“It’s very likely there will be future attacks”: Taliban controls Afghanistan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/AP) — The Associated Press reports the Taliban has been taking control of Afghan provinces since the beginning of August. The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Sunday after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.

Heavily armed Taliban fighters fanned out across the capital, and several entered Kabul’s abandoned presidential palace. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman and negotiator, told The Associated Press that the militants would hold talks in the coming days aimed at forming an “open, inclusive Islamic government.”

Earlier, a Taliban official said the group would announce from the palace the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the formal name of the country under Taliban rule before the militants were ousted by U.S.-led forces in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by al-Qaida while it was being sheltered by the Taliban. But that plan appeared to be on hold.

Kabul was gripped by panic. Helicopters raced overhead throughout the day to evacuate personnel from the U.S. Embassy. Smoke rose near the compound as staff destroyed important documents, and the American flag was lowered. Several other Western missions also prepared to pull their people out.

The Associated Press reported Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blames the U.S.’s speedy withdrawal for the increased Taliban violence.

U.S. Army Veteran and Midway City Councilmember Logan Nance gave some insight on how the Taliban’s control in Afghanistan could impact the United States. He says the Taliban has lied before, so while Taliban leaders might talk of non-violence, he doesn’t believe the Taliban fighters will follow those orders.

“Obviously you hope there’s no attack like that, but I think now, you’re going to see copycat organizations like Al-Qaeda because they’re going to see Afghanistan as a place where they can go and that they can amass their forces there and they can do those kind of attacks on American soil because we’re not there anymore,” says Nance when asked if he thinks the U.S. could be in danger of another attack like those from 9/11. “So it’s very likely, yes, that there will be future attacks and it’s at least certainly the counter-terrorism threat is going to be much higher than it was.”

Nance says he is most worried about the Afghan allies that helped American soldiers during the war. He says without the help from interpreters, the U.S. would not have accomplished all that they did. He says those allies are now in eminent danger and he worries for their safety.

U.S. Congressman Andy Barr released a statement following the Taliban taking control calling President Biden’s withdrawal plan of American troops “disorganized and disastrous”.

“The U.S. residual force of 2,500 troops kept Afghanistan from falling into Taliban control,” says Barr. ““During my last visit to Afghanistan, I saw first-hand how important these forces are to preventing another 9/11 style attack. That is why giving away the strategic Bagram Air Base and gains we made is such a catastrophic foreign policy blunder.”

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell also issued a statement saying the evacuation of the U.S. from Afghanistan was botched and “a shameful failure of American leadership”. McConnell says the U.S. could have avoided this disaster but without troops on the ground, it will be harder to protect the states from resurgent Al-Qaeda groups.

“The rapid advance of the Taliban was expected after the US abandonment of Afghan security forces. The plight of innocent Afghans was predicted, and the challenges of safely evacuating US personnel and innocent Afghans have been magnified by our inexplicable withdrawal from Bagram Air Base,” says McConnell. “And the likelihood that Al Qaeda will return to plot attacks from Afghanistan is growing.”

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