tv Discussion on the Fall of Afghanistan Middle East CSPAN August 21, 2021 3:29pm-4:35pm EDT
no one can do it. >> getting you a front row seat to democracy. >> now, a discussion on the collapse of the ask -- afghan government to the taliban and its inpatients for the region. participants also talk about difficulties, u.s. spaces in counting terrorism from afar. this is just over one hour. >> i'm pleased to welcome you to this special college form event we are convening here virtually from afghanistan to the middle east. implications of the u.s. withdrawal and tell them victory. i am sure everyone on this call has their own views on the wisdom of the decision by the
president to withdraw american forces from afghanistan, the strategic decision. and i'm sure everyone on this call has views on the efficacy of the execution from the tactical decisions involved in executing the president's decision which we are seeing play out on our television screens every day, including the harrowing, frightening, chaotic scenes we saw in the kabul airport just a couple of with -- days ago. today's discussion will focus on the impact of the afghanistan of elements on the region that is the focus of the washington institute. mainly on the broader middle east. i am delighted to be able to first urge everyone to go to the institute's website to check on the written analysis by many of my colleagues. that is www.washingtoninstitute.org.
i pleased to welcome three of my colleagues. they will bring their own effort -- expertise to these issues then we will be here to take your questions. before i introduce them, let me tell you that there are two ways that you can pose questions to engage in our discussion on the implications of u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan. if you are on zoom, you may use the chat function. if you are not on zoom, please send an email directly to me email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org with that, i am now happy to introduce the panelists for today's event. first is katie wheelbarger.
she focuses on u.s. security and defense policy in the middle east. she has extensive experience on both ends of pennsylvania avenue, the executive and legislative branches, in dealing with the politics and policy of these sorts of issues. i am delighted to give katie the microphone in just a moment. then we will turn to aaron. he will be focusing on the original reason why we are in afghanistan, which is to prevent the resurgence of al qaeda and other jihadis groups who attacked us in 2001.
we will hear from him on the potential for the reconstitution of these groups in afghanistan and the threat that they may pose to our homeland. then we will turn to patrick clawson. a specialist on iran, the head of our round program at the institute, patrick will talk on with the impact of the afghan withdrawal on this important neighbor is. what the impact of having the arrival of a jihadist government next to iran will have on the new leadership in tehran. first i will turn to katie
wheelbarger. katie: i would like to thank everybody for joining us today. from my perspective, and having served in the department of defense, the withdrawal and method presents significant challenges in the near and long-term, but also some opportunities. we need to try to focus on how to move forward as we deal with the ramifications. much has been spoken of recently on what this decision and its implementation means for u.s. credibility around the world, but specifically in the middle east. what does this mean for security partnerships and other operational activities? it is important first to make sure that we do not over diagnose the challenges in afghanistan and apply that across the region.
afghanistan has its own challenges. we also had our own unique partnerships with the security forces in afghanistan. there is reason why we ended up here today. that does not necessarily implicate our relationships with other countries at a security and defense level. if anything, some of our ramifications and rhetoric that are coming out of the withdrawal are perhaps an opportunity for the u.s. to reevaluate ending forever wars and what that means for u.s. security interests. specifically, the evolution of this afghanistan campaign and withdrawal has is focusing in on the importance of u.s. security corporation and our military presence in iraq and syria. i am heartened by some of the results that came out of
recently enacted security dialogue that we had with iraq. even though we did announce that we are recognizing the change in u.s. posture from a combat posture to a train and equip mission, with this has done on a bipartisan, multi-admin station level is we have committed to an ongoing military presence and security corporation with our iraqi partners. that is even more important as we see that ramifications of the withdrawal and perhaps some instability in the region that iraq, which has been seen as somewhat of a center of gravity security situation in the middle east. in that regard, we also see our nato partners seeking to increase their presence in iraq from 400 troops to potentially
4000. that highlights the european interest and also assuring a -- ensuring stable and secure region. they participate with us in an 83-member coalition. it is global but focused on iraq and syria. the global community continues to care very much about the middle east. i do think that there is an opportunity to show the perhaps leaving a country too soon or under less than ideal conditions can have ramifications that you do not expect. perhaps the american dialogue can help us have a stronger focus on continuing our against isis, but also our security partnerships. i also think the u.s. and the region has the benefit of
decades long security cooperation agreements and partnerships with countries around the region. that is something that in times of chaos or crisis or instability in one part of the world, we can really advance our interests by focusing on and perhaps doing more than what we are currently doing in the security and defense realm. if i were advising the biden administration, i would advise not just have meetings or phone calls were we discussed things, but actually come up with concrete plans with each of our key partners on what more we can be doing, what their moves are, what they see as potential instability inside their own borders and what more we can do to advance our mutual interests, whether that is advancing more joint programs, looking on further cyber cooperation, how we can deal together with the potential challenges of afghanistan.
