By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
After seeing the Taliban’s sweep through Afghanistan to retake governing control, Colleen Kelly wonders if accountability for the death of her brother in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York 20 years ago and the subsequent war in Afghanistan will ever be achieved.
“This is really a hard week. It just feels like nothing has really changed,” Kelly told Catholic News Service Aug. 17, her voice cracking.
She has found herself repeatedly returning to thoughts of her brother, Bill, and the pain inflicted on him and nearly 3,000 others who died in the collapse of the towers, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania. There’s also the emotional pain of surviving family and friends who experienced loss.
Just the same, Kelly has been reflecting on the anguish and loss experienced by Afghan families, particularly during the presence of the U.S.-led coalition forces between 2001 and their recent withdrawal. She wonders how they’ll fare under the resurgent Taliban.
In between these two endpoints (9/11 and the Taliban’s return), there’s been so much unnecessary suffering and loss. It really puts me back into those feelings of 20 years ago, of a loss that was very, very personal,” said Kelly, a member of Fordham University Church in New York.
For nearly two decades, Kelly has worked to address her concerns about the use of violence — whether it is initiated or in response to a violent act. She considers any form of violence of a violation of human rights.
She has carried out her efforts through September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization she co-founded in the weeks after her brother’s death as coalition forces mounted a military response in Afghanistan to the airliner attacks…