Six years ago, I was in homeroom class when I heard about the tragic news of Sept. 11. Later that week, I found out that the country where I lived most of my life was being bombed because some so-called Muslim living in a cave gave the go-ahead.
I remember being called hateful names at school to the point that my parents were scared for my safety. What was going through my mind? I don’t really remember, as those days passed in a blur of fear and confusion. But I can tell you what’s going through my mind as I witness the sixth anniversary of that tragic Tuesday morning.
Today, I find myself asking if we’ve done enough to catch the people who were behind the attack on our nation or if we’ve lost focus. This week, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker are to testify to Congress on the situation in Iraq, but I wonder why we’re not giving the same amount of attention to the 9/11 hijackers.
Why is it that after six years, Osama Bin Laden can send a videotape from some cave threatening us and we still can’t do anything about it? Why is it that the Taliban are gaining more and more power in Afghanistan, as well as in northern Pakistan, while we blindly continue to support the failing administration of President Hamid Karzai?
Most experts agree that Karzai’s authority has been reduced to control over his presidential compound in Kabul alone while the Taliban take control of the law-less country, seeking, more and more funding from opium cultivation.
The Karzai government is losing the support of ordinary Afghans due to widespread corruption, the failure to provide needed social services, and its inability to control large parts of its own territory.
A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate indicates that al-Qaida has established a new safe haven on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Meanwhile, international support for “staying the course” in Afghanistan is slipping.
“The Taliban surge in suicide bombings, hostage taking and killing of foreigners is taking its toll,” reported Karl F. Inderfurth, assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 1997 to 2001, in an article in the Boston Globe.
I think it’s time for us to realize that we’ve made some mistakes in Afghanistan and it’s time to fix them. The international community needs to put greater emphasis on training the Afghan National Police, which is considered the weakest link in the country’s security reform program.
We also need to put some effort in cleaning up Afghanistan’s opium economy. It’s definitely not helping the Afghan government or the West for the Taliban to increase their income from opium.
The next year and a half is going to be very crucial for Afghanistan and for President Bush, since he essentially made the response to Sept. 11 the legacy of his presidency. We owe it to the victims of Sept. 11 to find the people behind the disastrous attacks and bring them to justice.
I fully understand that this is not an easy task, but at the same time it’s not an impossible task. We must put resources into Afghanistan so we don’t have to worry about Bin Laden threatening us from his cave on this sixth anniversary of terror.
This can only happen if we hold our elected officials responsible for their actions and demand that they do what should’ve been done long ago, which is to bring Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts in crime to justice.
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