Pentagon walks back Biden’s statement about al-Quaeda being ‘gone’ from Afghanistan
The Pentagon seemingly backtracked on President Joe Biden’s statement that the extremist group al-Quaeda is no longer present in Afghanistan.
“Let’s put this into perspective here,” Biden said during a press conference Friday. “What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with al-Qaeda gone?”
About an hour later, a reporter asked Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby for an estimate on how many al-Quaeda operatives were currently in Afghanistan.
“I haven’t seen an estimate on that,” Kirby said. “OK, I don’t know if we have an exact estimate.”
“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.”