Former US Defense Secretary and CIA chief Leon Panetta said in an interview that al-Qaeda will regain its former strength in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, which will mean a new war in the region.
“We’re going to have to go back in to get ISIS [Daesh]. We’re probably going to have to go back in when al Qaeda resurrects itself, as they will, with this Taliban,” Panetta continued in the interview. “They gave safe haven to al Qaeda before, they’ll probably do it again.”
His comments come a day after a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul that killed 13 US service members and at least 180 Afghan civilians, with another 1,300 people wounded.
Panetta warned that the Taliban are “terrorists, and certainly supporters of terrorists, operating checkpoints for terrorists.”
“I understand that we’re trying to get our troops out of there, but the bottom line is, we can leave a battlefield, but we can’t leave the War on Terrorism, which still is a threat to our security,” he added.
China, the US, Pakistan, and other nations have united to urge the Taliban to not harbour terrorist groups, while the US has only offered to remove sanctions on Afghanistan.