Biden asserts US forces ‘remain postured’ to address threats from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — President Biden has stated that U.S. troops remain “postured outside Afghanistan” to address emerging threats to U.S. interests from within the country.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate, Biden detailed the War Powers Report, vowing to take additional measures if necessary to protect U.S. people and interests from terrorist threats.

“It is impossible to know at this time the precise scope or duration of the deployments of the U.S. Armed Forces that may be necessary to counter terrorist threats to the United States,” Biden wrote. “United States military personnel remain postured outside Afghanistan to address threats to the United States homeland and United States interests that may arise from inside Afghanistan.”

Biden’s remarks follow analyses from some U.S. military officials who have expressed concerns that the U.S. may be unable to respond effectively to terrorist threats from Afghanistan after the withdrawal of troops in August 2021.

The Taliban has consistently denied the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan. However, Rustam Emomali, the head of Tajikistan’s parliament and son of President Emomali Rahmon, recently stated that Afghanistan has once again become a hub of “extremism and terrorism.”

Biden faces ongoing criticism within the U.S. for his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. United Nations reports indicate that al-Qaeda has established new training camps under Taliban rule, while ISIS is becoming an increasing threat to the region.

Bismillah Taban, head of criminal investigation at the Ministry of Interior under the previous government, stated that eliminating terrorist groups in Afghanistan requires international efforts.

“In fact, it cannot eliminate this situation. It can only control and manage it. Eliminating these terrorist groups that have gathered in Afghanistan requires a joint international effort,” Taban said. “Alongside military activities and operations, developmental programs and the strengthening of good governance in Afghanistan are needed.”

President Biden has noted that since October 7, 2001, U.S. Armed Forces, including Special Operations Forces, have conducted counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and associated forces. “Since August 2014, these operations have included targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which was formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” he added.

Which group is considered a serious threat to the United States from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan? This year, U.S. intelligence agencies’ threat assessments indicated that ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) has expanded its attacks on foreign interests and its activity in Afghanistan is concerning. Similarly, a recent study by the United States Institute of Peace highlighted ISIS-K as a growing threat extending beyond the region.

“The ideological connections of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, along with the country’s complex geography, have made it a safe haven for numerous terrorist groups, including ISIS,” said Mohammad Radmanish, a military analyst.

This comes as citizens from various provinces have reported the movement of drones in Afghanistan’s skies, apparently indicating ongoing “Over the Horizon” operations by the U.S.