On Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” former Obama administration Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made the reference to the killing of former al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Panetta suggested that Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul was evidence that Afghanistan had become a “safe haven for terrorists” a year after President Joe Biden’s ill-fated exit.
“[A]Another mission that came out of 9/11 was that we were going to make sure that Afghanistan would never again be taken over by the Taliban and become a safe haven for terrorism. Unfortunately, that’s what happened,” Panetta lamented.
“The Taliban are now in charge of Afghanistan,” he continued. “There is no doubt that they provide a safe haven for terrorists. The Haqqani, involved with the Taliban, are themselves terrorists. And the fact that Zawahiri, one of the top leaders of al-Qaeda, could just walk into Kabul, get an apartment in the middle of the capital. Not asking questions sends a real message that the Taliban will continue to provide a safe haven for terrorism. And the United States has a real responsibility to continue to be able to determine whether or not there are going to be threats against the United States or our allies coming from Afghanistan.”
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