As the ten-year mark approaches, many citizens of Afghanistan still don't know about the Al Qaeda–led attacks of September 11, 2011, or otherwise cling to conspiracy theories "that have long lost currency even in the Middle East," The Wall Street Journal reports today. "Never heard of it," said one 16-year-old, whose family was uprooted because of the war. The boy's 22-year-old teacher in a refugee camp said, "I think the Americans did it themselves, so they could invade Afghanistan." In a country where 42 percent of the population is under the age of 14, the youth is especially ignorant:
According to a survey of 15- to 30-year-old men in the two southern provinces where President Barack Obama sent the bulk of American surge troops, 92% of respondents said they didn't know about "this event which the foreigners call 9/11" after being read a three-paragraph description of the attacks.
Students at Kabul University seem to have a better understanding of history, but they are in the minority — 72 percent of adults remain illiterate.