In case US President Joe Biden was considering an extension to the deadline he set for completing the pullout from Afghanistan, a franchise of Taliban foe Islamic State operating there under the name ISIS-K has apparently increased the urgency felt at the White House by threatening terror attacks of its own if the August 31 deadline is not met. For its part, the Taliban have again closed the door to the possibility of additional time in which to evacuate Americans and others fleeing for their lives.
This, as the White House left open the option to extend its evacuation operation. But while the president’s political foes are characterizing the unruly extraction as a failed effort, from the administration’s standpoint more time means more targets and more potential disaster. In short, the Taliban threat is working. Media reports quote President Biden assessing the level of threat of a major terrorist attack as “very high” in speaking to his G7 colleagues, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as asking what others were whispering: How was Afghan’s president able to flee the country so quickly and how was it that the Western-trained forces proved to be little or no deterrent to the speedy Taliban takeover?