CIA Chief Makes Unannounced Afghan Visit As Pentagon Scrambles To Move Out Equipment
Now more than a week after Biden’s major Afghan troop exit by Sept. 11 announcement, US defense and intelligence officials appear to be scrambling. The Pentagon said Friday it’s initiated a major equipment withdrawal from the country; however, this has seen extra military assets and personnel move in to increase security for the exit process and logistics.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday confirmed the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier would stay in Mideast regional waters “for a period of time” – and additionally multiple B-52 long-range bombers have been deployed to the region.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a press briefing that “there could be temporary additional force protection measures and enablers that we would require to make sure…that this drawdown goes smoothly and safely for our men and women.”
This follows fierce Taliban threats to attack any and all American troops that still remain after May 1st – which was the exit date previously agreed upon during the Trump administration’s talks with the Taliban. Now a mere week away, the Pentagon is gearing up after Taliban leaders vowed to make things a “nightmare” for the US.
Also at the end of this week The Associated Press revealed that CIA Director William Burns made a recent unannounced visit to Afghanistan, where he reassured the Afghan government in Kabul that the US is committed to stay “engaged in counterterrorism efforts.”
It’s also believed Burns was checking up on how a controversial CIA training program for Afghan counter-terror special forces is going, per the AP:
The official said the CIA had been training and running Afghan special forces known as Counter Terrorism Pursuit Teams, or CTPT. The teams are located in the provinces of Kunar, Paktia, Kandahar, Kabul, Khost and Nangarhar. He said the plan is to gradually hand them over to the Afghan intelligence service, known as the National Directorate of Security. So far, the Kunar and Paktia units have been transferred to Afghan control, he said.
The CTPT teams are feared by many Afghans and have been implicated in extra-judicial killings of civilians.
This is all part of efforts to leave a stable enough security situation behind, at least for the short term, in order to protect the Biden administration politically as it seeks a swift exit.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking,” Biden said in his Afghan pullout announcement speech on April 14. “Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq — in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.”
Sat, 04/24/2021 – 12:15