Sept. 5 - Ten years after the September 11th attacks, residents of Peshawar say the once thriving city is on the brink of economic collapse. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL In the days after the September 11th attacks on the U.S. some in the Pakistani city of Peshawar hailed Osama bin Laden as a world hero. In those days the city was thriving, business was good. Ten years after the 9-11 attacks the city's traders' union says Peshawar's paying a heavy price. SOUNDBITE: Amjad Iqbal Qureshi, vice president of Peshawar City Traders' Union, saying (Urdu): "The 9-11 incident affected the entire world but it's had an especially negative impact on Peshawar. Since the incident all businesses in Peshawar have flopped and Peshawar is now standing on the brink of economic collapse." Peshawar became home to refugees fleeing the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It was then a major avenue for getting foreign fighters and material support to bolster the resistance movement. Peshawar, once known as the City of Flowers, saw business blossoming. Ten years down the line factories lie empty. The regional tourist industry has evaporated after the U.S. declared its War on Terror in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. Escalating militant violence is piling on the misery. Eight-year-old Asghar Khan was among the latest casualties. He was one of seven killed by a bomb hidden in a handcart in August. His uncle blames the September 11th attacks. SOUNDBITE: Ashfaq Khan, uncle of bomb victim Asghar Khan, saying (Urdu): "Really, if the 9-11 incident had not happened Asghar would still have been with us." Ten years after the 9-11 attacks many of Peshawar's residents, like businessman Mohammed Iqbal, believe they're the victims of a war they don't understand or consider to be theirs. SOUNDBITE: Businessman Mohammad Iqbal saying (Urdu): "How can things improve here? If America gets out of here things will improve. Those who've left will come back, trade will resume, factories will start running, people will start prospering. The ordinary working classes will be very happy to see the Americans leave this region." From the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the post 9-11 landscape, Peshawar's strategic significance remains. But the city of flowers has seen its prosperity wither. The 9-11 attacks are still costing them dearly. Paul Chapman, Reuters