Biden ‘acknowledged reality’ about al-Qaeda: Afghan Taliban

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
3 min read

Afghanistan’s Taliban government on Saturday seized on an off-the-cuff remark by US President Joe Biden to underscore their claim that there was no al-Qaeda threat in the country.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Biden was leaving a press conference on Friday on the US Supreme Court's decision to block his student debt relief program when a reporter asked if he admit-ted to mistakes during the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

“No, no. All the evidence is coming back,” he replied, according to a White House transcript.

“Do you remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said al-Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn't be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press. I was right.”

The question was prompted by a report released Friday which said US officials were inhibited during mass evacuations from Afghanistan in 2021 by a lack of clear decision-making, an absence of centralized crisis management and confusing public messaging.

The so-called After Action Review was ordered by Secretary of State Antony Blinken after outrage over the chaotic scenes in Kabul as Taliban fighters seized control following the end of the 20-year US military presence.

On Saturday, the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs seized on Biden’s comment.

“We consider remarks by US President Joe Biden about non-existence of armed groups in Afghanistan as acknowledgement of reality,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It refutes the recent report by UN Sanctions Monitoring Team alleging the pres-ence & operation of over twenty armed groups in Afghanistan.”

In May, a UN report said there were indications armed groups such as al-Qaeda were rebuilding in the country.

“The link between the Taliban and both al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains strong and symbiotic,” it said.

“A range of terrorist groups have greater freedom of maneuver under the Taliban de facto authorities. They are making good use of this, and the threat of terrorism is rising in both Afghanistan and the region.”

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers insist they do not allow the country's soil to be used by armed groups plotting against other nations, and deny the presence of al-Qaeda.

They have not acknowledged the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri by a US drone strike in central Kabul last year, saying investigations into the inci-dent are continuing.

Read more:

House Republicans threaten Blinken with contempt over Afghan cable

Senior US lawmaker slams State Department for ‘blatant lies’ on Afghanistan probe

Deadly insider attacks surge against Afghan army as US, NATO troops prepare to leave

Top Content Trending