September 11 Victims Go To Kabul
The Star Foreign Service, January 15 2002
by Kim Sengupta
London – In a unique, emotional and symbolic journey, a group of Americans who lost members of their family in the September 11 attack were expected to arrive in Kabul today to meet Afghans whose families were killed by US bombing.
The meeting is seen by the grieving Americans as a stepping stone in trying to build something good out of profoundly shattering events.
They also bring with them a deeply political and contentious message about retribution and reconciliation, which has made both the State Department and US diplomats in Afghanistan highly apprehensive.
The four American visitors will spend eight days in the Afghan capital, not just meeting families, but also attempting to learn about the devastation which has befallen this poorest of poor nations, and asking what their government is doing about it.
The visit has been organised by Global Exchange, and the human rights organisation makes no pretense that it will focus on issues which may not be palatable to the American government.
Medea Benjamin, founding director of the organisation, who is traveling with the visitors, said: “The people of the US have shown tremendous compassion for the families of the victims of September 11.
“Shouldn’t our hearts and helping hands also go out to those Afghans who are every bit as innocent as the victims of September 11?
“Don’t we, as citizens of a wealthy nation that unleashed deadly force against Afghanistan, have a moral responsibility to help the innocent victims?”
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