So… Al Qaeda is back in Afghanistan yet? Biden Spox John Kirby Faces Quick Fire Questions


This week, along with many veterans and Americans, I celebrated the death of Al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Ayman al-Zawahiri. I remember the moment I saw the Twin Towers hit on 9/11.

My young adult life was largely built around my military service in and around Afghanistan, so getting the former #2 of al-Qaeda off this blue marble is welcome news.

However, the strike raises uneasy questions for the Biden administration over some of the comments the president made a year ago when he tried to explain Afghanistan’s haphazard withdrawal. Luckily for us, TUSEN News’ Peter Doocy got National Security Council spokesman John Kirby to come up with these uncomfortable realizations.

The exchange between the two gentlemen also made me wonder whether Mr. Doocy was happy to have someone up to the task on the podium and whether the White House is in doubt as to who they have to fill the position of press secretary. Say what you want about Mr. Kirby; he is better at answering difficult questions than Karine Jean-Pierre.

Al-Qaeda back, or maybe they never left

Mr. Doocy wasted no time in questioning Mr. Kirby about the veracity of President Biden’s comments from a year ago:

“You say you always knew there was a small number of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. President Biden said, ‘What interest do we have in Afghanistan right now with al-Qaeda gone?’”

Typically eloquent and concise in answering difficult questions, Mr. Kirby replied with the following:

“Yes, I mean, to a significant degree, al-Qaeda did not play a major role in operations, resources or planning in Afghanistan. But Peter, I know that specifically because I was on a different stage a year ago. And we talked about the fact that al-Qaeda was present in Afghanistan, but it’s small, and not incredibly powerful or powerful.”

So essentially I can tell that, as usual, the president said one thing when the reality was another. While to be fair to Mr. Kirby, he did correct the president’s statements regarding al-Qaeda a year ago, which reads:

“We know that Al-Qaeda is present, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan, and we’ve been talking about that for quite some time.”

Unfortunately, it appears that the president was not part of those talks.

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Really great questions

According to the government, Zawahiri was murdered on a balcony in central Kabul. He had reportedly been casually staying at the house with his family. Aside from ‘al-Qaeda had left Afghanistan’, a laughable statement in itself a year ago, the next question is whether the Taliban had deliberately sheltered this man.

Mr. Doocy comes up with this issue in his interrogation:

“So we know that the Taliban harbored the most wanted terrorist in the world. You’ve given an entire country to a bunch of people on the FBI’s most wanted list. What did you think would happen?”

A fair question which Mr Kirby disputed arguing whether it was our country to give away or not. What I found most interesting in Mr. Kirby was this:

“I don’t want to re-litigate the entire war here, but it’s clear that no one expected the Ghanaian government to fall as quickly as it did.”

Shouldn’t it be alarming that no one could have foreseen what would happen? I’m pretty sure there’s a process in place to investigate and assess why we were so inept in that assessment… but I don’t recall anything being released to the public yet.

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Don’t color me surprised.

mr. Doocy asks another big question about the Taliban’s lack of livelihood:

“…up to the part of the deal they made with the US not to let Afghanistan be a place where terrorists feel they can be safe, what are you going to do about it?”

I’m still waiting for that answer. Although, if you believe the Taliban, they didn’t break a deal.

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If you believe this, I have a bridge for sale…

No surprise here; the Taliban insist that they had no idea Zawahiri was staying in Kabul. A house with ties to the deputy leader of the Taliban, by the way.

Nobody buys that, at least I hope not. Instead, the Taliban go further, claiming the US strike against Zawahiri was a “clear violation of… the Doha Agreement”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken snapped back and stated:

“The Taliban have grossly violated the Doha Agreement and have repeatedly assured the world that they would not allow terrorists to use Afghan territory to endanger the security of other countries.”

Quite right, State Secretary Blinken, so what are we going to do about it?

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Maybe we don’t have to worry about it; After all, the Taliban released a statement yesterday:

“There is no danger from the territory of Afghanistan to any country, including America.”

My mind is already at ease.

I don’t have to introduce myself

Bruce Hoffman of the Council on Foreign Relations and a counter-terrorism expert said Zawahiri “got VIP treatment” and:

“You can only imagine the treatment other Al Qaeda officials and fighters are getting.”

I don’t have to imagine it. A year ago, as we pulled blocks and retreated, more than three dozen senior al-Qaeda leaders were released from a prison that my husband guarded at one point.

Who released them? The Taliban.

Members close to al-Qaeda currently hold key positions in the Taliban government, including Sirajuddin Haqqani, who heads the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior. Al-Qaeda is alive and kicking in the Afghan region, and it’s only a matter of time before they start training camps and plan their next move, if they haven’t already.

This is how the world turns, and it looks like it will continue to turn, unfortunately. Let’s hope these “over the horizon” attacks continue to be effective in the interests of the next generation of Americans.

I would hate it if my children were fighting the same endless war as their parents.

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