‘A terrorist safe haven’: Tom Cotton says terrorism could resurface in Afghanistan following US withdrawal
Mary Rose Corkery, DCNF
Sen. Tom Cotton said Thursday that terrorism could resurface in Afghanistan following the U.S.’ planned withdrawal from the country.
“I do share those concerns that Afghanistan could revert into a terrorist safe haven in which terrorists could plan and launch attacks,” Cotton said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” President Joe Biden announced Wednesday to fully withdrawal America’s troop presence in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021.
The U.S. reached an agreement in February 2020 to remove all of its armed forces by May 1 as long as the Taliban maintains its commitment to contain terrorism in Afghanistan. But the U.S.-Taliban agreement has remained fragile as attacks against U.S. forces have continued well into 2021.
The Taliban attacked Forward Operating Base Chapman, a classified American base located in eastern Afghanistan, on two occasions in March, an American official familiar with the information said, according to CNN. Rockets landed close to the base, resulting in seven civilian injuries.
The Arkansas Republican said the U.S. initially invaded the country to secure the safety of American lives domestically and internationally, rather than attempt to reform Afghanistan. Cotton said Biden has yet to speak about how the U.S. is going to keep gathering intelligence and, if required to ensure Americans’ safety, attack terrorism groups within the country.
Cotton said that the U.S.’ mission is to ensure Afghanistan is not relinquished to the Taliban where it would act as a springboard for future terrorist attacks.
“That was true when I was in Afghanistan as an Army captain 12 years ago, eight years into this war,” Cotton said. “We were trying to ensure that Afghanistan could not fall back into the hands of groups like the Taliban or Al-Qaeda and now ISIS and be used attack the United States.”