The Pentagon confirmed to this reporter that they are aware of the reports, but wouldn’t comment on the stories and deferred any questions to the White House. The White House didn’t immediately respond.
Currently, the Pentagon says there are 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. There’s been a presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan for 19 years.
Daniel Hoffman is a retired clandestine services officer and former chief of station with the Central Intelligence Agency. In a phone interview with this reporter on Tuesday, Hoffman questioned whether Biden has a plan to combat the existing and growing national security threats from terrorist groups in the region like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
In a recent op-ed for The Washington Times, Hoffman wrote that Biden should be careful not to let the region become a safe haven for terrorists. “Cognizant that the Obama administration’s precipitous withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 helped create the conditions for ISIS to flourish, Mr. Biden should keep firmly in mind the distinction between an ‘endless war’ and a forward-deployed U.S. presence — strictly limited in personnel and scope and buttressed by allied contributions — that defends our clear national interests and doesn’t outsource them to unreliable partners or hostile actors.”
Moreover, Hoffman said Biden’s reasoning for making the deadline September 11 seemed “political.” “That date has a very serious meaning for us,” he said, referring to the 2001 Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
Biden has previously indicated his future plans to draw down the number of troops in the region and recently said he “can’t picture” having U.S. troops there next year.
A May 1 deadline remains in place for Biden to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan under a deal brokered between the Trump administration and the Taliban. Biden, however, has been opposed to the Trump-Taliban deal while still supporting a pull-out of U.S. troops. However, he has yet to provide a definitive timeline.
Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kabul where he met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. On a later February 5 call, Austin and Ghani spoke of the need for a deal to end the war and agreed on working towards peace.
Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer
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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind
As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.
On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.
The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.
The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”
Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.
As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.
American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”
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