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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  September 10, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT

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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs.
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and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. announcer: and now, "bbc world news". >> hello. i am samantha simmons and this is "bbc world news america." it is the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks which killed nearly 3000 people and lost a u.s. war on terror. america is remembering those who died. we are on the ground in guantanamo bay, cuba, as the man accused of being the architect of the 9/11 attacks is in court. in afghanistan, once again the taliban are in control, just as they were 20 years ago when they harbored al qaeda, which carried out the 9/11 attacks. ♪
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samantha: welcome to our viewers on pbs and around the globe for the special edition of "world news america." on the bright blue morning of september the 1h, hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers of the world trade center in lower manhattan. a third plane struck the pentagon, and a fourth was brought down in pennsylvania. newly 3000 people were killed. the u.s. responded by invading afghanistan and launching the war on terror. tomorrow, a commemoration ceremony will be held in new york. already the city is remembering that fateful day. on wall street this morning, a moment of silence was held before the start of trading.
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the new york stock exchange is a few blocks from there and many who worked in finances had people in the towers that day. in kentucky, firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs in a sports stadium to honor the first responders who died trying to rescue people from the twin towers, which stood 110 stories tall. tonight, we will be hearing from our reporters in afghanistan, pakistan, and guantanamo bay and asking how 9/11 changed america and the world but first, our north america editor starts our coverage. a warning, his report does contain distressing footage of the attack on the twin towers. >> the one thing time has not dulled is just how profoundly shocking the sights and sounds aware that tuesday morning two decades ago. -- were that tuesday morning two
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decades ago. >> apparently, alane has just crashed into the world trade center here in new york city. >> proportions we cannotegin to imagine. >> oh my god. >> this terrorist attack changed the world. nearly 3000 people died and thousands more had their lives altered. this is the story of three of those who found themselves in the eye of the storm. >> my dad was an amazing human being. >> he was a 10-year-old schoolboy when he was called to the principal's office. his father joseph worked at the world trade center. >> i went down the hallway and my mom was standing there with tears in her eyes. she told me what had happened, and we had a moment in the hallway. i think i was just very confused at first. you know, you are an innocent
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10-year-old thinking the world is great, and then you find out that someone killed your father. >> hundreds of miles south in florida, and he was also at an elementary school. the chief of staff to president bush knew he had to interrupt him. >> that is when i walked up to the president and i leaned down and whispered to him "a second plane hit the second tower. america is under attack." >> ann was in her car when she heard the news come and she knew as people were trying to escape the twin towers, her firefighter husband bruce would be heading in. >> my kids went to bed. emily and megan were 17 and 14 at the time. and i stayed dressed. i laid down with them but i did not go to sleep because i figured somebody was coming to the house and i did not want to be in my pajamas. it is weird, the things you worried about.
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that night at midnight, someone came to the house to say bruce was unaccounted for. >> this memorial with great restraint does justice to the terrible events of that day. but nothing can capture the sense of chaos, anger, disbelief of what was unfolding. then there was steely resolve. and americans were united. most of the rest of the world stood with america. the taliban in power in afghanistan would harbor the al qaeda terrorists and would be driven from power. the u.s. would try to replace the worn -- the warlords with democracy, but 20 years on, america has abandoned of guinness 10. >> i think we are still the greatest democracy in the history of the will but we are not shining the way we used to shine. yes, we are tarnished. i do think it has been a defeat for the pride america and the
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respect that we have had around the world. >> 20 years ago, america was never more united. two decades on and the terrorist threat largely quelled and america has never been more divided. >> the way we came together was awe-inspiring. and in 20 years, the pendulum has swung, in my opinion, the other way. >> every day, i miss my dad. every single day. whether it is 9/11, whether it is january 13, whether it is july 7. i miss my dad and that will never change. >> and so to 2021, theost powerful country in the world seems to be suffering a crisis of confidence. in the manner of its departure from afghanistan, the kabul debacle, a crisis of confidence. just off the tip of manhattan, lady liberty symbolizes america
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opening its arms to the world. but 20 years on, the u.s. feels a much more introspective place jon sopel, bbc news, new york. samantha: i am joined now by laura trevelyan, who picks up our coverage from new york city. laura: samantha, thank you so much, and welcome to new york city. we are overlooking the 9/11 memorial, which is in the footprint of the world trade center. this is the site of the 9/11 attacks. new york city prepares to remember that fateful day. 20 years after 9/11, the families of those killed are still waiting for justice. the man accused of masterminding those attacks is in court once againt guantanamo bay military prison in cuba. it is the 42nd court appearance for he and his associates, and the trial is some way off. for more, i would north america correspondent joins us from --