one of my concerns about afghanistan is the amount of time and energy it is having to take from senior leaders across the government so they are not able to focus on higher priorities. the entire purpose of the withdrawal was to allow us to focus our resources more completely on what we see as our more acute regional and global priorities. at the moment, there's probably a preoccupation that that is not being allowed, largely because of the way the withdrawal was conducted. that said, we still have significant resources and assets in the region. we should be looking to our
security partnerships on what more we can be doing together, but i also think it stands to be very clear early on that we do face resource constraint. as we are looking to the global fight against jihadism or the regional fight, the challenges that afghanistan poses now that we do not have a ground presence is going to put some strains on our military capability to be in multiple places at once. we already have significant air assets that are devoted to syria and iraq. we are going to try to implement what the president has suggested, over the horizon capability in afghanistan, that is going to put some strains. it is important to be very clear. i have doubts about whether that over the horizon capability will
be effective at all. it is very hard to conduct counterterrorism operations within the near term or the long term without a ground presence being able to tell you where these groups are, who is a part of them, and what they are doing. in terms of -- looking at the opportunities, i think there is global recognition on the importance of stability in the region. this may make that even more acute. we have to continue to be clear with our partners that the purpose of this withdrawal, which is to allow us to focus on more strategic priorities involves not just the region but also our global requirements. most importantly china. we have to be very clear with partners in the region and elsewhere we are looking to partner together to take on these global challenges.
hopefully, over time, as the withdrawal concludes, those efforts and resources will be saved so we can focus our energy on regional and global challenges that we really do face. i will close it there, by look -- but i look forward to everybody's questions. >> thank you, katie. we will turn now to aaron. but i misspoke earlier when i urged you to use the chat function. you should use the q&a function if you are on zoom. we will factor them into the conversation when our presentations are concluded. aaron? aaron: thanks for everybody who is watching and listening. today i will talk about what is the current state of play in relation to the jihadi movement. in particular, i am going to
cover the status of the fighters in afghanistan. it is the lifeblood of this movement. what are the reactions on the number of different groups, in particular al qaeda, the islamic state, as well as the one in syria, and what they are saying. there are known unknowns, there are things that we might know that happen but we do not know the full trajectory at this point. in terms of the question of foreign fighters, back in december 2018, a senior tablian commander told nbc news that it had around 2000-3000 foreign fighters. it is likely that a number of these foreigners that are within the tablian are actually members of al qaeda.
