Pakistani President Imran Khan bluntly rebuffed requests by the CIA to use his country for future operations across the Afghan border after the US withdrawal, leaving the US with few options for basing combat drones or other air assets after its bases in Afghanistan were handed over.
The US plans to continue military operations in Afghanistan after the final withdrawal on August 31, 2021, US President Joe Biden said in his speech on Monday following the surrender of Kabul to the Taliban over the weekend.
“Today a terrorist threat has metastasized well beyond Afghanistan: al-Shabaab in Somalia, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQQP), al-Nusra in Syria, ISIS [Daesh] attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia,” Biden said.
The war in Afghanistan rested on the same legal basis as the rest of the US War on Terror: the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress on September 18, 2001, a week after the terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda that destroyed the World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing roughly 3,000 Americans.
The US invasion of Afghanistan followed just weeks later, and while the Taliban government that had harbored al-Qaeda was quickly overthrown, it regrouped in the countryside and launched a new insurgency the following year, which on Sunday finally succeeded after 18 years in seizing Kabul and…