On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered its worst terrorist attack. Members of a terrorist group called al-Qaeda hijacked three airplanes. They crashed the planes into the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and the World Trade Center in New York City. Both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed. The damage was tragic. Thousands of people died.
Al-Qaeda planned the U.S. attack in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban, a militant religious force. America demanded that the Taliban turn over al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden. The Taliban refused. Then the United States invaded Afghanistan and quickly overthrew the Taliban. Taliban leaders fled to the neighboring country of Pakistan where they continued to attack U.S. forces and the new Afghan government.
In February 2020, President Trump said that the U.S. would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. In April of 2021, President Biden, who took office in January of 2021, said American troops would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. This would be twenty years after the American war in Afghanistan began. In July 2021, President Biden changed the deadline. He said all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by August 31, 2021.
In August, American troops began to withdraw, or leave, Afghanistan. The Taliban decided to act. They quickly took control of most of Afghanistan. They took control of the capital city, Kabul. Many who fear the Taliban’s rule are trying to flee the country. American military forces are working hard to help evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees (a person who has been forced to leave their country) from Afghanistan. Terrorists attacked the airport in Kabul as people leave. Hundreds have been killed. This includes 13 members of American armed forces. This is a frightening end to the United States’ longest war.
The days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, were also a frightening time. The United States will remember and observe the 20th anniversary of September 11. The nation will remember the people who were lost in the attacks and the conflict that followed. It will also remember the people who rushed to help others as soon as the attacks began. Americans came together to help one another during those hard times. Americans will need to find that spirit again as they face this historic occasion.
What Do You Think? What are ways you have helped someone who was really in need?
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