Overnight Defense

Overnight Defense: 32 dead in ISIS-claimed attack in Kabul | Trump says Taliban could 'possibly' overrun Afghan government when US leaves | House poised for Iran war powers vote next week

Overnight Defense: 32 dead in ISIS-claimed attack in Kabul | Trump says Taliban could 'possibly' overrun Afghan government when US leaves | House poised for Iran war powers vote next week

Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.


THE TOPLINE: Kabul saw its first major attack Friday since the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed last week.


ISIS' Afghanistan branch claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban denied any involvement.

Still, the attack underscores the danger of violence in Afghanistan that remains despite the U.S. withdrawal deal.

Details: The attack was carried out by gunmen who opened fire on a ceremony commemorating the 1995 killing of Abdul Ali Mazari, who was the leader Afghanistan's ethnic Hazaras.


At least 32 people were killed and dozens more injured. All of the casualties were civilians, according to Afghan officials.

The ceremony was attended by several top Afghan politicians, including chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, who was unharmed.

ISIS has attacked memorial services for Mazari in 2018 and 2019, as well.

Trump on the Taliban: Though Friday's attack wasn't Taliban, the insurgents have been carrying out attacks on Afghan military forces since the deal signing.


Still, on Thursday night, President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE projected confidence about the prospect of a peace agreement.

Trump said he believes the Taliban wants to "make a deal" and insisted that the United States needs to bring troops home from the 19-year war in Afghanistan.

"These are warriors. We've been there for 20 years," Trump said during a Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pa. "We could win that war very easily, but I don't feel like killing millions of people to do it."

Trump seemed to minimize the surge in violence in the region, saying "a group formed that was going to attack certain Afghan soldiers" but that the U.S. military "took them out."

On Friday, though, Trump also allowed for the possibility that the Taliban overruns the U.S.-back Afghan government as soon as U.S. troops leave the country.


"It's not supposed to happen that way, but it possibly will," Trump told reporters.

"Eventually countries have to take care of themselves," he said. "We can't be there for the next, another 20 years. We've been there for 20 years, and we've been protecting the country."


WAR POWERS VOTE NEXT WEEK: The House appears poised to send the Iran war powers resolution to President Trump's desk next week.

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Trump moves to his own blog as Facebook ban remains in place Hoyer: GOP lawmakers mad at Cheney because she 'believes in the truth' Five takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks MORE (D-Md.) said when announcing the schedule that it is "possible" the House takes up the Senate-passed resolution next week.


The House Rules Committee is scheduled to prepare the resolution for the floor at its Monday evening meeting.

Background: The Senate approved the resolution last month to constrain Trump's ability to take military action on Iran.

The resolution, from Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOn The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill MORE (D-Va.), would require Trump to pull any U.S. troops from military hostilities against Iran within 30 day unless he gets congressional approval for the military actions.

The House previously passed its own version of an Iran war powers resolution. But it was a different type of resolution than Kaine's, meaning it has to vote again to send it to Trump's desk.



The Brookings Institution will host a conversation with retired Gen. David Petraeus at 2 p.m. https://brook.gs/32Y5HVt

Reps. Joe CourtneyJoseph (Joe) D. CourtneyHouse passes bill to prevent violence in health care workplaces We can't afford to lose one more nurse — passing workplace violence prevention bill would help Marine Corps commandant says China, Russia to pose biggest challenges for years MORE (D-Conn.) and Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanOvernight Defense: Iran talks set up balancing act for Biden | Pentagon on alert amid Russian saber rattling | Lawmakers urge Pentagon to be pickier about commanders' requests for more troops Battle heats up over Pentagon spending plans Marine Corps commandant says China, Russia to pose biggest challenges for years MORE (R-Va.) will discuss the administration's defense budget proposal at 11:30 a.m. at the Hudson Institute. https://bit.ly/38uz6rl



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