one of the things that is interesting about what we have seen so far in comparison to, say, when we think about the foreign fighters in afghanistan in the 80's and the 90's, when it was a lot of arabs, most of the foreign fighters we see in afghanistan nowadays have been from surrounding countries. however, with the tablian's takeover of kabul, it is likely that we might see people coming from other regions. as we know, in the case of syria, there are a lot more countries that have a lot more jihadists than they ever had before. the size of the tablian and al qaeda, the islamic state has already had a presence in afghanistan going back to 2015 and a cadre of foreign fighters. there's no particular number. is definitely not as large as
the tablian and al qaeda, but it is likely they will use this as another way to recruit people, essentially saying that we are the real islamic state not the tablian. afghanistan has a history of foreign fighter mobilization. at least a few thousand already on the scene. they will likely inspire another mobilization. the question going forward in relation to that is how large will it be? since the syrian war, many countries have put into place a number of new laws and preventative measures. plus, unlike syria, where it was easy to get there, because you got there via turkey, the tourism industry and plain network, it is a bit more difficult to get to afghanistan. it is likely we will not see 40,000 to 50,000 foreign fighters streaming into
afghanistan right away, but it would not be surprising if we did see some. how have jihadi's reacted so far? many elements of the movement, especially individuals affiliated with al qaeda, have expressed joy. they view it as a confirmation that they are pcn's -- patients -- pacience and ideology will bring them favor in god's eyes. i expect that senior leadership will put out statements as well. but the fact that his been now four days since kabul fell and only al qaeda put on the statement last evening illustrates one of the reasons
why isis, as well as hts, have been able to put al qaeda within the movement in recent years. this could also be a good opportunity to see what the status of al qaeda is, since some people believe that since last november, the leader is either dead or deeply ill, since we have not heard from him. this could be another place to see what he has been up to. where they congratulated the taliban and said, we are hopeful in this victory, breaking the chain of slavery and subservience. as for other ideologues, they are jubilant, because they hope to achieve the same thing in damascus one day. one senior member even wrote a
poem for the occasion, calling it i love the tablian. one ideologue explained, once the tablian were true to their covenant with god. that did not change. victory is achieved. likewise, an hgs leader declared, the tablian's victory is a victory for all the oppressed. the group has demonstrated their joy in the streets by giving -- away to drivers. they will likely put on an event to try to bring people into this messaging. for their part, islamic state leaders are unlikely to be happy by what happened and the reemergence of the so-called
islamic emirate of afghanistan. the victory takes away from their own project. tonight, the islamic state will likely release its weekly newsletter. we will find out more, especially what they are going to say, but the taliban forces have been fighting each other since 2015, when is first announced its presence. continuous efforts to suppress operations in afghanistan. is still has its efficiencies. an example in the last few days, is actually attacks the tablian the day before kabul fell. during one of the tablian's prison breaks, they executed a
former leader. you could see that even while the tablian has been doing these prison breaks, they tend to cycle between those who may be actual operatives of the tablian or al qaeda versus those who might be with the islamic state. in terms of known unknowns, they include the status of those released from the prison itself by the tablian and the potential operatives amongst them. this outflow of jihadi veterans will likely helps jumpstart aq's efforts to build infrastructure. it is hard to know who these individuals are and what they have previously done. some insight will hopefully be garnered in the future. a related question is how many aq operatives outside of afghanistan will now try to return? of particular interest is a man
who is seen as a potential heir to al qaeda. however, since the post 9/11 timeframe, he is been in iran, in prison, then under house arrest. it will be interesting to see how iran deals with this, whether they might use it as a bargaining chip with detailed on or al qaeda or if they might just view it from their perspective as a good thing, since it could create problems for the u.s. other potential returnees include aq leaders from syria. to assist with the organization's branch in syria. there are rumors, especially since they have cracked down on al qaeda in june 2020, those among some who have not been killed or arrested are seeking ways to return to afghanistan.
they could have some historical leaders once again returning to afghanistan, even if the current operatives may be more local or regional actors. there will be new challenges. either way, that return of the so-called islamic emirate's of afghanistan has three of the -- reinvigorated al qaeda, giving hps a model to follow in syria and annoyed the islamic state, their competitors.
