Are we going to end up back where we were on Sept. 10, 2001?
According to the Washington Times:
Al Qaeda in Afghanistan could regenerate and plot terrorist attacks against the American homeland within two years, possibly sooner if the insurgent Taliban overwhelm a fragile U.S.-backed government and take control of the country, top Pentagon officials warned Thursday.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined the worst-case scenario as President Biden’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan was nearing its end.
All American forces are expected to be out of the country within several months, except for a small contingent of Marines tasked with guarding the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The embassy could become a key symbolic target for Taliban fighters and jihadis.
With mounting evidence that the Taliban have maintained close ties with al Qaeda, a collapse of the Afghan government and subsequent Taliban takeover could produce a country that is ground zero for global Islamic terrorism — just as it was in the years leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
National security scholars and foreign policy analysts say it appears unlikely that al Qaeda will ever have free rein in Afghanistan the same way it did 20 years ago. Still, U.S. military leaders say the threat must be taken seriously.