Thursday, September 08, 2016

The View From Kabul On Sept. 11, 2001

For many of us, Sept. 11, 2001, is one of those touchstone dates — we remember exactly where we were when we heard that the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was in Afghanistan.

I'd arrived in Kabul on Sept. 9 to cover the trial of eight foreign aid workers who had been arrested by the Taliban regime, which accused them of preaching Christianity to Afghans. Proselytizing was a death penalty crime, and two Americans were among the accused.

As Time magazine's correspondent in the region, I'd been reporting from Afghanistan on and off since 1997. By 2001, the country — which came under harsh Taliban rule in 1996 — was depleted, dependent on foreign aid and almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world. It was beset by drought and on the brink of famine. Only three countries — Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — recognized the Taliban regime. The most reliable way to get in and out of the country were via United Nations and aid flights from Pakistan, where I was based.

After more than two decades of conflict, the city of Kabul felt dead, crushed by poverty and trauma. Everyone who could afford to leave this formerly cosmopolitan city had emigrated elsewhere. Electricity was sporadic and there was no phone service or postal service. The roads were pocked and broken, with sparse traffic. Curtains in private homes were drawn: No one wanted to encourage prying eyes. - Read More

The View From Kabul On Sept. 11, 2001

15 years later: the sept. 11 terrorist attacks - NPR

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