The Taliban on Tuesday marked the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by taunting the U.S. with the prospect of “utter defeat” in Afghanistan, while Indonesian Islamic extremists celebrated the event, the worst terror strike on U.S. soil.
The Taliban said the United States “is facing utter defeat in Afghanistan militarily, politically, economically and in all other facets.”
The militia said the war had “no legal or ethical” basis and that Afghans had “no hand” in what happened on September 11, 2001, and that despite the billions spent on the conflict “no American is safe in any society today.”
The United States led international military action to bring down the Taliban regime in October 2001 because it refused to give up al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden, who ultimately escaped into Pakistan, where he was shot dead by U.S. forces in May 2011.
A growing majority of Americans oppose the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and support NATO's plan to withdraw most combat forces by the end of 2014.
More than 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in the war and 77,000 are stationed in Afghanistan.
The anniversary was muted in Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO troops organized only small ceremonies to commemorate the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.
By contrast, in Indonesia’s Jakarta, demonstrators carried posters and banners, one declaring: “We are all Osama.”
About 100 Islamic extremists on Tuesday praised the 9/11 hijackers at a rally outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.
Muslim-majority Indonesia has suffered its own share of terrorist attacks over the past decade.
The largest, by regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, were the October 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly Western tourists.
Muhammad Fachry, spokesman of the Sharia for Indonesia group told AFP: “What they [hijackers] did was a reminder to the American government to stop oppression against Muslims and support for the Israeli government.”
He referred to the hijackers as “the magnificent 19,” and praised their “bravery.”