flew two of those planes into the twin towers of world trade centre in New York City, causing huge fires that led to the collapse of the towers in less than two hours. One plane crushed into the Pentagon building in Washington. The last plane crushed in a field of Pennsylvania. The hijackers also planned to crush this plane but were failed by the action of plane’s passengers. It was by for the most terrible attacks in human experience.
The September 11 attacks resulted in a huge loss of human life. In the initial weeks, the total number of the fatalities at the WTC, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania was six or seven thousands but as weeks and months went by, that number constantly shrink, eventually reaching three thousands. The September 11 causalities were not only numerically larger than military targets. Most of the causalities were sailors or soldiers, of the 2,388 people killed; only forty eight were civilians.
On September 11, 2001, the Americans knew that they had been attacked and perhaps were even at war, but they did not know who the enemy was or what their future intentions were. In 2001, American responded quickly and patriotically. Following the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an ultimatum against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which he accused of harboring Bin Laden and his network of terrorists. On October 7, 2001, Special Forces had destroyed the Afghan regime and numerous Al-Qaeda leaders were killed or captured.
However, American war against terrorism promised no clear-cut solution. Even Osama Bin Laden was to be captured or killed, that would not necessarily mark the end of terrorist’s threat to America. Bin laden followers and other terrorists groups hiding in Pakistan, Somalia and the Philippines, will be the ultimate target of US led war against terrorism.
Following September11, Americans purchased and proudly displayed their national flags to help the victims of terrorist attacks. Billions of dollars contributions flowed to organizations and individuals to help the families of those killed. Partisan differences in Washington were temporarily put aside to pass national security legislation. But the unity of spirit that the United States shows in the days, weeks and months following September 11 did not necessarily translate into uniformity of opinion.
American government announced that Al-Qaeda was mainly responsible for these terrorist attacks and in 2001. The group leader Osama bin Laden, who had initially denied involvement and later claimed responsibility for the attacks. His declared a holy war against the United States, and issued a fatwa signed by him and others calling for the killings of American civilians in 1998 are the evidence of his motives. In one of his vital statement, Bin Laden publicly acknowledged Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the attacks on the twin towers and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that attacks were carried out because “we are free and want to regain freedom for our nation and said that as you undermine our security in the same manner we will undermine yours”. Al-Qaeda cited the motives for its activities against western countries owning to the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia, US support of Israel, and sanctions against Iraq. In 1998, Bin Laden issued a Fatwa calling for American troops to leave Saudi Arabia.
In 1998, he said that for over seven years United States has been occupying the land of Islam and the holiest places of the Muslim Ummah in the Arabian peninsula, plundering its resources, dictating its rulers , humiliating its people and turning the entire peninsula into an American military base. The post 9/11 global strategic environment has complicated the situation for the Muslim countries. On one hand, Afghanistan and Iraq became the first victim of global war against terrorism. On the other hand, the regimes in the Muslim countries are being subjected to close scrutiny and criticism. All the wind of accusations has started appearing in all directions against Islam and the Muslims. This complicated situation created disharmony and a deep mistrust between the West and the Muslim world. However, a peaceful and stable global security environment needs harmony, cooperation and a sense of mutual co-existence. The entire global campaign has been launched with the aim to discredit Islam and the Muslims. Under these circumstances, the collective will and strength of Muslim countries has become the target of hate of the west in general and of United States in particular.
To cut this long story short, the incident of 9/11 has not only affected the internal security environment of Pakistan but also deteriorated the relations with Afghanistan. Pakistan’s sovereignty has been challenged owning to US counter operation against the fleeing terrorist’s elements in tribal areas of Pakistan. Cross border terrorists attack against Pakistani forces are growing on daily basis.