Washington/London: As the United States commemorates the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the threat of terrorist attacks to the nation has escalated. Ever since the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and IS are believed to be reemerging. The head of the British intelligence service MI5 has warned of an increased threat of Al Qaeda-style terrorist attacks. Moreover, US President Joe Biden, who had claimed Al Qaeda was eliminated from Afghanistan last month, has implemented the ‘National Terrorism Emergency Declaration’ and acknowledged that the threat of attacks remains.
Saturday marked the completion of two decades since the 9/11 attacks, the biggest terrorist attack on the United States. A video of President Joe Biden’s address to the American people commemorating the occasion was screened on Friday. As he paid tribute to the victims of the 09/11 terrorist attacks, President Biden also thanked those who had contributed towards helping the nation recover from it. ‘The true sense of national unity, evoked in the United States since the 09/11 attacks, is our greatest strength and is the central lesson of Sept 11,’ said Biden.
On Saturday, President Biden visited the places targeted during the 9/11 attacks, viz., New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense. Two former US presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, accompanied him at the event in New York. As President Biden visited the memorial sites of the 9/11 attacks, there is once again a greater risk of terrorist attacks on the United States and Western nations.
As he justified US withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden had claimed that Al Qaeda was defeated. However, just two days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Biden acknowledged that the threat posed by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups prevails. Biden has issued orders to carry forward the national emergency against the continued threat of terrorist attacks to the nation. Biden said that given the continuing threat of terrorist attacks on the United States, he was declaring a national emergency and had decided to continue with the Declaration of National Emergency.
Even the intelligence chief of the UK, a US ally, has warned that the threat of a terrorist attack persists. Ken McCallum, the Director-General of MI5, has claimed that the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened extremist and terrorist groups. McCallum also warned that it had fuelled the return of Al Qaeda-style terrorist attacks against Western countries. The UK spy chief also pointed that the Taliban’s rise to power had boosted the morale of terrorist groups.
In the last few days, many US and UK analysts and officials have been warning of a growing threat of a terrorist attack. The matter assumes significance against the backdrop of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.