Khorshied Nusratty: Twenty years after 9/11 Bin Laden's ghost rules Afghanistan

Taliban opens fire at a protest in Kabul

Fox News correspondent Trey Yingst has the latest on evacuation efforts from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s efforts to silence opposition on ‘Special Report’

As an Afghan American woman who experienced the fateful events of September 11th, 2001 firsthand while living in New York City, my heart has been full of anguish watching America’s longest war come to an end. 

No one thought the United States would remain forever in Afghanistan but certainly no one imagined the tragic chaos that has ensued since Taliban forces rolled into Kabul and hoisted their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan flag above the Presidential Palace. 

The newly established Taliban government features FBI-wanted criminal figures and senior Taliban leadership who are notorious for their deadly attacks against the U.S. and coalition forces. There are no women or moderate nominees among them. The ghost of Usama bin Laden is laughing from his watery grave. 

There have already been public beatings, harsh retaliation against protests and executions. One can only imagine what is going to happen to all the courageous Afghan men and women who worked with America and numerous countries over the past 20 years to bring progress to their country. The ones that cannot leave and have been left behind are fearing for their lives.

The Taliban are telling women to stay home, stop going to universities and work. Girls above 6th grade have been turned away from classes and told not to return to school. The promise of amnesty the “new” Taliban touted in early press conferences is a sham. 

For me, the tragedies of September 11th and the last 20 years in Afghanistan are inextricable. One would not have occurred without the other. 

We owe the Afghan people more for everything they have endured, along with the promise of a future we helped create and nurture over the past 20 years. 

The terrorist plot behind 9/11 was executed by Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda from Afghan soil. The U.S.-led international coalition ousted the Taliban in late 2001, helping to establish order under a new Afghanistan government and stabilize a country that had undergone nearly 25 years of conflict at that point due to the Soviet occupation and a brutal civil war.

After 2001, millions of Afghan women and girls were able to return to school and pursue an education. They returned to work and started businesses, became doctors, lawyers, judges, parliamentarians, journalists, human rights activists and joined the Afghan government. 

None of these gains would have been possible without the security that ISAF, NATO and U.S. forces provided and the international community’s involvement in humanitarian and reconstruction programs across all sectors in Afghanistan.

These advances did not come about without an enormous investment of dollars and loss of lives, especially among Afghan civilians, soldiers and police. An estimated 241,000 Afghans perished during the past 20 years, victims of terrorism despite the presence of the greatest military might on Earth.

Sadly, over the past few years, the Taliban and ISIS-K have wrought destruction throughout the country. In the first 6 months of 2021, 390 Afghan women and girls were killed at the hands of these barbaric terrorists. It is no wonder that Afghan women feel abandoned by the West, and their futures are hanging in the balance. 

When the last Russian soldiers finally left Afghanistan in 1989, ten years after an unsuccessful Soviet occupation resulted in 1.5 million Afghans killed, Afghanistan expected political support and reconstruction efforts from the United States. 

Khorshied Nusratty – FOX News Kabul, 2003 

That American assistance never materialized. Afghanistan fell into years of a bloody civil war out of which emerged the Taliban in 1994. Terrorism under the Taliban and al Qaeda was allowed to flourish leading to 9/11. 

Afghan women have much to fear with the return of the Taliban, but so should the rest of the world if we allow this nightmare to run its course. The suicide blasts that tore through U.S. marines and Afghan civilians at the Kabul International Airport on August 26th only heightened these concerns. 

Khorshied Nusratty in Afghanistan. From left to right Massood Sanjer, Khorshied Nusratty, Mustafa Sanjer at FOX News House,,Kabul, 2002 

Once the ending of America’s longest war is no longer breaking news and the cameras stop filming, a new era of oppression and terrorism will begin in Afghanistan. Already the country is paralyzed with fear, the banks have closed, and a humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes.

We owe the Afghan people more for everything they have endured, along with the promise of a future we helped create and nurture over the past 20 years. 

Let’s not forget where the terror attacks of 9/11 were created and launched under Usama bin Laden’s watchful eye. 

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