Week Ahead: Milestone anniversary of 9/11 attacks after Afghanistan withdrawal chaos

The terror attacks that led to the war in Afghanistan took place on September 11, 2001, as the fallout of troop withdrawals continues. John Blow looks at the week ahead.

The National September 11 Memorial in New York. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan.

Twenty years on

It will be 20 years this coming week since the September 11 attacks on America in 2001, a catastrophic event that killed nearly 3,000 people and led to the war in Afghanistan – which by grim coincidence has ended chaotically just days before the anniversary.

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Sixty-seven British people were among the 2,973 killed when passenger jets hijacked by al Qaida terrorists struck the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.

A fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The overall death toll was 2,977 people.

Suspicion fell upon Islamist terrorist group al Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden, who was in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban.

Two months later, the US released a tape in which bin Laden took responsibility for the attacks.

The US and its allies prepared to invade when the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden and on October 7, 2001, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the involvement of British forces in military action against al Qaida training camps in Afghanistan, and the first UK troops were deployed in the following November.

Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 during a raid by US forces.

In January this year, President Joe Biden’s new administration reviewed his predecessor Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban and announced the final withdrawal date.

Soldiers have now left following the Taliban’s rapid resurgence to power following Biden’s move.

During the war, 457 UK armed forces personnel died, 405 of those being because of hostile action, according to Government figures, which also state the operations have cost around £27.7 billion.

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 – a pivotal day in modern world history – will be marked next Saturday.

Homecoming hurrah

Yorkshire sports stars will be among those celebrated during a Paralympics GB homecoming event in London next Sunday.

Due to the pandemic, Paralympians will be unable to enjoy the usual opportunity to celebrate at the closing ceremony of the Games, so the events will also provide a first chance for them to be reunited with fans, friends and family.

Hundreds of tickets will be gifted to key workers for their incredible work for the country through the pandemic. National Lottery players had the opportunity to enter a ballot to win a pair of tickets every time they took part in a game before August 26.

Madness, Clean Bandit, Sigma, Birdy, Jamie Cullum, James Arthur, Jay Prince, Evelyn Glennie, Ella Henderson and Sheku Kanneh-Mason are among the artists who will perform at The National Lottery event to welcome back athletes from Tokyo.

This region’s own Paralympic stars include Hannah Cockroft, the 29-year-old wheelchair racer from Halifax who won gold on August 29 in the Women’s 100m T34 final race.

Kadeena Cox, the 30-year-old parasport sprinter and cyclist from Leeds, won two gold medals in the Women’s 500m time trial C4-5 on August 27 and in the Mixed 750m team sprint C1-5 on August 28.

Others from Yorkshire include Laurence Whiteley, Ellen Buttrick, Sue Bailey MBE, Megan Shackleton, Jamie Stead and Gavin Walker.

High as a kite

The sky above the Yorkshire Coast will be alive with colour as this year’s Bridlington Kite Festival gets under way.

The event at Sewerby Fields takes place next Saturday and Sunday instead of its original dates in May.

This follows the announcement of the Government road map out of lockdown.