U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week that he would complete the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. AFP reported on the 19th that this decision has been questioned by CIA Director Burns and several US military generals. However, Secretary of State Blinken said on the18th that the Biden Administration’s position on withdrawal is unwavering. And, specifically justifying the withdrawal decision, that the terrorist threat has now moved elsewhere, and so Washington to focus its resources on challenges such as China and epidemics.
There is criticism that the U.S. decision to “unconditionally withdraw” from Afghanistan will not only lead to more serious violent conflict in Afghanistan, but also make the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. According to a CNN report of the 18th, Biden’s Afghan withdrawal plan will completely dismantle the local intelligence and covert activities network the United States established after the “9/11” incident.
Two U.S. Defense Department officials and a senior official knowledgeable about the matter said that under the current plan, hundreds of special operations personnel who are not publicly recognized by the U.S. government will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. As a result, it will be significantly more difficult to conduct intelligence work in the absence of traditional military support. Many current and former officials believe that the vast majority of CIA intelligence personnel will also almost certainly leave Afghanistan. Even if some manpower will remain after the withdrawal, CIA Director Burns said last week, “by the time U.S. forces withdraw, the U.S. government ability to gather information and respond to threats will be reduced. That’s a fact.”
Faced with questions, Blinken said on the 18th, “The terrorist threat has moved elsewhere. There are other very important things on our agenda that need to be done, including dealing with China, including dealing with a range of issues from climate change to the novel corona epidemic. That’s where we have to focus our efforts and resources”. According to Blinken, the U.S. has “achieved its stated objectives” in Afghanistan and “‘Al Qaeda has been so weakened that its ability to launch attacks against the United States from Afghanistan no longer exists”.
Notably, the Taliban website claimed through that the Taliban would resume attacks if U.S. and NATO forces did not withdraw by May 1, as previously agreed.