The US rightly retaliated, as must every nation with a sense of self-esteem. That was called the war on terror. The Taliban was defeated. Afghanistan became the epicentre of the so-called war on terror. The Taliban commanders were on the run, as did too the al-Qaeda terror monsters.
George Bush Jr, the then US President, would be virtually called the real commander of a hitherto unknown offensive against the al-Qaeda-Taliban terror brand. And then only recently, much to the delight of the Americans, especially, the real monster, Osama bin Laden, was eliminated in a very smart but clandestine US military operation in Pakistan. In fact, the core of the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks, and the broader challenge of Islamist extremism they revealed, has been necessary and justified.
The period of 9/11 a decade back is a watershed in world history. It was not only a traumatic experience for the United States, but a realization in the entire free world that in case the USA could be hit nobody was safe. The attack planned and executed by hard core elements of Al Qaeda had 4 planes being hijacked and two were used to hit the trade towers in New York and another hit the Pentagon while a fourth with the bravery of the passengers crashed in a field without achieving its objective.
The prelude to the attack had seen the Americans ambivalent on the war on Terror. India was repeatedly claiming of terrorism from its neighbour Pakistan on the specious claim that they had a right to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as it was a majority Muslim state.
This was a smoke screen and the real intent was to bleed India with a 100 cuts of terror attacks, a policy sanctioned by General Zia ul Haq. At that time the USA new about it, but did precious little to rein in the terror groups in Pakistan. They in fact supported general Zia as they felt he was fighting their war against the Russians.
Reagan and company greatly erred in assessing the true nature of the Islamic terror movements in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which at that time had been taken over by primitive form of Islam that put the nation back to the medieval stage. Yet the facts speak for themselves as the USA lulled by the thought ‘Pakistan is our Friend’ did nothing for a decade.
We in India feel that had the USA listened to India prior to 9/11 the history of the world would have been different. India can only hope that it has dawned on the USA that what the Indians were saying all along is true. The USA is now fighting terror, but the old fondness for Pakistan remains.
The Mumbai attacks (26/11) may rank as the most successful 'terrorist spectacular' since 9/11 and certainly marked Lashkar's emergence onto the global jihadi scene. Although Pakistan took some small steps to limit the group's activities, it never came close to dismantling the infrastructure that made Mumbai possible.
This reinforced the belief that Lashkar continues to enjoy the protection of the Pakistani military, especially its powerful spy agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate or ISI. The question of whether elements in the Pakistani security establishment directed, supported, or were aware of the attacks remains unanswered.
Delhi has levelled accusations, and Lashkar historically has been Pakistan's most reliable proxy and, at the least, continues to enjoy the passive support of the state.There is no gainsaying that America has come thus far after the 9/11 attacks due solely to its people’s resilience and its government’s determination against terrorism. The US deserves a huge round of applause for its incredible ability to prevent terror strikes after 9/11.
However, its version of the war on terror must also needs a redefinition. The US cannot overlook the fact that in its war on terror it is Pakistan that happens to be such an important ally while it is Pakistan itself that happens to be the world capital of jihadi terrorism! Will the US, after 10 years of the 9/11 attacks, continue to maintain such atrocious double standards? Is Obama listening? Or has his CIA got an extraordinary pact with the ISI?