I was in Saudi Arabia on 9/11 where I had returned a week earlier after spending 2 months of holidays in Pakistan. Inbound tourism had just started in Saudi Arabia and there were lots of groups booked for the season from October onward, however, tourists do not visit Saudi Arabia during summer months, so I had spent June and July in Pakistan. We repeatedly saw the unbelievable videos of the collapse of the twin towers and by September end it seemed obvious that the US will attack Afghanistan to settle the score with Taliban of and Al-Qaida. They had to take this action to comfort the grieved families’ of 9/11 victims.
The legendary Afghan freedom fighter, Ahmed Shah Masood was killed two days before 9/11 in a bomb blast whose responsibility was claimed by the Taliban. Taliban had fought several battles with Rabbani’s Jamat-e-Islami Afghanistan, which occupied the strategic valley of Panjsher in the North of Kabul and Ahmed Shah Masood was its military commander.
At the time of 9/11, almost 95% of Afghanistan was under control of Taliban with the support of Al-Qaida, however they could never enter or take control of Panjsher valley. Mullah Umar was the sole source of power and authority managing the government from Kandhar in the South West of the country.
The only resistance they faced after taking over the country in 1996 was from Ahmed Shah Masood attacking from Panjsher valley. I visited Jalalabad and Kabul during the Mujahideen period, when all the Afghan warlords were fighting each after return of soviet forces. Unity of the country was at stake; opium was grown all over the country and every one carried ammo.
Blog by: Amir Khalid