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Defense / National Security

U.S. Ambassador: Early Afghanistan Withdrawal Would 'Set the Stage for Another 9/11'

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
April 15, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said that Sunday's attacks on Western embassies in Afghanistan are evidence that the U.S. should continue its mission there and not withdraw early, despite growing public aversion to the war.

"Attacks like this demonstrate why we need to be here," he said on CNN's State of the Union. "To get out before the Afghans have a full grip on security, which is a couple of years out, would be to invite the Taliban and Al Qaeda back in and set the stage for another 9/11 and that, I think, is an unacceptable risk."

The Taliban attacked seven different sites in Kabul on Sunday, including NATO bases, the parliament and western embassies, the Associated Press reports. Similar attacks occurred simultaneously in three other cities. The U.S. embassy is currently under lockdown, but Crocker said that the lockdown will soon be lifted because the Afghan security forces "pretty much have the situation under control now."

Crocker praised the Afghan security forces, saying they're making "progress."

"We've seen a very professional performance by Afghan security forces. They are able to deal with events like this on their own -- a clear sign of progress," he said.

Though the Taliban claims this is the beginning of a larger series of attacks, Crocker dismissed such a possibility, saying that the Taliban is likely not "good enough" to carry out a wider series of attacks.

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