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After Taliban Takeover, Concerns Mount Over U.S. Counterterrorism Ability

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Reuters

After Taliban Takeover, Concerns Mount Over U.S. Counterterrorism Ability

By Idrees Ali and Humeyra Pamuk, Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) - With no U.S. troops or reliable partners left, jails emptied of militants and the Taliban in control, doubts are mounting within President Joe Biden's administration over Washington's ability to stem a resurgence of al Qaeda and other extremists in Afghanistan, six current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

Afghan security forces whom the United States helped train crumbled as Taliban militants made their way through Afghanistan in less than two weeks, leaving the United States with few partners on the ground.

"We're not in a good place," said a U.S. defense official, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue.

Weeks before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al Qaeda, the lack of visibility regarding potential extremist threats is a chilling prospect for officials.

U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban in 2001 for sheltering al Qaeda militants, leading to America's longest war.

The U.S. troop departure ordered for Aug. 31 by Biden and the subsequent collapse of Afghan security forces have stripped the CIA and other spy agencies of protection, forcing them to close bases and withdraw personnel as well.

Full story https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/after-taliban-takeover-concerns-mount-over-us-counterterrorism-ability-2021-08-25/

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