Biden to honor 9/11 victims as shadow of Afghan war looms

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will honor the 21st anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, a year after he concluded the lengthy and costly war in Afghanistan that the US and its allies initiated in response to the attacks.

By ending the Afghan war, the Democratic president fulfilled a campaign promise to withdraw US troops from the country’s longest battle.

However, the war ended in a shambles in August 2021, when the US-backed Afghan government crumbled in the face of a countrywide Taliban onslaught, restoring the hardline group to power.

A explosion claimed by an extremist organization headquartered in Afghanistan killed 170 Afghans and 13 US troops at Kabul’s airport, as thousands of desperate Afghans congregated in the hopes of escaping before the last US cargo flights went over the Hindu Kush.

According to John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Biden’s remarks on Sunday will recognize the impact of the 2001 attacks on the United States and the world, as well as the nearly 3,000 people killed that day when Al-Qaeda hijackers took control of commercial planes and crashed them into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.

“I believe you’ll hear him speak about how America will remain watchful to the threat while also looking ahead to future threats and difficulties and learning to meet those threats and challenges,” Kirby said.

Late last month, Biden observed the one-year anniversary of the US pullout from Afghanistan in a low-key manner. He delivered a statement in remembrance of the 13 US troops killed in the Kabul airport bombing and spoke by phone with US veterans aiding ongoing efforts to resettle Afghans who helped the war effort in the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Biden’s handling of the war’s end on Thursday, saying the country has fallen downward under resurgent Taliban leadership since the US exit.

“One year on from last August’s calamity, the catastrophic nature of President Biden’s decision has become clearer,” McConnell stated. “Afghanistan has turned into a global pariah.” Its economy has fallen by about one-third. Half of the country’s population today faces serious food insecurity.”

Jill Biden, the first lady, will speak at the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sunday. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband will go to New York City for a ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

Source: AP

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