It’s been 20 years since Americans watched in horror as a plane went down in a field in Philadelphia, another hit the Pentagon, and two others took out the Twin Towers. Nearly 3,000 people died that day and countless others in the years to come due to disease caused by toxic smoke from the fires. Two decades later and there are still more than 1,000 remains waiting to be identified and returned to their families. Now, after the Afghanistan debacle, are fears of a repeat terrorist attack surfacing?
Although al Qaeda was responsible for the strike, the Taliban would not cooperate with the U.S. by turning over Osama bin Laden. America spent the next 20 years in Afghanistan. Now that the Taliban is once again in control – with ties to another terror group, known most commonly as ISIS-K – new fears dredged up from the past are taking hold. It doesn’t help that, although the new government promised to include females, it instead has put together a board of all males and brutally put down a demonstration by Afghan women. The Taliban, it appears, will return to its heavy-handed rule.
Adversaries Cashing In
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As Joe Biden hastily withdrew troops, leaving behind equipment, weapons, and intel, and utter chaos ensued during the departure of Afghanistan, other countries stepped up to the plate to cash in on the opportunity.
China, Iran, and Russia are taking steps to work out deals with Afghanistan, getting access to precious metals, oil, and more that America left behind. Barnett Rubin, a former senior adviser to the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the State Department said, “They were right there staring us in the face the whole time. It is just one more incident in the decline of the U.S. relative power.”
“China never needs to fire a shot in anger to bring down the United States in the eyes of the world. Instead, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engaged in an all-out propaganda campaign to denigrate the U.S. military capability and American foreign policy.”
Confidence in the United States as a world leader has diminished with the way Biden handled the withdrawing of troops and retrieving Americans and refugees from the South Asian country. Raffaello Pantucci, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute opined:
“We see a lot of glee that the West is leaving with its tail between its legs, but I’m not sure we see the same level of glee about what this now means for them having to assume responsibility.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Zaki Anwari, talked about the demise of a teenage soccer star who fell to his death as he tried to hang on to an American C-17 aircraft to escape Kabul. She quipped that the “American myth is down. More and more people are awakening.”
Since the Revolutionary War, America had continued to grow in respect and power. The events of 9/11 triggered massive support and sympathy from countries across the world. But when an ISIS-K suicide bomber was able to get past Taliban security and kill 13 U.S. military personnel and over 100 civilians, faith in the U.S. slipped while igniting fears that we are headed for another terrorist attack on American soil. As the Taliban, China, Iran, and Russia unite, the prospect of deadly violence in the homeland intensifies concerns.
A Gift to the Russians
Around the world, country leaders have spoken out about President Biden and the way the U.S. handled its Afghan evacuation. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin said, “The result is zero, if not to say that it is negative.” And editor-in-chief of Russia’s RT broadcaster, Margarita Simonyan, who is seen as the voice of the Russian government, according to NBC News, tweeted out against the 20 years the U.S. spent in Afghanistan: “It’s as if [they were] fighting a snail for 20 years using a tank, and losing to this snail in the end, and then barely getting away on the tank.”
The southern border crisis is an additional contribution to fresh fears. If the U.S. can’t even control its own borders or the illegals pouring in – nearly 20% testing positive for COVID, yet still being released into various states – how can it protect its people against foreign terrorism? As LN’s Jeff Charles explained, the border situation isn’t just about migrants trying to get into the U.S.; there’s a concern about terrorists slipping in as well:
“… groups like Al Qaeda seem to be making a resurgence and the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan shows it is also on the rise once again. Indeed, it is already known that organizations like Hezbollah and ISIS are somewhat active in South and Central America.”
“… even a cursory look at how extremist groups capitalized on Europe’s migrant crisis demonstrates that disregarding this possibility might be dangerous. Indeed, terrorists have already told the world how they plan to exploit immigration for their own ends. In 2015, ISIS brazenly declared it would ‘flood’ Europe with hundreds of thousands of Libyan immigrants as an attack on the West.”
So, on this 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, as we honor and remember the heroes, the celebration of ending a two-decade war in Afghanistan is dampened by the fears of a changing and more dangerous America that is losing favor as a world power.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.