The world has already witnessed and decried the chaos President Joe Biden's administration created in Afghanistan with its botched pullout of the U.S. presence in the South Asian nation where American and international forces kept the Taliban and other terrorists at bay for two decades following the attacks of 9/11.
Tens of thousands of people scrambled to escape the disaster.
Americans were left stranded.
Afghan allies were betrayed.
International military partners were stunned.
Private groups that chartered flights to help rescue people abandoned by the U.S. were hampered by the State Department.
Now, as many analysts on both the right and the left had warned, bad actors are poised to take advantage of the Afghan government that is now controlled by the Taliban, which is installing its own terrorists in positions of power.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was forced to admit Thursday that al Qaeda might just make a comeback in the vacuum the Biden administration created, the Associated Press reported.
That's right, the same terror group that used Afghanistan as a staging area to attack the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, while under the protection of the Taliban, the organization America just left in charge in Afghanistan, may well make a return to power in the same place under the same ruling group.
Austin made the admission during a small press gaggle in Kuwait City, ABC News said, while also claiming the government is prepared to prevent any return to power by al Qaeda that could threaten the U.S.
"I think the whole community is kind of watching to see what happens and whether or not al Qaeda has the ability to regenerate in Afghanistan," the secretary told reporters.
People need to understand, he indicated, that this is just the nature of the beast.
"The nature of al Qaeda and ISIS-K is that, you know, they will always attempt to find space to grow and regenerate, whether it's there, whether it's in Somalia, whether it's in any other ungoverned space," Austin said. "I think that's the nature of the organization."
And it's not just the United States that is worried about an al Qaeda return.
Though the Taliban pledged to the Trump administration in 2020 not to support al Qaeda or other extremist groups, officials from the U.S. and many other nations, including several Gulf Arab states, ABC News reported, believe the organization maintains ties to al Qaeda and worry that the Taliban's return to power will invite an al Qaeda resurgence.
But never fear. Our government has "put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that to happen," Austin added.
Though the Biden administration has downplayed talks about putting forces back on the ground in the region, the secretary did say that "we do have the ability to address threats ... using over-the-horizon capability" and that "our capability has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years."
Despite his claims that the military can contain al Qaeda with "surveillance and strike aircraft based elsewhere," ABC News said, Austin acknowledged that it will be more difficult without U.S. troops and intelligence teams based in Afghanistan.
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