September 11th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

In rural Afghanistan, many don’t know 9/11

Most Americans probably remember the moment they first saw images of airplanes flying into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

In rural Afghanistan, where the United States struck the Taliban and al Qaeda the following month, you may be hard pressed to find someone who knows what the attacks were.

Last year, when 1,000 men in the southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces were read a three-paragraph description of the attacks, only 8 percent said they knew about them, according to a survey by the International Council on Security and Development think tank.  The finding suggested a vast majority of men in those provinces - a major area of conflict between coalition forces and the Taliban - didn’t know about the event that precipitated the invasion of their country.

Journalist Adam Pletts went to see for himself. While on patrol with U.S. Marines in Helmand province recently, he showed pictures of the burning World Trade Center towers to Afghan men. In encounter after encounter, villagers and Afghan policemen said they didn’t know about 9/11.

“We don’t know, sir, because we’re farmers. We never heard anything else about the world,” one said, according to a translator with Pletts.