Oh please, not this again:
The preparations most important to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks took place not in training camps in Afghanistan but, rather, in apartments in Germany, hotel rooms in Spain and flight schools in the United States.
This meme of Afghanistan actually, really, truly not being so relevant to 9/11 has been doing the rounds ever since John Mueller mentioned the magic word “Hamburg” in Foreign Affairs five months ago (and got his head bashed in by commenters, yet chose not to respond).
It’s utter rubbish and I will deal with it in a later post, but for now, here’s Peter Bergen:
[...] The idea that Afghanistan is not an ideal place from which to launch anti-American attacks is simply absurd. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the first attack by Islamist terrorists against the United States, was led by Ramzi Yousef who trained in the Sadda training camp on the Afghan-Pakistan border. The bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 that killed more than 200 were coordinated and carried out by men who had trained in Afghanistan, as was the attack on the USS Cole two years later.
And while [...] elements of the 9/11 plot were coordinated in Hamburg — where three of the pilots had lived in the run-up to the attacks — the idea of attacking iconic targets in Washington and New York was first hatched in Afghanistan in 1996; the coordination of the attacks took place in Afghanistan over the next several years; the pilots were given their specific orders about target selection and their duties by the leaders of al Qaeda when they travelled to Afghanistan in 1999, and all 15 of the ‘muscle’ hijackers passed through al Qaeda’s Afghan training camps.