War-weary residents of Kabul expressed anger and feelings of betrayal by the United States on Saturday, as the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that prompted a US invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling of its Taliban rulers. After a two-decade occupation, US forces abruptly pulled out of Afghanistan last month, triggering the collapse of its Western-backed government and the Taliban’s dramatic return to power. “The misfortunes we are currently experiencing are because of America,” said Abdul Waris, a Kabul resident, as the white flags of the Taliban emblazoned with lines from the Koran hung from nearby lampposts.
READ | On 9/11 anniversary, Afghans blame departed US forces for their woes
Fire and smoke billows from the north tower of New York's World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 after terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and brought down the twin towers. (AP)
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden urged unity as his country prepares to remember the victims. In a video released on the eve of the 20th anniversary, he said, "We honour all those who risked and gave their lives in the minutes, hours, months and years afterwards. No matter how much time has passed, these commemorations bring everything painfully back as if you just got the news a few seconds ago." "We learned that unity is the one thing that must never break," he added.
The terror attack has shaped most consequential domestic and foreign policy decisions made by American leadership over the past 2 decades. The anniversary comes a little more than 2 weeks after a suicide bomber in Kabul killed 13 US service members as as the military concluded its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, India paid tribute at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York ahead of the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. India's Permanent Representative to United Nations TS Tirumurti referred to it as a "moving experience."
20 years after 9/11, work of identifying remains continues
The remains of two people who died in the September 11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center were positively identified this week, as officials continued the difficult and heart-wrenching task of returning victims to their families.
The announcement came days before the 20th anniversary of an attack that killed nearly 3,000 people when hijacked commercial jets flew into the twin towers, struck the Pentagon and crashed into a Pennsylvania meadow.