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our north america correspondent joins us from new york. why has it taken us years to try those accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks? >> there are so many factors that have led to all of these delays. one major factor is the defense team's for these five men -- teams for these five men who were accused variously of either being the mastermind of this attack or providing logistical financial support, the defense teams are arguing this trial should not be happening in a military commission here at guantanamo bay at all. they are still arguing it should happen on the u.s. mainland. the other big thing of course is torture. the defense teams argue that a lot of the evidence that the prosecution the u.s. government wants to bring to trial is stuff that cannot be admissible
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what happened to these men, not just here in guantanamo bay but so-called black sites in various parts of the world, including afghanistan. those debates, those arguments are still going on in these pretrial hearings. we have been watching those men in the courtroom the past week but it is the 42nd pretrial hearing and no trial date has yet been set. laura: meanwhile, former inmates of guantanamo bay are now actually in the new taliban government in afghanistan. tell us about this extraordinary quirk of history. >> yes. four men, including the acting intelligence director in kabul, the deputy minister of defense, the minister of tribal affairs, probably the most well-known internationally was
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just named as the new acting minister of information, were all detainees here in guantanamo bay, as was one of the new governors of one of the provinces. so it sounds like an incredibly embarrassing event. not only the u.s. handing over afghanistan to the taliban after 20 years of work, but even to some of the very men they held here as people who posed a threat to american security. but they have already come face-to-face with these men because all five of them, some of whom were founding members of the taliban, were part of the peace talks that happened in qatar last year with the trump administration. laura: you have reported from afghanistan, pakistan, here in the u.s. what do you see as being the legacy of 9/11 and the american response? >> it is a really difficult thing to encapsulate in one answer because really in all of
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our reporting in those places, and you can add iran to that list, it had everything to do with 9/11. there are some people in the u.s. who would say there hasn't been an attack on the u.s. mainland anywhere near as big as 9/11 in the last 20 years, and in some ways, whatever the ways of achieving that has been a success. the argument that people make when it comes to the torture of some of the people in guantanamo bay. if it led to intelligence that some attacks could be thwarted, that is a good thing. but you look at a world littered with so much loss as a consequence of either the attacks themselves or the u.s. response, and you have to think it is a much more dangerous world. laura: in guantanamo bay for us tonight, thank you. the 9/11 attacks by al qaeda led the u.s. to invade afghanistan because the taliban were harboring the terror group. after the chaotic u.s. exit from
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afghanistan and the taliban back in power trying to present a new face to the world, many afghans are worried about what the new order will bring. >> back in the classroom. this is among the first schools in kabul to reopen for girls after 2001. they along with female teachers had been banned by the group. two decades on, this group has expanded. pupils have gone on to become doctors, engineers. aysha has worked here for the past 40 years. >> [speaking foreign language]
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>> this time around, the taliban are allowing girls to get an education. but also every school because his are paused, awaiting new rules from the group. people here face other challenges, too. pleas for new buildings to the previous government went unanswered forget the education of young girls and boys has been one of the main achievements of the past 20 years. you have to ask why a government that received billions of dollars in international aid could not even build enough classrooms for pupils in a school in the very center of kabul. many would blame corruption. this is a generation determined to make its voice heard.
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covering recent protests, what had been one of the areas in the region is now under threat. these two journalists were badly beaten by the taliban after reporting on the demonstration. >> [speaking foreign language] >> american influence here fading. this is bush bazaar named after the u.s. president. the military gear on sale used to come from international basis. now it is largely chinese made
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imitation. the disappointment of taliban fighters, now the main customers. 20 years of war have left a legacy that is increasingly unclear. bbc news, kabul. laur joining us now from kabul is the bbc's chief international correspondent. does it feel to you as though history has come full circle with the taliban now in charge once again in afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of 9/11? >> what is one to say, laura? this is such an astonishing, jaw-dropping moment in history. for it, as you say, to come full circle. i think people, afghans are ill coming to terms with the enormity of it. even the taliban did not expect to return to power at such surprising speed. those who have experienced
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really this gut clench of this history have come of age since the attacks of september 11 two really exploit -- to really exploit it, took advantage of the new freedoms offered in the space of the new international engagement in afghanistan only to find in these last weeks everything that they were educated for, trained for, dreamed about, held dear to be suddenly stripped away from them. everything about their identity that they had shaved in the last 20 years. of course, painful too for the americans who fought here, worked here, who also invested their hopes and dreams here. now america's longest war being described as america's biggest failure. laura: u.s. officials are desperately hoping to salvage something. they are hoping the taliban will respect women's rights as they promised.
