INSIDE 9/11: Hour One begins to trace the road to 9/11. It attempts to distil the mosaic of people, places, ideology and events that lead up to the day through the use of specific, pivotal vignettes. This hour’s arc begins with Soviet Afghanistan, 1979 and leaves off in al Qaeda’s Afghanistan, 1996. Pakistani bombmaker Ramzi Yousef was not a member of the al Qaeda, the group which executed the September 11th attack; he was the mastermind behind the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. His aim was to hit at the country whose policies in the Middle East angered him. Other radical Muslims shared his aim, but their beginning stretches back to 1979, when Afghan rebels, mujahedin, waged jihad, or holy war, to fend off invading Soviet troops. The jihad to save oppressed Muslims became a lightning rod for radical Muslims around the world, and outsiders who joined the jihad would appropriate the term for aims that exceeded the Afghans’ intent. Among those drawn to the region in the name of jihad was a wealthy young Saudi, Osama bin Laden. By the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, bin Laden had positioned himself as the Robin Hood of jihad. He helped develop the wider jihad network, had co-founded a group named al Qaeda, or “the base,” that would make use of this network and had usurped power from his mentor to control the network.
Episode Length: 00:50:00
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