U.S Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has expressed concerns over al-Qaida extremist group and its attempt to make a comeback in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops.
PC: The Times of Israel
The extremist group previously occupied a base in the nation 20 years ago and may consider the withdrawal as an opportunity to regain power and threaten the U.S.
During the Taliban’s rule from 1996 and 2001, al-Qaida was given sanctuary by the group. However, the Taliban were overthrown by U.S forces after they failed to hand over wanted al-Qaida leaders responsible for the September 11 attacks which led to the group’s presence to diminish.
During the Trump administration, an agreement was formed in 2020 in which Taliban leaders pledged to stop any support for the al-Qaida group as it would pose a direct threat to the US.
U.S Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has confirmed that the military can detect any threat from al-Qaida using surveillance technology in the troubled nation. However, this would become difficult without the presence of the U.S military based in the country.
Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have recently conducted tours throughout the Gulf region to ensure allies that Biden’s decision to withdraw troops is to redirect focus on security challenges posed by powers such as Russia and China. Lloyd Austin is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia on Thursday which had been previously delayed.