"the best post on the subject [of the Stockwell shooting] so far and I agree. A must read." - Tim Worstall, August 21, 2005

"Chris at Optimus In Omnis wrote a thoughtful post in July...his more recent post describes the edginess many Londoners feel" - BBC News Online, August 22, 2005

Sunday, September 11, 2005

On anniversary of 9/11, those countries liberated hit stumbling blocks

As the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. is observed across the civilised world, the situation in the countries which were taken to task as part of Britain and America's war on terror has only worsened, with the news of an attempted assassination attempt on the Afghani Defence Minister yesterday, coupled with a helicopter crash in which everyone survived and another assassination attempt on an election candidate, both also in the supposedly liberated country of Afghanistan, the first pin bowled over by the war on terror which was put into place as America finally began to realise the horrors that had reached their shores on September 11, 2001.

For the families of the three-thousand plus that perished in the co-ordinated attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, deep in the heart of the financial district of New York; the Pentagon, where another hijacked jet was sent careering into one of the boundary walls, leaving a burning gash in the civil defences of the governmental building; and those on board the passenger plane that crashed above fields in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, September 11 is a memorial to those who were so coldly killed in a disgusting attack by terrorist groups hell-bent on bringing the western world to its knees. As memorial events are held from Anchorage, Alaska, to upstate Utica, NY, the world will fall silent in remembrance of the few hours of hell where planes were directed towards key buildings in America's democracy, then eventually fell to the ground, sending dust and debris scattering across Manhattan island, which would linger for days, only beaten by the overwhelming sense of greiving that still hangs over the relatives of the dead on this, the fourth anniversary of the attacks.

Yet still, despite President George Bush promising to wreak vengeance on the perpetrators of the attack since September 12, 2001, Osama Bin Laden is still missing, presumed well and truly alive, and Al'Qaeda and the Taliban have been displaced from their preferred places but still have a foothold in the countries which have been supposdely freed from suppressive rule by Allied forces. In Iraq, members of the National Guard have been refused a reprieve in their task to keep the peace in order to mourn the dead in the terrorist attacks of four years ago, or even to search for relatives still missing, now presumed dead in Louisana, which was rocked by a category four hurricane two weeks ago tomorrow.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak was the victim of a presumed assassination attempt when his motorcade came under fire, a bullet shattering the window at which he was supposed to be sitting near. Luckily, Wardack was not in fact inside the car, which was heading for a memorial service of an opposition leader to the Taliban, Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was killed September 9, 2001. His murderers were believed to be part of Al'Qaeda. Nine men, all wearing battle fatigues, were arrested under suspicion of an attempt on the life of the minister, but the Defence Ministry believe now that the shooting was not specificially aimed at Wardak, but was instead a result of an argument between the men. Whether this is the truth or an attempt to cover-up more deep-set problems in keeping law and order in Afghanistan, now more than three years free from the rule of the Taliban, is unknown.

What is known is that there were two more serious incidents in Afghanistan yesterday, including what could have been a fatal helicopter crash involving more high-profile ministers, and the chief of the military in the country. The helicopter, leaving the ceremony of remembrance for Massoud in the Panjshir Valley, lost control and burst into flames upon colliding with a tree - all aboard were able to escape without serious injury.

One was killed in the third incident on Saturday, slightly more than one week before Afghani elections, when a candidate for election, Ghulam Nabi Balouch was pinned down under a hail of bullets from several attackers. One was shot and arrested, and will be put on trial for attempt to murder Mr. Balouch as well as the murder of one of his bodyguards, who died in the exchange of shots.

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