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Politics Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish'

18:50  15 april  2021
18:50  15 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Antony Blinken makes surprise stop in Afghanistan to sell Biden troop withdrawal

  Antony Blinken makes surprise stop in Afghanistan to sell Biden troop withdrawal Blinken seeks to assure senior Afghan politicians the U.S. remains committed to the country despite a plan to withdraw troops by Sept. 11.Blinken sought to assure senior Afghan politicians that the United States remains committed to the country despite Biden's announcement a day earlier that the 2,500 U.S. soldiers remaining in the country would be coming home by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that led to the U.S. invasion in 2001.

Jake Sullivan, President Biden's national security adviser, acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. government's "ability to collect intelligence on a day-to-day basis" within Afghanistan "will diminish" with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.

Jake Sullivan wearing a suit and tie: Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish' © Getty Images Biden aide: Ability to collect daily intel in Afghanistan 'will diminish'

Sullivan in an interview on CNN's "New Day" confirmed analysis by CIA Director William Burns, who told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that it was "simply a fact" that the "ability to collect and act on threats will diminish" with Biden's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by fall.

Biden on Afghanistan withdrawal: 'It's time to end America’s longest war'

  Biden on Afghanistan withdrawal: 'It's time to end America’s longest war' The president announced the withdrawal in the same room where former President George W. Bush announced the war in Afghanistan's start. "We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago," Biden said. "That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.

However, Sullivan argued Thursday that "our ability to protect the American homeland, in my view, will not diminish," even if access to daily intelligence on "the comings and goings of actors within Afghanistan will diminish."

"That's a big difference," Sullivan told co-host John Berman. "From our perspective, we can set up the kind of scenario in which we can protect this country without remaining at war in Afghanistan for a third decade."

Biden on Wednesday outlined his plan to completely withdraw troops from Afghanistan and officially end America's longest war by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that, we accomplished that objective," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "I've concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home."

The decision has prompted divided responses from lawmakers, with some Republicans and Democrats arguing that the situation in the Middle East could worsen if U.S. troops are removed too quickly.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a frequent critic of efforts to pull U.S. troops from combat zones, said Wednesday that he was "heartbroken" that Biden chose a "high risk strategy."

As US troops prepare to pull out, a look at the war in Afghanistan by the numbers

  As US troops prepare to pull out, a look at the war in Afghanistan by the numbers Here is a look at the current situation for the approximately 2,500 U.S. service members in Afghanistan and what has transpired over the last 20 years. MORE: Biden to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 US Troops in Afghanistan Officially the Pentagon says there are about 2,500 American troops serving in Afghanistan as part of an advise-and-assist mission to help Afghan security forces. However, U.S. officials have acknowledged the number is slightly higher as U.S. counterterrorism forces are not counted in the official training mission number.

"I know people are frustrated by the length of the war, the money we spent, the lives we lost, and all I would say is never forget the enemy," Graham said. "It takes two to end the war, folks. They're not close to quitting."

The September withdrawal goal pushes back a May 1 deadline established in last year's agreement between the Taliban and the Trump administration.

U.S. military officials have argued that the Taliban has not met the terms of their commitments, including denying safe haven for al Qaeda and other terrorists intent on attacking the West, though Biden said Wednesday that the U.S. "will hold the Taliban accountable towards commitment not to allow any terrorist to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday, where he reportedly met with Afghan leaders in Kabul to strengthen the U.S. commitment to a peaceful and successful troop withdrawal.

How Biden's decision to stay longer in Afghanistan could help Trump .
The choice is likely between leaving Afghanistan peacefully in May or again putting American forces under fire — making a withdrawal much harder.This might seem like a short-term extension that simply allows Biden to negotiate better terms that do more to stabilize the U.S.-allied Afghanistan government from the Taliban after an American exit. But staying beyond the May deadline risks escalation on the part of the Taliban that, in turn, could potentially draw the United States into more years of conflict. There is, therefore, no guarantee that the 20th anniversary of the attack on the twin towers will actually be the end of America’s longest war.

usr: 1
This is interesting!