On the day that the Biden administration completed the disastrous U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that the Taliban had pledged to bar terrorist groups from using the war torn nation as a base.
Now he admits that they lied.
Following the announcement Monday that the U.S. had killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul, Blinken confessed that the Taliban “grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries.”
It was an about-face from just under a year ago, when on August 30, 2021, the day that the U.S. completed its flawed evacuation, Blinken touted the terror group’s promise.
“The Taliban has made a commitment to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations that could threaten the United States or our allies, including al-Qaida and the Taliban’s sworn enemy, ISIS-K,” Blinken said.
Blinken insisted that the Biden administration would “hold them accountable to that commitment,” adding, “But while we have expectations of the Taliban, that doesn’t mean we will rely on the Taliban. We’ll remain vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves.”
On Monday, Blinken seemed to realize the Islamist regime that returned to power after outlasting the U.S. in a two-decade war can’t be taken at its word.
“In the face of the Taliban’s unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments, we will continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and to advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls,” Blinken stated on Monday.
Zawahiri, the 71-year-old Egyptian who took the reins of al-Qaeda after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a raid on his Pakistan compound in 2011, was in a warehouse in downtown Kabul when he was killed Saturday. Zawahiri had stepped out on the balcony when he was hit by two R9X Hellfire missiles, a non-explosive drone nicknamed the “flying Ginsu” which has six spinning blades that slice through walls or roofs to destroy its target, according to a Bellingcat review of the weapon.
Senior Taliban figures knew Zawahiri was in the area, an official told CNN, in “clear violation of the Doha agreement.” They even tried to hide his presence after the strike, closing off the safe house and moving members of his family, including his daughter and her children, who were unharmed. The U.S. did not alert Taliban officials ahead of Saturday’s strike.