>> very interesting. to get your questions into this conversation, please email me directly at email@example.com g or use the q&a function at the bottom of your screen. now to patrick clawson. he will talk about the iranian angle. patrick. patrick: there are strong reasons to anticipate that iran will be hostile to the taliban victory in afghanistan. let me take off a few. one is the history. in the 1990's, iran put tremendous efforts into those fighting the tilde. iran was the godfather of the creation of northern alliance. at one point, authorities
worse humanitarian disaster created. the third reason is this. iran has a tremendous opium problem and much worse than the u.s. problem. quite a substantial amount of men addicted to these products. they organized and problem -- profit from that trade there is another concern about unrest. they have been a major factor in this movement in southeastern iran. iran has fought for years. the iranian government will be
2015, iran's supreme leader who used to make frequent caustic comments about the taliban has not said one word of criticism. in 2016, when they finally acknowledge that their leader was dead, there were two leading contenders to replace him and they spent many months in iran. one of them months or, was killed by a drone strike while driving to his home in pakistan. -- mansur. in 2018, the supreme national security council in iran was quite an influential figure. according to the dean of american afghan studies at columbia, he openly told the afghan government he was
providing arms to the taliban. he would not change his policies. we come forward to the more recent period, and what we see is that iran was at most, mix signals about the taliban victories. the foreign ministry is referred to the islamic emirate of afghanistan which is the official title of -- alvin wants to give it. the trade crossing points between iran and afghanistan have remained open. they only closed for a few days while the taliban took over. by the way, i'm no expert in afghanistan but the asian development bank from two years ago said that 70% of the imports and afghanistan came from iran. iran sells a lot to afghanistan in the months ending july 22 of
$250 million worth of goods to afghanistan. one of their largest trading partners. what we have seen is a focus in the iranian media and officials on the defeat. that has been their principal concern one of them tweeted about this the feet of foreign occupation should give us what to expect in palestine. to be sure, there should be suspicions from an influential iranian newspaper who put it that you should not criticize the taliban. they are a sunni fourths. we will see what happens. probably the most single most important day of the road is counter -- calendar of sunni and detested by she has -- shias.
also, they coordinated with the shieh leaders in iran. aside from the taliban, i think the iranian focus will remain on the u.s. defeat. it could change. for instance, we saw they cooperated for a long time with the forces fighting the united states in iraqi, even though those people were engaged in a vicious slaughter of shieh inside of iraq and they were closely iran -- aligned with iran. they were willing to work together in a common anti-american agenda until they felt there was a threat they
felt was imposed to iran itself. when the is drum -- islamic state overran northern iraq, there was a perception felt inside of iran that they were coming to iran and not just the holy cities, but iran itself was in threat. that was exacerbated by the attack on july 2017. one day, the islamic state attacked both of these buildings in tehran and also the tomb in tehran. they killed 17 people. there was this perception that the islamic state was coming to take on iran and therefore, they became hostile to them. it is conceivable that is what will happen here as well. so far, we see no indications of that at all.
let me close by offering if you lessons that this offers. one is that the persian regime places great clarity on its hostility to the net states. they are prepared to swallow a lot in order to cooperate with those who are hostile to the u.s. i conclude that it is frankly futile to think the u.s. will be able to reach an agreement with iran and follow on talks post nuclear deal. such as agreeing on something on a impactful basis but go on about agreeing research and on missiles but use drones in said. i would frankly not give a priority to that. i also learned the lesson that they will give up their nuclear ambitions.
therefore, it is important to have some deals with iran. the u.s. focus on what they want to be longer and stronger nuclear deal should be on a longer and stronger nuclear restriction. iran is not likely to change its strategic hostility to the u.s. during the timeframe before the sunset clauses come into effect. i would conclude by saying that how iran has changed its approach to taliban, from one being willing to operate with the and anti-taliban effort from when the u.s. invaded afghanistan in 2001-2002, to wear now iran works with the taliban despite all these reasons because the taliban is hostile to the u.s. that is what matters most to the
iranians. expect tactical agreements but not a strategic shift. >> very good. thank you so much. thank you to all three of you and again, if you have questions, email me. or, use the q and a function on the zoom. let me just open this by playing off comments that the two of you made regarding the ability of the u.s. to counter or even monitor the resurgence of al qaeda and eight taliban-controlled afghanistan. can you refer to what you thought or obligations of having an over the horizon counterterrorism response echo
aaron, you, i want to ask about referring to the infrastructure built their own the last two years. the question is how much of that infrastructure was self dependent on the presumption that we would be in afghanistan as we have been over the last 20 years? i want you to expand a bit on the counterterrorism challenges that we could very well face with a taliban-controlled afghanistan? katie? >> i think the u.s. decision to remove all forces from afghanistan isn't the fault takeover was supposed to suppose a significant challenge it. from our ability to conduct operations against taliban or isis or other extremist groups. it is some of the most treacherous terrain in the planet in terms of the mountain
