US Senator Vows to Press Officials at Secret Briefing on Conducting Strikes in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jim Inhofe, promised to press US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a classified briefing scheduled for Wednesday on any plans to carry out over-the-horizon strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan.
The Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a classified briefing on Afghanistan with Blinken and Austin on Wednesday morning.
"Here’s what I’d like to hear from Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin... I want to understand what threats we face from terrorist organizations in Afghanistan today. I want to know how the administration plans to counter these threats, seeing as we have conducted zero over-the-horizon counterterrorism strikes since August - not even to punish the terrorists who killed 13 American service members at Abbey Gate, as the president promised to do," Inhofe said in a press release on Tuesday.
Inhofe also said he will seek an update on the number of Americans still in Afghanistan since the mass exodus in August.
As part of the Doha pact, the Taliban provided the US with assurances that it would not become a terrorist safe haven.
In December, the Afghanistan Ambassador to Tajikistan Muhammad Zahir Agbar told Sputnik that the Taliban* grants al-Qaeda* and Islamic State* fighters Afghan passports. The practice is a signal that terrorism is being legalized there, the ambassador said.
The terrorist threat to the US homeland from externally-directed attacks is at its lowest since September 11, 2001, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism Milancy Harris told the US House of Representatives in December. However, the United States still faces a number of terrorist groups committed to targeting its interests and personnel abroad, Harris added.
* A terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other states