Eighteen years ago on Sept. 11, places central to American life, including the World Trade Center in New York, were visited by suicidal terrorism from passenger planes at the cost of many lives.
The coordinated terrorist attacks on the pillars of American society can be viewed as the beginning of a global battle with terrorism, the hotbeds of which must be uprooted. That is the greatest lesson of 9/11.
America attacked Afghanistan, the home base of Osama bin Laden, ringleader of the international terror group al-Qaida.
Terrorists now randomly infiltrate war-torn lands, obtain weapons and spread throughout the world launching indiscriminate attacks.
Afghanistan is currently in the exact same condition as it was at the end of the civil war among the guerrilla factions which resisted the Soviet Union, when the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist force, controlled most of its territory.
America expelled the Taliban from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, and won the Afghan War. But the American military has been forced to remain for an extended period because the Taliban has not ceased resistance through strategies such as suicide bombings. The Islamic State, a Sunni extremist organization, has also infiltrated the country.
Afghanistan cannot become a hotbed of terror once more. To ensure this won’t happen, the American military and international forces must not withdraw or reduce their presence.
America considers its presence in Afghanistan to constitute the longest war in American history. Everyone yearns for a conclusion. Given this context, and when looking at the American presence in Afghanistan through the lens of presidential elections, it is possible to see a need for expedited negotiations.
America and the Taliban conducted direct peace negotiations, and it was said that an agreement to greatly curtail the American troop deployment there, among other things, was close, but Donald Trump personally canceled the talks.
The Taliban continued to perpetrate terrorism even in the midst of negotiations at the expense of American lives. The president made a natural decision. The Taliban promised during the talks that Afghanistan would not become a base for international terrorism, but they cannot be trusted.
With the Olympics coming to Tokyo next year, the importance, even to Japan, of collecting information about terrorism, and guarding and monitoring facilities has grown. At the same time, efforts to wipe out hotbeds of terrorism are indispensable. Japan should actively participate in international efforts to confront terrorism.
Dangerous situations like Afghanistan abound – in Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State group once controlled large amounts of territory, or in Yemen and Libya, where civil wars continue. These kinds of countries cannot be ignored.