September 11 20 years on
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
This interactive article first appeared on the Lowy Institute
Six experts debate the legacy of September 11
By Lydia Khalil
In 2001, Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban. They governed the country through rigid interpretations of Islamic law and were notorious for their human rights abuses and abhorrent attitudes and rules restricting the freedom of women. They had also given sanctuary to al-Qaeda, a transnational jihadist terrorist organisation that had opposed the United States and its military presence in the Muslim world. It was from the mountains of Afghanistan and the border cities along the Afghanistan–Pakistan border that Osama bin Laden and senior al-Qaeda operatives conceived of and launched the September 11 attacks against the United States — hijacking domestic aircraft and flying them into targets including the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. It was the most successful and spectacular terrorist attack ever conducted. It was also the largest attack by a foreign entity on US soil, at a time when the United States was, arguably, at the peak of its power.
NZIIA membership is open to anyone interested in understanding the importance of global affairs to the political and economic well-being of New Zealand.