It’s Saturday, September 11th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.
1) First Responder Remembers 9/11
The Topline: Twenty years ago today, America suffered the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history.
Among the innocent civilians killed in the attacks were hundreds of first responders who raced towards danger to save others.
Morning Wire spoke with Stephen Dillon, a former New York Police Department Officer and 9/11 first responder.
Dillon, a detective at the time, was called into duty after the second plane struck the World Trade Center. He lost friends and colleagues in the attacks.
Quote Of The Day:
“Oddly enough. I remember…what a beautiful day it was. It was clear blue skies…and I just remember thinking…’how can this happen on a day like today? And then once I got into Manhattan and I saw the destruction…life is not going to be the same for a while here in the city or as a cop.”
– Stephen Dillon, Former New York Police Department Officer and 9/11 First Responder
2) Biden And The 20th Anniversary Of 9/11
The Topline: President Biden is facing new waves of pressure from critics, this time on the subject of September 11th and the possible resurgence of al-Qaeda.
“I think the whole community is kind of watching to see what happens and whether or not al-Qaeda has the ability to regenerate in Afghanistan. You know, we put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that to happen.”
– U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
September 11, 2001
Al-Qaeda terrorists coordinated the 9/11 attacks, but U.S. policy at the time drew no distinction between terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda, and those who harbored them, like the Taliban.
After twenty years of conflict in the region to eradicate terror, President Joe Biden is being widely criticized for the immediate consequences of his foreign policy.
Biden Faces Criticism
The first point of criticism relates to Biden’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from Afghanistan, which has not only resulted in the complete return of Afghanistan to Taliban control, but the resurgence of other terrorist groups in the region, including al-Qaeda.
Many are now condemning the potential inability of the U.S. to prevent the resurgence of the terrorist group behind 9/11, especially since much of the responsibility for preventing terrorism now rests on the shoulders of the Taliban.
The second layer of criticism relates to an ongoing push by hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims for the U.S government to release information regarding the attack. Many have argued that details are being hidden by the Department of Justice and the FBI regarding the alleged involvement of Saudi government officials in the attacks.
The group, called “Members Of The 9/11 Community,” wrote a letter saying President Biden is not welcome at all three 9/11 memorials he will be visiting on Saturday, unless he fulfills his commitment to “seek full truth and accountability.”
3) Who Is ISIS-K?
The Topline: The terror group ISIS-K has been discussed frequently after they claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the Kabul airport in Afghanistan which killed at least thirteen U.S. service members and over a hundred Afghans.
The group is a branch of the Islamic State technically called Islamic State-Khorasan. Khorasan is a wider historical region including parts of Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
According to Katherine Zimmerman, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the group was officially recognized in early 2015. Zimmerman told The Daily Wire they started to form in the fall of 2014 from disaffected members of the Pakistani Taliban in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. She said at the time they were accusing the Taliban of compromising with the west and not pursuing global jihad.
The main groups Americans hear about are the Islamic State, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
Zimmerman told The Daily Wire one of the main differences between these groups has to do with how each one treats fellow Muslims.
The Taliban and al-Qaeda believe other Muslims need to be taught true Islam in order to then be held accountable for their actions. The word “Taliban” means “students” in Pashto, which is one of the official languages of Afghanistan. Since the Taliban is in control now, however, they will be strictly enforcing Sharia law.
The Islamic State is more extreme and fringe because they believe any individual — especially Muslims — who haven’t yet answered the call to jihad and joined the Islamic State are not actually Muslims. She said this distinction is extremely important.
She said the Islamic State sees it as a duty to enforce its interpretation of Islam with force; Muslims who resist or reject it must be killed. The Taliban, by contrast, believes they need to teach Muslims their interpretation of Islam, and people will adjust once they’re exposed to it.
Experts say the Islamic State is actively recruiting and ISIS-K has worked to expand its network into more urban areas, like Kabul, as seen by the recent terrorist attack.
A 2018 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that Islamic State-Khorasan “disregards international borders and envisions its territory transcending nation-states.”
The same report said the group’s “global aspirations include ‘[raising] the banner of al-Uqab above Jerusalem and the White House.'”
The Islamic State isn’t the only terror group for the U.S. to be watching. There’s also concern about al-Qaeda re-emerging.
A United Nations report from June of this year referred to an even earlier report and said “the Taliban and Al-Qaida remain closely aligned and show no indication of breaking ties.” It also said al-Qaeda was present in 15 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
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