Terror threat is RAISED: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley tells senators that the US homeland is now at greater risk from terror groups in Afghanistan in major blow to American efforts after 20 years of fighting in the country
- Mark Milley told senators he will update an assessment on the timeline of a terrorist group reemergence in Afghanistan up from a two-year ‘medium threat’
- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin briefed a bipartisan group of senators on Sunday
- They said President Biden and top military officials underestimated how quickly the Taliban would retake Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal
- ‘Two takeaways for me – We’re gonna leave tens of thousands of people behind… and the timeline in terms of threats has accelerated,’ a source on the call said
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told a bipartisan group of senators during a Sunday call that a past assessment of how soon the terrorist groups will reemerge in Afghanistan will drastically speed up due to the events over the last week.
On the call with Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked if they will revise the assessment given to Congress in June that classified a ‘medium’ risk of terrorist group reconstituting within two years of withdrawal.
‘Yes,’ Milley responded about changing the threat assessment report, according to Axios.
He also said he would be more than willing to brief senators in a classified setting on the unfolding Afghanistan situation.
The bipartisan group of senators on the call pressed Milley and Austin on efforts to get U.S. personnel out of Afghanistan as images already emerged of a helicopter evacuation from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul – reminiscent of the fall of Saigon.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told senators on Sunday that they would update an assessment on the timeline of a terrorist group reemergence in Afghanistan from a ‘medium threat’ in two years time due to the recent events
Also on the call with the bipartisan group of senators briefing on Afghanistan on Sunday were Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (right)
A source on the call said, according to Axios, that there is no way the U.S. can evacuate the more than 20,000 Afghans who want to escape the country by August 31.
‘Two takeaways for me – We’re gonna leave tens of thousands of people behind… and the timeline in terms of threats has accelerated,’ the source said.
The original reason the U.S. engaged in Afghanistan in 2001 was to prevent terrorist threats to the homeland from the Middle Eastern nation.
After 20 years, and billions of dollars spent, President Joe Biden’s total troop withdrawal left the region in disarray as the Taliban was able to overtake a majority of Afghanistan in just over a week.
The Islamic militant forces breached the capital city of Kabul on Sunday as the U.S. flag was removed from the embassy there and American citizens were told to shelter in place as gunfire broke out at the airport. Afghani President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered Kabul.
By Sunday, the Taliban garnered almost complete control by over taking 28 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Despite the swiftly escalating situation in Afghanistan, Biden’s administration ensures it was the right move to withdraw troops, while simultaneously blaming former President Donald Trump for setting the May 1, 2021 deadline during his time in office.
The Taliban was able to seize control of Afghanistan much quicker than Biden and his military officials predicted. Here a Taliban militant holds rocket-propelled grenade on August 13 in Afghanistan’s third biggest city, Herat
Just minutes before the Kabul airport started taking gunfire and Americans were warned of the Taliban threat in the city, the Pentagon’s Press Secretary John Kirby denied any ‘imminent threat’.
‘Kabul is not, right now, in an imminent threat environment,’ he said.
The Taliban initially said they were waiting outside the Kabul city limits for the ‘peaceful transfer of power,’ but soon after entered the capital city.
‘Our leadership had instructed our forces to remain at the gates of Kabul, not to enter the city,’ Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told BBC in an interview on Sunday.
‘We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power,’ he said, adding the group expects that to happen in a matter of days.