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do you see any signs of that? >> even the way your question was framed, which is as it is, the americans are hoping, they are saying to the taliban the world is watching. they continue to call for the rights of women and girls. but america has gone and the west is not the biggest kid on the block here. it is the taliban who are in charge. ey have their own very different ideas about one of the values -- about what are the values of the taliban. the rules emerging about the segregation at universities, that women have to wear the kind of clothing, black clothing, black gloves. afghans are begin to understand that what is emerging in this new islamic government is not really, at least for the many afghans who do not support the taliban, this is not a country they regard as their own. there are those who support the
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taliban and welcome the fact that the war is over. but it is going to be a very different afghanistan. laura: live in kabul, thank you. as the u.s. launched the global war on terror in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, pakistan looms very large in that story. pakistani intelligence services were accused of helping create the taliban and it was pakistan where osama bin laden, the al qaeda leader, was killed by u.s. special forces in 2011. john simpson joins us now. what do you think has been the impact of the u.s. war on terror which was launched to prevent another 9/11? >> well, it is hard to say that it isn't a complete failure. after all, the purpose of it was to combat the effects of what
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osama bin laden did in launching the 9/11 attacks of america. and those attacks were intended to prove to the world that america was vulnerable and that it was not as strong as everybody had assumed. that is in fact what happened. the way in which the first response of president george w. bush -- he did not invade afghanistan like many people in the world seem to think. what he did was to assist with airpower the afghan northern alliance troops to come in and capture kabul from the taliban and drive them out. that was welcome to write around the world. then his officials decided, as we know, that they had to demonstrate that america was just as strong as ever.
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they picked on saddam hussein of iraq. iraq w invaded in 2003. that was deeply unpopular worldwide. and soon, it became clear that the american forces were not really as strong or as effective as everybody had thought. now, of course, the withdrawal from afghanistan has really driven all of those points home. laura: you were actually in afghanistan 20 years ago. what are your reflections on that fateful day? >> well, it was a deep, deep shock. i had to go directly -- i was thrown out in fact and how to go directly to pakistan, where there was, as i think in most parts of the world, absolutely devastation. nobody knew what was going to
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happen and how serious it really was. i think actually it took some time for the seriousness of it to really come home to people. here in pakistan and in the rest of the world. laura: john simpson in pakistan tonight. thank you. as john was saying, while u.s. foreign policy changed dramatically in the wake of 9/11, for people here in new york city, the events of that day felt incredibly close. we have a story about that morning and how they were affected. the emergency workers and the families of those killed, their lives were reshaped by the horrific events as nada tawfik now reports. nada: the rebirth and transformation of lower manhattan has become an emblem of the city's resilience. though much has changed here, for new yorkers who lived through 9/11, the stars never faded. >> my mom pointed out and said,
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i need you to look at this because it is history. nada: hand i remember's the chaos of being pulled from school just locks -- hannah remembers the chaos of being pulled from school just blocks from the towers. >> ikind of restarted my life. we always talk about it before and after 9/11. after that day, i realized how important community is and service is. nada: kids now learned about 9/11 as a moment of history. they see the shocking videos but do not have lived experience. still all around them are hunting reminders that the tragedy is not over. when the twin towers collapsed, lower manhattan was blanketed in a toxic cloud. and for months, first responders and those who worked, studied, and lived here breathe in that air, air contaminated by glass shards, asbestos, and building materials. that lead to long-term health problems. so 20 years on, the death toll
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from this tragedy continues to rise. rob's first day as a firefighter was on 9/11. 20 years later, he is still attending the funerals a fellow first responders. three just last week. he is angry that it took the u.s. government so long to guarantee funding for the ill and only after a long public campaign with the help of comedian jon stewart. >> they need to get wall street open. they needed to make the country feel safe. i did it, but there is a price for that and we are paying it. the united states government let us down. people like jon stewart to shame them, because that is the only way that this legislation got past, was with shame. nada: as new yorkers collectively grieve on this anniversary, the command to never forget takes on new meaning. for those born after september 11, how will they be shaped by the stories and lessons of that day? nada tawfik, bbc news, new york.
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laura: before we go, tomorrow will be an emotional day here in new york city and across this country. here at the sight of where the world trade center once stood, six momes of silence will be observed, marking the times at which each of the twin towers was struck by the hijacked planes, the moments when they collapsed, the time when a plane slammed into the pentagon, and the crash of flight 93 in jacksonville, pennsylvania. the names will be read out at a ceremony attended by family members, survivors, and first members. president joe biden and the first lady will be here also. tonight, a tribute. a new york tradition as twin beams reach high in the sky, honoring those killed on 911, marking the resilience of new york city 20 years on from the 9/11 attacks that changed america and its relationship with the world.
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thank you for joining us for the special edition of "bbc world news america." i'm laura trevelyan. narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narror: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ ♪ narrator: you're watching pbs. ♪ da-da-da-duh-da-da-da♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da-da ♪♪
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> yang: good evening. i'm john yang. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: mandating the vaccine. how the president's inoculatn requirement for millions of americans might be enforced in the workplace. then, 20 years later. how the 9/11 attacks shaped american foreign policy over the last two decades, for better or worse. >> only after we understood better what the nature of the terrorist threat was, did we become more careful and more precise. and i think those early mistakes really cost us. >> yang: and it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart discuss the anniversary of 9/11, the politics vaccinations, and the california recall election. l that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour


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