The perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks failed to undermine freedom and democracy and failed to make the world live in fear, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a message marking the 20th anniversary of the attack.
He said the terrorists “tried to destroy the faith of free peoples everywhere in the open societies which terrorists despise and which we cherish.”
Today we remember the 2,977 people taken from us on September 11th 2001.
But while the terrorists imposed their burden of grief and suffering, we can now say with the perspective of 20 years that they failed to shake our belief in freedom and democracy. pic.twitter.com/BBuz9i08WZ
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 11, 2021
But Johnson said the terrorists “failed to shake our belief in freedom and democracy; they failed to drive our nations apart, or cause us to abandon our values, or to live in permanent fear.”
“The fact that we are coming together today—in sorrow but also in faith and resolve—demonstrates the failure of terrorism and the strength of the bonds between us.”
Johnson said the recent events in Afghanistan “only strengthen” the West’s determination to “hold fast to our belief in liberty and democracy, which will always prevail over every foe.”
Among the 2,977 victims of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 67 were British citizens.
Johnson said each of these British victims was “a symbol of the eternal friendship between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer said, as he marks the anniversary, he is “convinced our resolve has never been stronger, we will continue to fight terror and violence, by promoting our values of justice and peace.”
Tony Blair, the prime minister at the time of the attacks, told the BBC on Friday that the international community must be prepared to take action against the Taliban if they again allow Afghanistan to become a base of terrorism.
Blair, who has been highly critical of the decision to withdraw international forces, said the Taliban needed to know they would be “held to account” if they allowed terrorists to regain a foothold now that they are back in control again.
Also talking to the BBC, Ken McCallum, director-general of the MI5 intelligence agency, said the UK is vigilant to the increased terror threats as the Taliban takeover has “heartened and emboldened” Islamic extremists.
General Lord Richards, the former head of the UK armed forces, told LBC radio the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan raised the prospect of “another 9/11” as ungoverned spaces opened up which the terrorists were able to exploit.
PA contributed to this report.