September 11, 2001 and Afghanistan

Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four commercial airliners, crashing them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Close to three thousand people die in the attacks. Although Afghanistan is the base for al-Qaeda, none of the nineteen hijackers are Afghan nationals. Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian, led the group, and fifteen of the hijackers originated from Saudi Arabia. U.S. President George W. Bush vows to “win the war against terrorism,” and later zeros in on al-Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bush eventually calls on the Taliban regime to “deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land,” or share in their fate.

President Bush signed into law a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against those responsible for attacking the United States on September 11. This joint resolution will later be cited by the Bush administration as legal rationale for its decision to take sweeping measures to combat terrorism, including invading Afghanistan, eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a court order, and setting up the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

East Tennessee and the War in Afghanistan

Twenty-two East Tennesseans died or were killed in Afghanistan. Even though the war spanned almost twenty years, ending in August 2021, some counties like Bledsoe, Blount, and Campbell had no casualties whereas Knox had the most with eight.  Here are several stories from different counties comprising East Tennessee:

Franklin N. Watson

Trey F. Porfirio


Jason Dane Hovater