October 7, 2001, USA initiated their first attack in the global war on terror. This was also the first day of the war in Afghanistan, a conflict sparked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Although the chaos and drone strikes in Afghanistan continues today, these initial attacks occured twenty years ago this week and will be marked by a special event on Wednesday 8, at DIAS with Joe Dittmar, a survivor of 9/11.
The history of September 11, 2001 lives on today, 20 years after the fall of World Trade Center, the twin towers, in New York City. The recent US withdrawal from Afghanistan also acts as a reminder of the two decade long war on terror, the political mistakes which were made, and the thousands of lives that were lost.
At the University of Southern Denmark, the attacks have been analyzed at the Center for War Studies where researchers from different fields of science have gathered. One of these researchers is the British Assistant Professor, and DIAS Fellow, James Rogers who has his main interest in drones and the history of terrorism.
It is surprising to think, but some of James Rogers’s students were not born on the day of the terror attack in 2001, but the events from that day still affects their lives in his opinion. That is also why we must understand where and why it happened and remember the events. Especially now 20 years after while troops are being withdrawn, people are fleeing the chaos, and Taliban reoccupies Afghanistan.
Denmark is a close ally and sent a comparatively high number of troops into Afghanistan in very risky situations. Therefore, Denmark also has a high number of losses per citizen – maybe the highest compared to other Western nations. So, the events around 9/11 affects us all whether we know it or not. On that day in 2001, I had just got home from school and remember seeing the second plane hit the second tower, and a fear spread across the town, the region, the country, and the Western world. Nobody knew who was next.”
– DIAS Fellow and Assistant Professor James Rogers
On September 8 at 16:00 James Rogers will host a 9/11 memorial in the DIAS building at University of Southern Denmark. Here history will be placed into context when survivor Joe Dittmar will join the audience via livestream.
Joe Dittmar attended a normal business meeting on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane crashed into the first tower. He managed to get to the 70th floor of the second building when the second plane hit the 78th floor – just eight floors above his head. This day he will join in to share how he escaped as one of only seven from his meeting, and how the day affected his life.
Furthermore, two of the world’s leading researchers on the War in Afghanistan and Counter Terrorism will participate; Professor and DIAS Senior Fellow Sten Rynning, and Professor and DIAS Visiting Fellow Caroline Kennedy-Pipe. Here they will share how the events during 9/11 led to the war in Afghanistan, and how they continues to impact us today.