Retired Gen. Jack Keane says ‘we’re right back where we started’ in Afghanistan one year after withdrawal
Nearly one year after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan, retired four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane said on Sunday that the country has returned to conditions seen in 2001.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” guest anchor Gillian Turner, Keane pointed to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s recent presence in Kabul, the country’s capital, as evidence the Taliban is protecting the terrorist group. The United States killed al-Zawahiri in a drone strike last month.
“Afghanistan is a sanctuary for terrorism,” said Keane.
“The very reason we went there, the very reason we stayed there for 20 years, [was] to ensure that terrorists did not rise again, attack the American people,” he added. “And we’re right back where we started.”
Monday will mark the one-year anniversary of when the Taliban retook control of Kabul and Afghanistan as the United States withdrew its forces in the country.
President Biden’s approval rating dropped after the withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover.
The Biden administration has hailed the recent killing of al-Zawahiri, who led al Qaeda following the death of Osama Bin Laden, as proof the U.S. can conduct “over the horizon” strikes against terrorists even without ground forces in the country.
But many, including Keane, have argued al-Zawahiri’s presence in downtown Kabul indicates the Taliban is once again harboring al Qaeda, which in 2001 led the United States to invade Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.
Keane, who works as a Fox News analyst, retired from the military in 2003 and had been known as an outside adviser to former President Trump, who presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Keane on Sunday called the current state of Afghanistan a “tragic” and “preventable” situation.
“What did this decision get us?” Keane asked of the U.S. withdrawal.
“It got us the Taliban in charge, again, providing sanctuary to the al Qaeda, and so al-Zawahiri’s killing resurrected the fact that he’s living in a Taliban house, in a neighborhood that I’ve been to many times where senior Taliban leaders are in residence,” said Keane. “And obviously, they are protecting the al Qaeda leader, as well as his organization.”