September 30, 2022


During an interview aired Tuesday on PBS’ “NJ Spotlight News,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said the presence of former al Qaeda leader Ayman al- Zawahiri in Kabul “confirms that al-Qaeda safe haven is still alive and well in Afghanistan. But it also confirms to al-Qaeda operatives that they are not far from us there.”

Menendez said: “Well, the death of al-Zawahiri is a big blow to al-Qaeda. It was her current head. He was Bin Laden’s number two. There is a huge amount of blood from American lives on al-Zawahiri’s hands. Well, I’m glad he met his maker. So it also shows that even if we’re not in Afghanistan like we were, that we have the means, in Afghanistan or elsewhere, to track down those terrorists who are committing acts against the United States. I think it’s a huge blow to Al Qaeda, a big win. I applaud the Biden administration for doing so. And it shows that we can still reach countries, including a place like Afghanistan, to continue our counter-terrorism efforts.”

Then host Briana Vannozzi asked: “But what does it tell you, senator, or what does it signal to you that this terrorist leader lived in a safe house in the capital, a wealthy area, in a building with links to the Taliban every year. after the US withdrew troops from Afghanistan?’

Menendez responded: “Well, it proves that the deal that former President Trump made with the Taliban that they would not allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for al Qaeda was a lie. Because you can’t have the leader of al Qaeda living in Kabul and suggest you don’t know this was happening. And so, it confirms that Al Qaeda’s safe haven is still alive and well in Afghanistan. But it also confirms to al-Qaeda operatives that they are not far from us there.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett





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