scape. that is one of the reasons it became a safe haven in the first place. it is hard to see from the air what is going on in those mountains. from my perspective, many have lost sight that from my view, much of what we are doing in afghanistan in terms of building up the afghan army and security forces was to allow the afghan commandos of our more special operators to have these counter operations in eastern afghanistan. to build a security and infrastructure -- infrastructure and put pressure on the group that is of utmost security which is al qaeda and isis given they were able to conduct a significant operation against us from that location. i have serious doubts we will
know what those groups are doing, how they are coalescing, how they are planning and who is even a part of them if we don't have forces on the ground and put pressure on them to reveal themselves. we have seen over the years that with our presence, some al qaeda elements can go months or years from hiding training camps in the mountains or caves that we did not know existed. we were in a position that when we learned about them to take back some. i do worry we won't -- we will be blinded on what is going on there. as aaron alluded to, the idea that we have into over the horizon in places like -- not for those focused on it, but you're doing your operations from outside the borders of that particular country. the suggestion that we have done so in places like syria and
yemen, is not actually true. we have forces on the ground and both of those places had ribbon partnered on the ground in yemen to go after hq ap. --aqap. they are near coastal places and it's easier for us to have a presence locally. you have air assets in particular that can get close to the orders. the problem with afghanistan in addition to not having boots on the ground that can monitor these groups in close terrain is that it is very far from our other placed assets in the region. you're asking whether it be in unmanned aircraft or a man aircraft will have to go many hours before they can get to afghanistan deceit just what's going on in that terrain. it will put a severe stress on our air resources at a time we
have been stressed for the last 20 years. i will close by saying that syria taught us in 2014, that trying to conduct ct operations without a ground resins does not work. that is what the background of the air force is. we tried that in 2014, and the president finally realized that we could not do it without a partner force on the ground. as much as we tried to conduct this in syria, it did not work and we had to go in there with forces on the ground. >> very interesting. aaron, your view on this? >> i agree. one of the key parts of this is the fact that we have had partner forces on the grounds. whether it is actual governments or out-of-state actors working with the united states with a lot of the intelligence on the ground. without that, it will be difficult another problem related to this is that the
telemann is claiming that al qaeda is not in afghanistan. they were claiming that before 9/11, let us be honest. they won't be helpful at all. if you look at the most he sent you and report about al qaeda, they claim there are 15 of the 34 provinces that came out a couple of weeks ago. now that the taliban is in control, this could spread out even farther. on top of that, there is always complicated relationships we had with pakistan because their intelligence services are backing the taliban like in the 90's. as far as i am aware, katie may have more insights. they tried to talk to countries like is becca stand and stand and work out eight military bases there. nothing has come of that yet. therefore, you have this dilemma that will be happening going
forward now. >> before i chime in, let's not exaggerate the degree at which taliban will control afghanistan. they may not have a real handle on the groups operating in their territory. we take a look at when a taliban group started in pakistan. the ttp. they were not particularly happy about this. there were some armed pitched battles between the two had it may be the case that they will use this against the jihadists, but frankly, they just could not. >> i was just going to answer it one of the other questions i see to follow up on that but is the influence on the taliban. as aaron rightly says, over a long time, pakistanis have been
a patron for the taliban. they are ensuring that they have some influence over the afghan government that it is not aligned with india. they will also have some insta bout that -- incivility on pakistan's minority group. the level of influence on a day-to-day basis is questionable. they provided safe haven, monetary support and weapons, but the same point of what patrick said, they -- the pakistan is its own organization. pakistan and other aligned countries will likely try to influence the taliban's control over these areas. pakistan is very concerned of the rise of isis on their border. there is reason to be skeptical as any patron of another country
and their armed militia. they don't have any control over what the taliban do even if they govern the country. >> let me ask you patrick, you made some fascinating observations about how iran prioritizes hostility to the u.s. over i'd say fear of the rise of a city jihadist on its border. you concluded with some suggestions regarding potential future negotiations with iran. i will ask you with what is the current state of u.s. policy? is it to return to the jcpo and the iran nuclear deal negotiated in 2015? do you see the events in afghanistan having an impact on iran's decision-making and
accept the biden administration's proposal to go back to it? >> no major irani and commentator has spoken about this. not in part because this is a holiday. it's like trying to asked some at a something on christmas eve. it will not happen. my speculation is and i will emphasize that it is speculation, is that those who are unpersuaded to engage with the west and will feel that this is not necessary the deal of the united states and they are not that powerful and that iran should powerful -- charged ahead. their whole approach has been to focus on neighboring countries. it will be interesting to see just how much he devotes to focusing on the situation in afghanistan. the replacement was an expert on
afghanistan for a long time. it is possible that the new irani and government will decide their focus is really on their neighbors and not the negotiations with the u.s.. so far, that is just negotiation. >> i'm hearing you say we do not have a direct impact on how this might affect the iranians position on the jcpoa? >> i cannot find a single reference to this. >> fair enough. we have a number of questions coming in. let me rephrase one of these in the following sense. katie, with all the challenges that we have been discussing, i know you mentioned opportunities but let us put the best case forward.
