In every country where the U.S. has deployed elements of an over-the-horizon strategy, like in Yemen, Somalia, or Iraq and Syria, it’s had an intelligence network, a nearby air base and some form of local partner on the ground.
In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan — where the CIA has evacuated its sources, the nearest air bases are in the Gulf and the local security partner is an FBI-wanted terrorist — it has none.
Behind the scenes: About 1pm on Aug. 27 — the day after the Kabul airport bombing that killed 13 American service members and dozens of Afghan civilians — some of Biden’s top national security officials held a conference call with senators from both parties.
Briefers included Blinken, deputy secretary of defense Kathleen Hicks, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten, according to three sources on the call.
The sources, one who read aloud from notes taken during the call, said the conversation grew especially heated when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked: “Given the fuel poured on the fire of terrorism, what are your plans to conduct the war on terrorism? … Even though we seem to have given up, they [the terrorists] have not.”