The Taliban observed the 18th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan Monday with a flashback to jihadist leaders’ interviews and support for al-Qaeda.
American forces invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks because the Taliban, which claims to be the legitimate government of Afghanistan, was openly harboring al-Qaeda members. The Taliban maintains an alliance with al-Qaeda to this day.
In an article titled “7th October: A Black Day in the history of Afghanistan” appearing on the Taliban website Voice of Jihad, the group claimed that “the words of the late Emir still echo in the ears of all the Mujahideen.”
Two weeks before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Omar expressed confidence that Allah was on their side, and that they would prevail in any conflict:
Almighty Allah… is helping the believers and the Muslims. Allah says he will never be satisfied with the infidels. In terms of worldly affairs, America is very strong,” Omar said. “Even if it were twice as strong or twice that, it could not be strong enough to defeat us. We are confident that no one can harm us if Allah is with us.
Years later, the Taliban would attempt to rewrite history, claiming that it would have released Osama bin Laden into U.S. custody if evidence of his involvement in the September 11 attacks was provided. While Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Haji Abdul Kabir asked the U.S. to halt its airstrikes while it considered releasing the terrorist leader, Omar rejected the notion outright.
The Taliban continues to deny al-Qaeda’s involvement in 9/11 despite longstanding evidence to the contrary. In an August 2019 interview with CBS News, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen asserted that the group was “ready to try [al-Qaeda]” if “there is proof given to us.”
The Taliban maintains that the U.S. deserved September 11, calling it “a heavy slap on [America’s] dark faces” and a direct consequence of our country’s “interventionist policies” in a video released in July.
“People of the World! Western imperialists and transgressors are lying to you,” it said, continuing:
They neither care for the security of their own people, nor for ours and yours. If they truly cared about national and international security, then they would have ended their interventionist policies against the oppressed Muslims.
The video ends with an Oscars-esque memoriam to several suicide bombers.
“7th October this year should be another reminder for all the enemies of Afghanistan that no one can ever forcefully subdue Afghans and take their sovereignty and independence,” the group wrote yesterday on the aforementioned Voice of Jihad nearly two decades after the war on terror formally began, continuing:
The Americans should know that they have to withdraw from Afghanistan otherwise their soldiers will keep getting slaughtered like sheep, their children orphaned and wives widowed. Their economy will be under strain and the final outcome will be the misery and shame which they are facing.
“The American invaders should know that the only solution for ending the war in Afghanistan is the complete withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan,” it said. “They must understand that the Mujahideen will fight the invaders for another 18 years until this demand is met.”