Pentagon leader: al-Qaida might search comeback in Afghanistan


KUWAIT CITY (AP) U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated Thursday the al-Qaida extremist crew that used Afghanistan as a staging base to assault United States twenty years in the past might try to regenerate there following an American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in energy.

Austin spoke to a small crew of newshounds in Kuwait City on the conclusion of a four-day excursion of Persian Gulf states. He stated the United States is ready to stop an al-Qaida comeback in Afghanistan that might threaten the United States.

The entire neighborhood is more or less gazing to peer what occurs and whether or not or now not al-Qaida has the power to regenerate in Afghanistan, he stated. The nature of al-Qaida and (the Islamic State crew) is they’ll all the time try to in finding house to develop and regenerate, whether or not its there, whether or not its in Somalia, or whether or not its in every other ungoverned house. I feel thats the character of the group.

The Taliban had supplied al-Qaida with sanctuary whilst it dominated Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The U.S. invaded and overthrew the Taliban after it refused to show over al-Qaida leaders following the Sept. 11, 2001 assault at the United States. During the process the 20-year U.S. warfare, al-Qaida was once hugely decreased, however questions have arisen about its long term potentialities with the Taliban again in Kabul.

We put the Taliban on realize that we predict them not to permit that to occur, Austin stated, relating to the opportunity of al-Qaida the use of Afghanistan as a staging base someday.

In a February 2020 settlement with the Trump management, Taliban leaders pledged to not give a boost to al-Qaida or different extremist teams that might threaten the United States. But U.S. officers imagine the Taliban care for ties to al-Qaida, and lots of international locations, together with Gulf Arab states, are involved that the Talibans go back to energy may open the door to a resurgence of al-Qaida affect.

Austin has asserted that the U.S. army is in a position to containing al-Qaida or every other extremist risk to the United States emanating from Afghanistan via the use of surveillance and strike airplane based totally in different places, together with within the Persian Gulf. He additionally has stated that it’ll be harder with out U.S. troops and intelligence groups based totally in Afghanistan.

Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave the impression in combination in Qatar on Tuesday in a display of U.S. gratitude for that Gulf states lend a hand with the transit of tens of hundreds of Afghans and others evacuated from Kabul. Blinken additionally visited an evacuee transit web site in Germany, and Austin visited Bahrain and Kuwait.

Together, the Austin and Blinken journeys have been intended to reassure Gulf allies that President Joe Bidens resolution to finish the U.S. warfare in Afghanistan as a way to center of attention extra on different safety demanding situations like China and Russia does now not foretell an abandonment of U.S. companions within the Middle East. The U.S. army has had a presence within the Gulf for many years, together with the Navys fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. Biden has now not recommended finishing that presence, however he just like the Trump management sooner than him has known as China the No. 1 safety precedence, in conjunction with strategic demanding situations from Russia.

Austin, a retired Army basic, has a deep community of contacts within the Gulf area based totally partly on his years commanding U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq and later as head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. army operations within the Middle East. This weeks go back and forth, on the other hand, was once his first to the Gulf since taking place of work in January.

Austin were scheduled to talk over with Saudi Arabia on Thursday as the overall prevent on his Gulf excursion. But on Wednesday night time his spokesman, John Kirby, introduced that the talk over with were dropped because of scheduling problems. Kirby introduced no additional rationalization however stated Austin seemed ahead to rescheduling.

Austin indicated that his talk over with was once postponed on the Saudis request. The Saudis have some scheduling problems; I cant discuss to precisely what they have been, he stated.

The Saudi prevent particularly was once to occur two days sooner than the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist assaults at the United States that killed just about 3,000 other people. Fifteen of the boys who hijacked industrial airliners and crashed them into the dual towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania box on Sept. 11, 2001 have been Saudis, as was once Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida community plotted the assault from its base in Afghanistan. The assault brought on the U.S. invasion that become a 20-year warfare in Afghanistan.

U.S. family members with the Saudi govt were strained from time to time within the intervening years. In 2018, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman oversaw an unparalleled crackdown in opposition to activists, competitors and perceived critics. The yr culminated within the ugly killing of Washington Post contributing columnist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi via Saudi brokers within the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden directed the declassification of sure paperwork associated with the 9/11 assaults, a gesture to sufferers households who’ve lengthy sought the data in hopes of implicating the Saudi govt. Public paperwork launched within the ultimate twenty years, together with via the 9/11 Commission, have detailed a lot of Saudi entanglements however have now not proved govt complicity.

The Saudi govt denies any culpability. On Wednesday the Saudi Embassy in Washington launched a observation welcoming the transfer to declassify and liberate extra paperwork associated with 9/11, announcing, no proof has ever emerged to suggest that the Saudi govt or its officers had earlier wisdom of the terrorist assault or have been whatsoever fascinated by its making plans or execution.

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