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Airdate: Beyond the Towers

4 part doco on the US-led response to the 9 / 11 attacks is presented by Tony Jones.

Tony Jones is heading back to his former Q+A timeslot of 9:30pm Mondays in a new documentary series, Beyond the Towers.

The 4 part doco tracking the US-led response to the 9 / 11 attacks is produced by WildBear Entertainment is hosted by Jones, and includes ABC archival footage plus interviews with historians, journalists and defense personnel.

September will mark 20 years since the 9 / 11 tragedy.

Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks the United States led an invasion of Afghanistan. Quick victories – within months routing the Taliban government and Al Qaeda – led to flawed decision-making in Washington. Rejecting advice from military leaders – the administration of President George W. Bush was overly confident that it could control the country with air power and a minimum of “boots on the ground”.

Afghanistan, dominated by powerful warlords with private militias, riven by ethnic and religious tensions and corrupted by the opium industry was a mystery to the invaders . The invaders failed to build a stable national government or, over many years, train reliable security forces.

Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden survived the US invasion by retreating across the border to Pakistan. While officially the Pakistan government was a committed partner in the US declared global “war on terror” in fact sections of the army and the powerful intelligence service, the ISI, were committed to defeating the US. They recruited and re-armed foot soldiers for the Taliban. As the United States became “bogged down” in Iraq after the 2003 invasion the Taliban progressively re-grouped in Afghanistan, gaining territory and becoming a constant threat to the Afghan government.

Afghanistan was to become America’s longest war. In 2020 President Donald Trump agreed to a humiliating deal with the Taliban – negotiations from which the Afghan government were excluded – allowing for the US to withdraw its last remaining troops. Afghanistan in 2021 is once again a haven for Al Qaeda, Islamic State and a host of other Islamic terrorist groups. Overall American power and prestige have been diminished by the Afghan war.

Production credits: Produced by WildBear Entertainment in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

9:30pm Monday August 16 on ABC.

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