US: ‘We Can Still Reach Out And Touch’ Terrorists in Afghanistan

The US Department of Defense said that it can still “reach out and touch” any “terrorist” groups without having an actual troop presence in Afghanistan.

“I think in the last ten days, in the strike that was carried out on Ayman al- Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and the most wanted terrorist on planet earth and one of the two co-planners for the 9/11 attacks, what we have demonstrated to al-Qaeda but also to other organizations is that we can still reach out and touch them and protect our vital national interests even though we no longer have thousands of troops in Afghanistan,” Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, said at a press conference at the Pentagon.

Former US commander in Afghanistan, David Petraeus, in an article for The Atlantic said that the outcome of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is “heartbreaking” and “tragic” for many Afghans and devastating for the country and said that maintaining a troop presence would have been “markedly better.”

“To be sure, managing the situation would have required a sustained, generational commitment, one that would have continued to be frustrating and inevitably less than ideal; nonetheless, it would have been markedly better than leaving the country and its people to the Taliban and its insurgent partners, as should be obvious now,” Petraeus wrote.

Meanwhile, the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sher Mohammad Abas Stanekzai, criticized the Western countries for putting pressure on the current Afghan government.

He also accused the US of violating the Doha agreement by carrying out a drone strike in Kabul.

“Afghanistan is currently facing economic pressure imposed by the West and US. There are thousands of challenges in the political, cultural and educational field as well,” he said.

Analysts said that the Afghans themselves should work to build their country.

“The US relied on the looters of the former government and brought them to the government body but then gave up on its own mission of countering the terrorism as well and left Afghanistan in a worse situation,” said Mirwais Ashifta, an international relations analyst.

“Unless the people themselves take steps to make Afghanistan, the US and other countries will not do so because they are seeking their own interests,” said Faiz Mohammad Zaland, university instructor.