US President Joe Biden participates in a wreath laying ceremony to pay his respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on Sunday. AFP
Sunday's ceremony occurred a little more than a year after Biden ended the long and costly war in Afghanistan that the U.S. and allies launched in response to the terror attacks.
Biden noted that even after the United States left Afghanistan that his administration continues to pursue those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Last month, Biden announced the US had killed Ayman Al Zawahri, the Al Qaida leader who helped plot the Sept. 11 attacks, in a clandestine operation.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. AFP
"We will never forget, we will never give up,” Biden said. "Our commitment to preventing another attack on the United States is without end.”
The president was joined by family members of the fallen, first responders who had been at the Pentagon on the day of the attack, as well as Defense Department leadership for the annual moment of tribute carried out in New York City, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
"We owe you an incredible, incredible debt,” Biden said.
In ending the Afghanistan war, the Democratic president followed through on a campaign pledge to bring home US troops from the country's longest conflict. But the war concluded chaotically in August 2021, when the US-backed Afghan government collapsed, a grisly bombing killed 170 Afghans and 13 US troops at Kabul's airport, and thousands of desperate Afghans gathered in hopes of escape before the final US cargo planes departed over the Hindu Kush.
Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month in low-key fashion. He issued a statement in honor of the 13 US troops killed in the bombing at the Kabul airport and spoke by phone with US veterans assisting ongoing efforts to resettle in the United States Afghans who helped the war effort.
Flowers are visible on one of the benches at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Washington. AP
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticised Biden's handling of the end of the war and noted that the country has spiraled downward under renewed Taliban rule since the US withdrawal.
"Now, one year on from last August’s disaster, the devastating scale of the fallout from President Biden’s decision has come into sharper focus," McConnell said. "Afghanistan has become a global pariah. Its economy has shrunk by nearly a third. Half of its population is now suffering critical levels of food insecurity."
The president also remembered the words of comfort Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week, sent to the American people soon after the 2001 attacks: "Grief is the price we pay for love." Biden said those words remain as poignant as they did 21 years ago but the weight of loss also remains heavy.
"On this day, the price feels so great,” Biden said.Associated Press
United States President Joe Biden did not mince words when he said that it was not the business of his country to provide stability in Afghanistan, and it is for the people of Afghanistan to choose.
Biden was a senator when hijackers comandeered four planes and exacted the nation's worst terror attack in 2001, now he marks the 9/11 anniversary for the first time as commander in chief.
At the 9/11 memorial in New York, relatives wiped away tears, their voices breaking as they read out the names of the almost 3,000 people killed in the Al-Qaeda attacks, the deadliest in history.
“China will continue to firmly support the GCC countries in maintaining their own security... and build a collective security framework for the Gulf,” Xi said at the start of the China-GCC summit.
The Ferjan Dubai team comprises 281 primary and affiliate members who have completed over 15,000 hours of volunteer service since the initiative’s launch. Ferjan Dubai has also entered into 15 agreements with private and public sector companies in Dubai to enhance its community activities.
The lowest temperature of 10˚C was recorded in Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah at midnight and 7am on Friday, while the highest temperature of 31.6˚C was recorded on the same day in Kalba in Sharjah at 11am UAE local time.