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Top military leader admits acceleration of terrorist reorganization after Taliban's swift victory in Afghanistan

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told United States senators in an intelligence briefing the reorganization of terrorist groups in Afghanistan has accelerated because of the botched U.S. military withdrawal.

What are the details?

During a conference call among Army Gen. Milley, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and lawmakers, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked whether the intelligence community would reassess its prediction about terrorist groups reorganizing in Afghanistan in light of the Taliban's swift victory.

According to Axios, Milley responded to Graham's question saying, "yes."

Milley's assessment indicates top American intelligence foresees an acceleration of terrorist groups reconstituting in Afghanistan. In June, Austin told Congress the risk was "medium."

"Two takeaways for me: We're gonna leave tens of thousands of people behind," the source who spoke with Axios said, "and the timeline in terms of threats has accelerated."

Why is this important?

The shocking admission, if proved true, would essentially nullify the U.S. mission in Afghanistan that spanned two decades.

The American military campaign in Afghanistan was focused on upending the Taliban-controlled government that harbored Al Qaeda terrorists, which had allowed them to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The campaign was initially successful. The U.S. coalition routed the Islamic extremist government in a little more than two months time. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, and was victorious by mid-December.

Nearly 20 years later, the U.S. campaign has cost America more than $2 trillion and the lives of thousands of American servicemen and U.S. military contractors. More than 100,000 Afghan civilians, military, and national police were also casualties of the war.

Should all of the lives spent on the war be for nothing? By allowing the Taliban to seize control of Afghanistan — providing terrorists with a safe haven to plan future attacks — Biden will be forced to grapple with that question.

How quick could terrorists reorganize?

While the exact timeline is unknown, videos posted to social media over the weekend showed prisoners fleeing from the Parwan Detention Facility, Afghanistan's main military prison that housed "big names" from Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

There's little doubt those prisoners were rehabilitated while incarcerated.

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