Intelligence officials warning that “extremists” are returning to Afghanistan following the Taliban victory in Kabul Sunday and that terror networks could reform inside the country “within six months.”
“Foreign intelligence officials said they are detecting signs that the Taliban’s victory has energized global jihadists, a threat that may only grow as the Taliban releases al-Qaeda operatives who were imprisoned by the Afghan government,” The Washington Post reported Tuesday, adding that “officials had seen an uptick in jihadist communications about developments in Afghanistan.”
While there was always a potential that the terror cells would reemerge after the U.S. left Afghanistan, Biden’s embarrassing failure of a withdrawal, which handed the Taliban a swift victory, emboldened jihadists to a new extreme.
“The U.S. appears in all of this now as a weak nation,” an expert told the Post. Another added that the Taliban’s decisive victory ‘is encouraging many jihadists to think about traveling to Afghanistan now instead of Syria or Iraq.”
Previously, the Post notes, U.S. officials believed it “would take up to two years for al-Qaeda to reconstitute in Afghanistan,” but now that “period could be as little as six months.”
“The counterterrorism posture went from problematic with the U.S. withdrawal to extraordinarily bad with the Taliban in full control,” a “veteran intelligence officer” said. “Suddenly one wonders if we will go entirely dark. It’s like a bad dream.”
What the officer is referring to when he says “entirely dark” is a complete intelligence blackout that would render it impossible for the United States to obtain any information about potential terrorist threats being formed within Afghanistan.
As terrorists reportedly move into the newly friendly Afghanistan, the U.S. military, the Post noted, is focused on trying to evacuate the thousands of Americans who remain trapped in the country — and process the tens of thousands of U.S. allies who applied to leave alongside American troops.
According to the Post, the Biden administration was made well aware of the potential for a disaster like this to occur, and did nothing to prevent it.
“In April, CIA Director William J. Burns told lawmakers it would be harder to track al-Qaeda and other extremist groups without the bases and medical and air support the 20-year military effort in Afghanistan had provided but said the agency would ‘retain a suite of capabilities,’” the Post said.
“Now, most if not all of the capabilities the United States had envisioned within Afghanistan are no longer possible. While officials have not yet said what kind of engagement they might seek, if any, with the new Taliban government, the sprawling U.S. Embassy in Kabul is likely to remain shuttered in the near term.”
The United Nations also noted recently that there was still a terrorist presence in Afghanistan in areas controlled by the Taliban in violation of the 2020 peace agreement the Trump administration inked with Taliban leaders.
The Biden administration Department of Defense spokesperson admitted, Tuesday morning, that evacuation measures are not yet in hand, even though the United States is now, again, allowing military flights to leave Kabul’s airport.
There may be as many as 10,000 American citizens trapped on the ground in and near Kabul, and as many as 40,000 Afghan allies. On Monday, the U.S. evacuated just 700 people.
Author: Jacob Lauren