Experts Tell House Committee Afghanistan Once Again a Terrorist 'Safe Haven,' Fear Attack on Homeland

AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon

Security experts told a House panel Tuesday that the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 has allowed the country to once again become a terrorist safe haven with groups like ISIS-K and Al Qaeda capable of launching attacks on American soil.

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The experts were testifying in front of the Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Homeland Security Cost of the Biden Administration’s Catastrophic Withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Under the Taliban’s rule, terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS-K have rebuilt their forces, acquiring the operational capacity to launch strikes across Europe and the United States in as little as six months from now, the former officials told Congress during a Tuesday hearing on repercussions of the Biden administration’s 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan. As the war-torn country breeds new terrorists at an accelerated rate, there is a growing fear in the U.S. defense community that a major attack in the United States is on the horizon.

Nathan Sales, a former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department said that “the threat environment in Afghanistan is bad and getting worse,” and that our intelligence operations are struggling to gather information on plots since the U.S. withdrawal:

With no presence on the ground, it’s much harder to monitor terrorist groups as they train and plot…

When terrorists have safe haven, as they now do in Afghanistan, they’re able to plot attacks far beyond their borders, including their ultimate goal of hitting the U.S. homeland.

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See: Taliban Making Hay With the Staggering Amount of Military Gear Left in Afghanistan

Sales described the potential for terrorists to sneak across our southern border, saying “The risk is grave.” He detailed several Iranian attempts to send agents over to carry out political assassinations:

Meanwhile, aid that the U.S. sends to Afghanistan may be going straight into the arms of the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), admitted Wednesday that he’s not exactly sure where the money is going:

Unfortunately, as I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban. [Emphasis mine.]

Nor can I assure you that the Taliban are not diverting the money we are sending from the intended recipients, which are the poor Afghan people.

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“I would just say, I haven’t seen a starving Taliban fighter on TV, they all seem to be fat, dumb, and happy,” Sopko added. “I see a lot of starving Afghan children on TV, so I’m wondering where all this funding is going.”

Adding to the misery, President Joe Biden has failed to honor his assurance that no allies would be left behind. The numbers tell the story:

The most up-to-date figures show there are still about 175,000 Afghans waiting for the U.S. government to process their Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) or refugee applications. As of late September 2022, the U.S. has only issued visas to approximately 20% of SIV applicants, according to SIGAR. The report estimates it could take more than three decades to relocate and resettle all SIV applicants.

SIGAR identified a host of problems with the SIV program including, “chronic understaffing, reliance on antiquated IT systems, and inadequate interagency coordination.”

The Afghanistan withdrawal remains one of the worst stains on a disastrous presidency. Although the Biden Administration is calling the hearings “politically motivated,” the testimony of experts leaves no doubt that the damage to our security is real. With millions of illegals streaming across our border, there’s a very serious threat that terrorists are among them.

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