No, Mr. President, we have not stopped terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base yet again

2

President Joe Biden’s botched pullout from Afghanistan sparked utter madness last week, but it also set up America for a potential nightmare down the road. And he touts his foreign-policy smarts?

“We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and make sure al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again. We did that,” Biden asserted Tuesday.

Wrong. Yes, US forces got 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden (in Pakistan) and degraded al Qaeda. But like cancer cells that escape radiation, even a weakened al Qaeda can regrow and metastasize.

And now that the Taliban — which harbored al Qaeda in 2001, as it plotted the 9/11 attack — have reclaimed Afghanistan, the country poses much the same threat to America as it did 20 years ago. Team Biden may argue that the Taliban have changed, that our counterterror efforts are better and we are more prepared. Yet US intelligence forces are far from perfect, and as we learned on 9/11, they only need slip once for catastrophe to strike.

Even this week, it’s clear somebody — whether in the intel community or the Oval Office — failed to predict how quickly the Taliban would return to power. Biden himself admitted miscalculation.

Nor is the prez’s claim that the United States is well-equipped to detect and stamp out any resurging terror threats in Afghanistan from outside the country reassuring.

Yes, as he says, “our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building.” But the idea was that a unified nation with a well-equipped, well-trained, trustworthy army could keep the terrorists at bay, perhaps with only minimal US assistance. At that point, America would no longer need a major presence there.

Of course, that effort failed. The Afghan army proved it couldn’t be relied on — meaning Biden’s withdrawal of troops leaves open the possibility of resurging terror threats.

Consider: On Tuesday, the Department of Defense’s lead inspector general for the Afghan mission reported: “As the DoD restructured its counterterrorism mission to locations outside of Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan exploited the political instability. . . . Additionally, the Taliban continued to maintain its relationship with al-Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan.” Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said he’d now raise his assessment of how soon terror groups can reform.

With bin Laden dead and al Qaeda degraded, the 20-year war was not completely in vain. But alas, it’s far from “mission accomplished.”

View original post