Ron Johnson served in Afghanistan. He spent 20 years in the U.S. military, retiring as a Special Forces colonel, followed by over 20 years as an operations officer at CIA. Following that he was appointed U.S. ambassador to El Salvador by President Trump. Thus, the guy has been around the block once or twice. He puts that expertise to use to warn us of the potential domestic impact of the Biden Bugout.
Biden & his admin have sought to dodge accountability for their Afghanistan failures.
They have refused to reveal the scope of the Taliban’s equipment seizures.
Congress will need to act to understand the full extent of this catastrophe & address the national security risks.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 2, 2021
Johnson: For almost 20 years, since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001, the efforts of the U.S. military and the intelligence community have prevented other terrorists attacks from originating in Afghanistan. That may no longer be the case.
Due to the colossal failure of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and one national security blunder after the other, the American homeland is facing the greatest potential terrorist threat in decades. This was confirmed in recently published reports by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC).
On Aug. 26, 13 members of the U.S. military deployed in Afghanistan paid for these mistakes with their lives. It is now increasingly likely that ordinary civilians living in the United States would suffer the same fate as a consequence of these mistakes due to higher risk of terrorist attacks.
In over 40 years of government service, I have never seen anything so poorly planned, badly timed and horribly managed as the current Afghan “withdrawal.” These mistakes did not just start overnight. These missteps began years ago with actions like the Obama administration’s release of five senior Taliban leaders in exchange for disgraced Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl. Similarly, many other Taliban leaders have been released from Guantanamo under the false premise that they would not return to the conflict area or participate in terrorist activities.
It has become clearly evident that these promises were nothing but lies in order to obtain freedom. The Taliban cannot be trusted. The very Taliban leaders released by the United States have returned to the fight and are now serving in senior positions within the Taliban. Recent strategic mistakes include abandoning Bagram Air Base. It was the most strategic airport in the area with greatest set-back and the best security footprint.
The U.S. troop withdrawal also enabled the release of over 5,000 prisoners from Afghan prisons, including Taliban, Islamic State (ISIS), and al Qaeda fighters who had been captured in operations by U.S. personnel who had sacrificed and risked their lives to do so. These terrorists promptly armed themselves with some of the hundreds of thousands of left behind U.S. small arms and quickly made their way over the short distance of about 30 miles, to the Kabul airport, where some would join in the Taliban standoff with U.S. forces.
Others joined the hunt for the remaining Americans, foreigners, Afghan translators and American supporters still in-country. Some have already been found and killed and unfortunately, many more will be found and likely tortured and executed. Sadly, this task has been made easier by the U.S. handing over to the Taliban a list of Americans and translators so the Taliban could allegedly facilitate their safe passage to the airport. Another shocking U.S. display of naiveté and lack of understanding or acceptance of the Afghanistan/Taliban reality.
The U.S. abandoned an $800 million embassy in Kabul, and over $80 billion of military vehicles, aircraft and weapons systems. These abandoned items include armored and mine-resistant vehicles, over a hundred helicopters, light attack aircraft, cargo planes, hundreds of unmanned drones and Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, night vision equipment, small arms, and potentially large sums of cash. According to Adam Andrzejewski, CEO of OpenTheBooks.com and a senior policy contributor to Forbes, an accurate account is difficult because the Biden administration is hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. That said, it is clear that the Taliban is now better equipped than many of the world’s armies.
These irresponsible actions have handed the Taliban and every other terrorist organization around the world the best recruiting tool imaginable, the idea that terrorism can win, even against a super power. Not only will this result in increased support and recruiting in the region, but around the globe. Unclassified reports from DHS and NCTC already highlight the threat of these actions to influence attacks in the U.S. homeland and elsewhere.