Study Reveals Many Afghans Have Never Heard of 9/11 Attacks
The report draws on findings from field research conducted by Afghan interviewers in October of this year, interviewing some 1,000 Afghan men in Kandahar and Helmand provinces of southern Afghanistan. With multiple attacks every day, those are the most violent regions of Afghanistan. Another 500 men were interviewed in the northern provinces of Parwan and Panjshir, which is calm compared to the south.
Among other findings, the report showed a significant lack of understanding of the history of the international community’s presence in the country. Many interviewed by ICOS said they did not know about the events of 9/11 and were unable to describe what a democracy is.
The ICOS said the dissemination of the international community’s political narrative and public justification for its presence in Afghanistan is very limited. As a result, the Taliban and other insurgent groups are able to easily fill this gap with its own propaganda.
According to the research, more than 90 percent of those interviewed in the south were not familiar with the events of 9/11, when al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and crashed them in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in Pennsylvania.
The council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) eventually declared that the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people from scores of countries, was considered an attack on all NATO nations. It lead to a NATO-backed war in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the country.
The lack of information among Afghan civilians is believed to play a role when they decide to join the insurgency, which has left more than 650 coalition service members killed so this year. Most of them were American and died in Afghanistan’s war-torn south.