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Former acting CIA director: Taliban’s win in Afghanistan, US exit ‘absolutely inspired jihadists’

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell said jihadists were “absolutely inspired” by the Taliban’s victory in the Afghanistan war and the U.S.’s exit from the country.

“I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world,” Morell told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. So there’s a celebration going on,” he added.

Morell, who served as acting CIA director twice between 2011 and 2013, said he believes jihadists will now “flow back” into Afghanistan and make the country “more dangerous than other spots on the planet.”

“I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central,” he said.

“So after 9/11 they all scattered from Afghanistan. I think we’re going to see a flow back in and that’s one of the things that makes Afghanistan more dangerous than other spots on the planet,” he added.

Morell’s comments come as the Taliban forms its government in Afghanistan after the U.S. completed its military withdrawal and the insurgent group overran the country.

The Taliban announced the makeup of its new interim Afghan government last week, which includes several hard-line rulers from the 1990s and has no female leaders.

The former acting CIA director, when asked by Brennan if the U.S. is more at-risk in Afghanistan without military presence in the country, responded “we are more at risk, without a doubt.”

He said the lack of a strategy for collecting intelligence and executing over the horizon attacks are contributing to that risk.


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