Experts warn of al Qaeda attacks on US soil as global terror threat reaches 20-year high

The Biden-ordered Afghanistan withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover has increased the global terror threat to its highest point in two decades, and without U.S. intelligence operatives in the region, an al Qaeda 9-11 style attack may be imminent, experts warn.

Dr. Tom Copeland, an expert in intelligence failures and mass casualty terrorist attacks and director of research at the Centennial Insititute told Fox News on Thursday that the fall of the Afghan government will likely coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack. Moreover, Copeland warned, the United States’ complete withdrawal could presage another attack of that nature on U.S. soil.

“Having an entire country as a safe haven, will give [al Qaeda] more physical space and more breathing space to reconstitute and go back to planning major events, so I think the U.S. withdrawal itself is a large part of that threat,” Copeland said.

With the country under complete Taliban control, al Qaeda is expected to set up shop and fully resume operations, making terror attacks on the West an ever-present national security concern, he explained.

The fear, Copeland said, is that for the first time in nearly 20 years, the U.S. will be blind on the ground with the absence of an embassy, military bases, and a CIA station based in the region.

“Even though we may be better organized to defend the homeland than we were in 2001, this withdrawal is going to leave us with a much more limited window into what the terrorists are doing inside Afghanistan,” he told Fox News.

On Friday, President Biden appeared to downplay the threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, only to be later corrected by the Pentagon.

“Let’s put this into perspective here,” Biden said during a press conference Friday defending the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. “What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with al Qaeda gone?”


Roughly an hour later, Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin questioned Defense Department press secretary John Kirby on Biden’s statement.

Griffin asked Kirby for an estimate on how many al Qaeda operatives were currently in Afghanistan, and Kirby was not able to give her a specific number.

“I haven’t seen an estimate on that,” Kirby said. “OK, I don’t know if we have an exact estimate.”

“You don’t have military intelligence estimates about how many al Qaeda remain in Afghanistan?” Griffin pushed back.

“We know that al Qaeda is a presence as well as ISIS in Afghanistan,” Kirby said. “And we’ve talked about that for quite some time. We do not believe it is exorbitantly high, but we don’t have an exact figure for you, as I think you might understand.”

The next three and a half years, I think, will be our most dangerous since the 1950s of the Cold War,” Hanson told Fox News on Thursday.

“Jihadists now have a centrally located haven that has a proven record of successfully launching anti-Western terrorist operations; the Taliban are far more jubilant now than in the past, given the climatic defeat of the entire NATO coalition, and, finally, they feel there no longer exists U.S. deterrence,” he explained.

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