Reflections on 9/11 – ISAF Commander General John Allen (with subtitles)

Reflections on 9/11 – ISAF Commander General John Allen (with subtitles)


Well I was the deputy commander, deputy commandant
at the United States Naval Academy so we were thirty miles from Washington when the attack
occurred in New York and the Pentagon ultimately and the field at Shanksville Pennsylvania.
At first we thought it was a terrible navigational error and then very quickly we realised the
United States was under attack. It was something that was new obviously to me, I’d been in
the service well over thirty years at that point and at that point we realised that our
future was going to be dramatically different than all that we’d experienced during the
previous years of the cold war. It was going to be an era of long-term conflict, it was
going to be an era of probably where we were going to have a long term commitment to both
counter-terrorism but also seeking at a genuine and national level, to try to overcome the
root causes that would create such a vehemence, such a malignant terrorist capability around
the world. So things were going to be different, we knew they were going to be different, we
knew this was going to be a long struggle and it has manifested itself in a number of
places around the world and in Afghanistan it had a uniqueness to it where the US and
coalition forces ultimately and swiftly responded to that attack, ultimately threw off the Taliban
darkness if you will that had descended upon this country and permitted it to become a
safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda, other terrorist organisations and since that time,
the great efforts, truly great efforts and sacrifice of the international community to
make a difference here, to give this government stability and security so that the people
of Afghanistan will never again be under the heel of the Taliban boot but also to give
them a future, a legitimate future, and to remove the possibility that Afghanistan will
ever again be a terrorist safe haven, specially a place where Al Qaeda can plot attacks upon
the west or upon the poor Afghan civilians. So it’s been a long war, it’s been ten
years and many of us have served in a number of places overseas in the course of the prosecution
of that war. But if you spend a little time here in Afghanistan today, you see hope in
the faces of the people, you see great change over the last several years, you see progress
as it will ultimately unfold under the transition concept of the Lisbon Conference, you see
great partnership for the future between both the United States and NATO and international
community to accomplish something that is enduring, something that is admirable, something
that is good for the people of Afghanistan so out of the great darkness frankly of the
11th of September 2001, while we’ve got work to do here still, I’m encouraged about
the future.

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