“I have no idea why the Americans are in my country.”
It was one of my first days of high school. My sister—chauffer and role model at the time—and I were cruising down the peaceful, windy roads of my hometown when we heard the news. We usually listened to Good Charlotte on the tape player, and while I was fiddling with the tape to figure out which side to listen to, the headlines blasted through the speakers—the same way our 30 year old car AC pelted me in the eyes with dirt flakes and other edgy particles—I was smacked upside the head with the news. I didn’t really get it. I looked at my sister for interpretation and advice. Honestly, the only thing on my mind was boys and sparkly lip gloss. I didn’t realize how that event was going to shape the next 10 years of my country.
“According to a survey of 15- to 30-year-old men in the two southern provinces where President Barack Obama sent the bulk of American surge troops, 92% of respondents said they didn’t know about “this event which the foreigners call 9/11″ after being read a three-paragraph description of the attacks.”
Now, 10 years later, there are so many Afghans never schooled in “this event foreigners call 9/11,” many that have “never seen the iconic image of the Twin Towers burning” and they don’t understand why Americans are still there.
“I think the Americans did it themselves, so they could invade Afghanistan.”
So did we, Americans, and are we, still, doing this to ourselves?
For the full in-depth look into the thoughts of Afghan youth, head on over to the Wall Street Journal‘s article “Many Afghans shrug at ‘This Event Foreigners Call 9/11”
“Nobody explained to them the 9/11 story—and it’s hard to win the hearts and minds of the fighting-age males in Helmand if they don’t even know why the foreigners are here,” says Norine MacDonald, president of the International Council on Security and Development, the think tank that carried out the survey of 1,000 Afghan men in eight districts of Kandahar and Helmand. “There is a vacuum—and it’s being filled by al Qaeda and Taliban propaganda claiming that we are here to destroy Islam.”
“The superpowers wanted a good pretext to invade Afghanistan, and these attacks provided it.”
“After 9/11, the whole world rushed to Afghanistan, and the people of Afghanistan were under the illusion that everything would be changed: The roads would be paved black, the houses would be painted white, the infrastructure rebuilt and the industries established,” he says. “But gradually these expectations have come down, and now have reached the point of zero. The people are asking: When will the foreigners finally leave?”