Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, has spent the past decade going to some of the more dangerous war zones on the planet. He has filed from Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan — and more recently covered the uprisings in Egypt, where he was tear gassed, and Libya, where he was almost shot in Benghazi while covering the conflict.
It wasn't the first time Engel has had a close call.
The road to Sept. 11 began here on Highway 15 in Al Baha, Saudi Arabia, which stretches from Mecca into a barren desert landscape and up into the winding, rocky passes of the Asir province bordering Yemen.
Osama bin Laden's father, a Saudi construction magnate, built this highway in the 1960s connecting the kingdom to his ancestral homeland of Yemen, and it was along this same stretch of asphalt that Osama bin Laden recruited 12 of the 15 Saudi youths who were among the 19 hijackers to carry out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks. As a nation takes time to pause and reflect – KUNC commentator Pius Kamau says we as a country should also refocus our thinking on the war on terrorism to include more homegrown threats – that have had just as deadly consequences.
In Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Massoud was known as the Lion of Panshir. And thanks to him, the Panshir Valley was one of only two places the Taliban never conquered. On Sept. 9, 2001, suicide bombers killed Massoud.