Americans mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 today with troops finally gone from Afghanistan, but national discord — and for President Joe Biden, political peril — are overshadowing any sense of closure.
The Sept 11 attacks also ushered in an era of increased surveillance, human rights violations and mass displacements globally, with the social and economic fallout likely to continue for decades, experts said.
A whole generation has grown up since the morning of September 11, 2001.
In the interim, al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden has been hunted down and killed. A towering new sky scraper has risen over Manhattan, replacing the Twin Towers. And less than two weeks ago, the last US soldiers flew from Kabul airport, ending the so-called “forever war.”
Yet 9/11 never fully went away.
The Taliban who once sheltered bin Laden are back ruling Afghanistan. The mighty US military has been humiliated. In Guantanamo Bay, accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men continue to await trial, nine years after charges were filed.
Even the full story of how the attack came to happen remains secret. Only last week did Biden order the release of classified documents from the FBI investigation over the next six months.
Meanwhile, according rights advocates, Washington’s “war on terror” has fuelled erosions in civil liberties and human rights worldwide.
Governments have used counter-terrorism as…