Los Angeles Times

Commentary: I am still haunted by a place lost to time, to diaspora and to war

A few days after 9/11, I stood on the blacktop of my elementary school in West Sacramento assuring my best friend that Afghanistan had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center. I was 9 years old. I knew nothing about Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

What I did know was that I'd visited Logar province in Afghanistan and the people there were very sweet and very loving and incapable of such destruction.

"It wasn't us," I told my friend. But, apparently, it was.

Several weeks later, on Oct. 7, 2001, the United States carried out airstrikes on Afghan soil. Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name for America's war on terrorism in Afghanistan, would go on to slaughter approximately 38,480 Afghan civilians, according to a Brown University study. The U.S. forces quickly toppled the Taliban, took over Kabul and began their occupation.

A few months after

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