Saturday, August 21, 2021

Pentagon Breaks with Biden, Says Al-Qaeda Still in Afghanistan - FARS

Pentagon Breaks with Biden, Says Al-Qaeda Still in Afghanistan

(FNA)- The Pentagon broke Friday with US President Joe Biden's assessment that Al-Qaeda is "gone" from Afghanistan after 20 years of US-led operations.

"What we believe is that there isn't a presence to merit a threat to our homeland as there was 20 years ago," Spokesman John Kirby told reporters, referring to the Al-Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001, Anadolu news agency reported.

"We know that Al-Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS in Afghanistan. We do not believe it is exorbitantly high, but we don't have an exact figure for you. It's not like they carry identification cards and register somewhere. We don't have a perfect picture," he added.

"And our intelligence gathering ability in Afghanistan isn't what it used to be because we aren't there in the same numbers we used to be," he added.

Biden, just hours earlier, told reporters at the White House that Al-Qaeda is "gone" from Afghanistan, questioning US national security interest for those who maintain Washington should remain in the war-torn country.

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