Déjà Vu All Over Again – Waiting For The Next 9/11
On August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda attacked two U.S. embassies in East Africa. Two hundred and twenty-four people died in the blasts, including 12 Americans, and more than 4,500 people were wounded.
On October 12, 2000, Al Qaeda almost sank the USS Cole. Suicide terrorists exploded a small boat alongside the ship as it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline of the Cole, killing 17 American sailors and injuring many more.
All over the Middle East CIA reporting showed Osama Bin Laden had declared war on the United States, and the worst was yet to come. Operations to head off what was coming were proposed. Plans were formulated to kill or capture Bin Laden and decapitate Al Qaeda. None were approved. Nothing of consequence was done.
We knew what was coming. We let it come.
And now we are doing it all over again.
When Biden ordered the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan the Pentagon dutifully touted its ability to somehow magically control the terrorist threat in Afghanistan from “over the horizon.” It did not matter that we no longer had any presence in Afghanistan. We could still watch everything from afar and use drones, satellites, and other space-age tech to stop attacks on the homeland before they materialized.
That was a lie.
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie testified Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He admitted there have been no such over-the-horizon strikes since we left Afghanistan. He added that such strikes would be extremely difficult to pull off. In his words, “the margins are thin” on being able to “find, fix and finish” targets under those conditions.
That antiseptic military jargon is designed to mask the obvious truth. We do not have the intelligence necessary to pinpoint targets inside Afghanistan with the precision necessary to prevent terrorist attacks from being launched on us from that platform. You cannot grant a terrorist group an entire nation-state to use as a safe haven and then realistically pretend that you can counter the threats that emerge before they materialize.
If you give the enemy this kind of leeway, you are going to get hit.
Gen. Michael Michael Erik Kurilla, the nominee to head the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), was very direct about what is coming in his recent testimony to the Senate.
“One of the challenges is the threat to the homeland from Al Qaeda and IS-K (Khorasan). They are reconstituting. The Taliban has not renounced Al Qaeda. IS-K, with the release of the prisoners both from the Bagram prison and Pul-e-Charkhi, are in a process of reconstituting,” he said.
Al Qaeda is rebuilding as are other groups. The Biden administration has attempted to portray Al Qaeda as somehow having vanished. That is untrue. The group remains intact, powerful, and very much in bed with the guys who now control the entire nation of Afghanistan.
A recent UN report was very clear on this point.
“The security landscape in Afghanistan changed dramatically on 15 August, when the Taliban took control of the country. There are no recent signs that the Taliban has taken steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in the country. On the contrary, terrorist groups enjoy greater freedom there than at any time in recent history.”
“On 31 August, Al-Qaida released a statement congratulating the Taliban on its victory. Since that statement, Al-Qaida has maintained a strategic silence, likely an effort not to compromise Taliban efforts to gain international recognition and legitimacy. Al-Qaida is also continuing to recover from a series of leadership losses and is assessed to lack the capability to conduct high-profile attacks overseas, which remains its long-term goal.”
The Taliban have not changed, nor have they distanced themselves in any sense from terrorist groups dedicated to violent jihad. In February Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri released a new video indicating that he views Afghanistan as the staging ground for his ongoing global fight against the West. He swore personal loyalty to the new leader of the Taliban Haibatullah Akhundzada. The February edition of Al-Qaeda’s magazine “Ummah Wahidah” contained an editorial praising the Taliban regime as a functional alternative to democratic governments.
The magazine also featured an article on Ahmad Shah Massoud, the former leader of the Northern Alliance, depicting him as an instrument of the West as well as a traitor to the Afghan resistance movement. This was clearly an effort to delegitimize the National Resistance Front, the last remaining non-terrorist opposition to the Taliban.
Pakistan is already dealing with the consequences of the creation of this new terrorist safe haven in Afghanistan. Attacks are up, and the worst is yet to come. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has been granted sanctuary in Afghanistan. They are arming, training, raising funds, and launching attacks against Pakistani targets from inside Afghanistan.
Recent press reports in Pakistan showed hand-written leaflets distributed by the TTP in Afghanistan seeking donations for waging 'Jihad' in Pakistan. These 'donations' were being sought in Afghanistan's Khost and Kunar provinces where the TTP maintains base camps and training facilities.
Confirming the fundraising, a TTP source told journalist Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud in Pakistan, "We're doing what our brothers (Afghan Taliban) used to do (collect donations) in Pakistan".
In response to the uptick in terrorist groups across Pakistan, the Pakistani government has now issued a formal statement charging Afghan authorities with allowing terror groups on its soil to operate.
The hope was, with a new friendly government in Afghanistan, Pakistan would get more help than in the past," said Michael Kugelman of the Washington DC-based Wilson Center recently in an interview with FRANCE 24. Instead, "there are signs of intensified security risks
We have seen this movie before. We know how it ends. We ignore the growing threat. The White House feeds us lies designed to convince us we are safe and there is nothing to fear.
Then a great many people die horribly, and we frantically scramble to retaliate for what should have been prevented. It is all too clear. It is as Yogi Berra would have said, “Déjà vu all over again.”