NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES - Eleven years ago, on this day, the United States and the world had experienced a horrific act of terrorism against our way of life. The coordinated suicide attacks by Al Qaeda on the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. resulted in a total of 2,977 innocent deaths. Thousands of Americans and other nationals lost their loved ones during 9/11, a memory that cannot be erased from our minds.
In response to the 9/11 attacks, Azerbaijan was among the first nations to support the United States in the struggle against the global terror threat. This response had reflected Azerbaijanis' commitment to fight terrorism anywhere in the world. Subsequently, Azerbaijan was among the first nations to send troops in support of the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Besides that, an Azerbaijani-American U.S. Marine, Lance Corporal Mourad Ragimov of San Diego, California, lost his life during the U.S. operations in Iraq.
The Azerbaijani response to the 9/11 attacks was not incidental. In the course of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, many Azerbaijanis had become victims of terrorist acts, such as the 1984 bus explosion in capital Baku, killing a mother of two and injuring several others; the February 1992 massacre in the town of Khojaly, killing 613 civilians, including 106 women and 63 children; the March 1994 subway bomb attack in Baku, killing 14 and injuring 42; and others. Hundreds of Azerbaijani civilians were killed by the militants of the Armenian Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), an organization also responsible for murdering a number of Turkish diplomats and civil servants in Europe, the Middle East and North America during the 1970s and 1980s. ASALA, which is revered as heroic in Armenia, was designated and condemned as a terrorist group by the United States and the European nations.
Members of Azerbaijani-American Council and Azerbaijan Society of America join all Azerbaijani-Americans and friends in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and reaffirm our denunciation of terrorism in all forms.