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9/11 20 Years Later: A Catastrophe Created by Biden and Khalilzad in Afghanistan

9/11 20 Years Later: A Catastrophe Created by Biden and Khalilzad in Afghanistan

Saturday, 11 September, 2021 - 16:45
Camelia Entekhabifard
Editor-in-chief of the Independent Persian.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, 2001, on a warm summer afternoon, the people of the Middle East learned that the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda had attacked the twin buildings of World Trade Center in New York City.

The world had witnessed one of the largest terrorist attacks in contemporary history.

The United States of America, a superpower which commanded the largest military and economy in the world, was now like a wounded dragon. It rose up and its breath of fire burned down the biggest terrorists of the world.

What happy news this was for an innocent people who, for five long years, had lived under the yoke of repression, torture and medieval rule of Taliban. They woke up to the news, heard on radios, that the United Nations has allowed an attack on the terrorist Taliban. Taliban had destroyed home television sets and didn’t let people use satellite dishes either. Some secretly had television sets and other followed the news on radio.

The US-led coalition was like an angel of rescue that came to put an end to suffering and pains of the people of Afghanistan.

In the US, people were heartbroken by the 2,977 people killed on 9/11 and yet hopeful to see the liberation coming to the people of Afghanistan.

Services, health, education, schools opening to women and girls, a new constitution and massive budgets for reconstruction came to Afghanistan. The fight against the remnants of terrorists of Taliban and al-Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area continued.

Many of the Taliban leaders who had taken part in crimes against the people of Afghanistan and had worked with al-Qaeda terrorists were designated as terrorists by the US and the UN. Some were killed, some went to Pakistan, their main supporters, and some ended up in Guantanamo or prisons inside Afghanistan.

Today, 20 years after those events, we had to watch in disbelief as US President Joe Biden acted irresponsibly and gave up Afghanistan to the fundamentalist and regressive Taliban. The terrorists who were persecuted by the FBI and sanctioned by the UN, are now back in Kabul, sitting in the Taliban cabinet.

Almost 2,500 Americans were killed in the 20 years of War on Terror to help spread democracy in Afghanistan. But what resulted in the end was an exhausted army, which left behind a people who had lots of hopes in them.

For me to watch people falling from the sky as they hung on to the wheels of a US plane in Kabul airport was inevitably a reminder of people who threw themselves off the upper floors of WTC on 9/11, 2001.

What difference is there between these two groups of hopeless people, in 2001 New York and 2021 Kabul, who welcomed death when they hopelessly faced terror?

We should also understand the hopelessness of American politicians. After 20 years of efforts, they found themselves in a swamp filled with administrative corruption, cheating, lies and confusion. They started to think that they should give up and leave Afghanistan to its fate.

Not knowing the language of the people of Afghanistan, resorting to translators and understanding the country through the biased lens of a few people in the State Department of their advisors led to an increase in ethnic tensions based on the personal interests of these few. During my 20 years of covering Afghanistan and following conversations with dozens of my sources, I now know how Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad lied to his own bosses in the US and distorted the truth. This resulted in White House’s disappointment and disillusion and Afghanistan’s destruction.

This Afghan native man, who hails back to the Loghman province was able, from the every outset, to toy with politicians in White House, Pentagon and State Department during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

According to Rahmatullah Nabil, head of Afghanistan’s intelligence and security department, Khalilzad’s profitable trade with the Taliban dated back to the days before 9/11. In the mid-1990s, as an advisor to the Unocal oil company he negotiated with the Taliban over the northern Afghanistan oil contracts.

Khalilzad, who went on to engineer the Doha agreement with the Taliban, had promised President Trump that, with a peace deal with the Taliban, the US will be able to leave the country. But the peace agreement was nothing but submitting Afghanistan to the Taliban. Its motive had been based on ethnic ideas and Pashtun domination over Afghanistan. As Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Peace Council, says, the agreement oversaw no commitment and no guarantees for the formation of an interim government.

Khalilzad’s history of support for the Taliban and trade with them undermines his status as the US’s Afghanistan envoy.

During the first administration of Hamid Karzai, Khalilzad’s relatives were appointed to the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan and high government posts, based on his own requests. Monawar, Vahid Monawar and Hamid Monawar, three nephews of Khalilzad who, prior to 9/11, were working in fitness and body-building were now appointed to positions such as head of presidential protocol, ambassadors to Belgium and Qatar and chief consuls in Canada and Ukraine.

There is evidence that shows some military and financial deals, which were meted out by US companies to contractors had occurred after mediation by Khalilzad’s relatives who got kickbacks and bribes, using their uncle’s special status.

In 2014, the FBI started investigating Khalilzad’s financial sources which led to the blocking of the bank accounts of his wife in Austria. Khalilzad and his wife were suspected of money laundering and taking part in secret trade deals in Iraq and United Arab Emirates.

Now that we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Khalilzad’s career in the State Department might be coming to an end; but his career in treason and deception will be forever remembered by the people of Afghanistan. The hope for justice, whenever possible, remains alive; justice for victims of the last 20 years and especially those of the last few weeks and those who were cruelly killed in Panjshir. It is hope that allows the resistance to stand up to darkness, terrorism and ignorance.

The American people, whose support for democracy and people in need is a principle in their constitution and agreed by them all, will also need to see justice as they hope to know the truth about a “vague and hidden policy” that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and the US. We should never forget that, even as the date of Afghan exit approached, American soldiers lovingly and with commitment stood next to people in Kabul airport and lost 13 of the best of their youth next to these very people.

History will judge Joe Biden and Zalmay Khalilzad. What they sowed in the fields of Afghanistan, they will sure reap soon enough.

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