assuming we get beyond the current sets of issues regarding americans and afghan supporters of the american role in afghanistan, what do you see is the best case of the impact of our withdrawal from afghanistan and our interests on the middle east? >> a lot of national security decisions, you are looking at bad options. the best case now is not perfection in light of where we are. with the dialogue we saw with iraq, coming with the events in afghanistan or unfolding. plus, if we can get this time of instability and address what might be a refugee crisis, this will allow us to focus our energies a lot on what our core interests when it comes to security cooperation in iraqi
and syria. that is not just for the benefit of instability -- stability of an iraq but that is one of our questions for the u.s. continuing presence in iraq and their stability is really a core attribute of our pushing back against the iranians. it is there strategic goal to have us be removed from iraq in a similar way for a are us leave afghanistan. a positive development from this is that we can focus our energy and security discussions more focused on iraq. i think one of the goals of this was to allow u.s. security officials and our resources be less distracted by afghanistan which is our core interest in the region and globally. in many ways, the wake-up call that america is having right now, that withdrawal, can cause
externalities and complications that we were not expecting good i have many colleagues in contact that will be more pro-withdrawal and forever arson the are right now they see what can happen in both in a humanitarian level but also to the complications of our own security. it's not about having less pressure in our your system to call back people from iraq and syria. everybody recognizes in a bipartisan interest it is in our interest to stay in this two countries and conduct a mission that can go a long way to show our credibility. i think not only in the middle east but with our partners around the world were equally very interested in continuing this fight against isis. i think those are some positive benefits that can come out of what has been to date, not the most pleasant historical experience.
>> referred to the refugee crisis. number of questions are posing questions about the potential refugees pouring out of afghanistan. one place they it had to is iran. what do you think the iranian view will be at the prospect of a message -- massive refugee flowing into the borders? >> there were a number of afghanistan -- afghani immigrants living there. there were doing menial jobs in iran. rankly, kind of like the u.s. experience with their southern border. just as we have it hard here, it's hard to stop determine people looking for work in a richer country. so too, there will be afghans who will want to come into iran even though there is vicious this coming nation against the
afghan immigrants living there. -- this coming nation -- disc rimination. willie add security to iran to give security at their seven border? i don't think so. it may also cross into turkey which is what we see them constructing a order barrier to stop that. again, good luck. there is a large afghan community in each of iran's major cities with which these afghans can find relatives, help them get jobs, and iranians are very much used to employing afghans for all the jobs they don't want to fill. by the way, the unemployment rate in iran has been dropping in recent years. the number of people turning 22 in iran is less than half of what was 10 years ago because a birthing of the iranian
experience. there will be iranian employers looking for afghans to hire. >> i'm hearing you say they're unlikely to put up a 20 foot high fence to do everything they can to prevent the flow of effigies into the country? >> they may put up a fence and may also cut holes in it. >> let me ask you a question, erin. it draws on your earlier comment regarding isis, al qaeda competition and the taliban confrontations referred to. if we see al qaeda having a more hospitable home in afghanistan, are we likely to see renewed efforts by isis to have more of a territorial and series of
headline events that underscore the competition they will receive from al qaeda? will we see in isis-al qaeda tick for tat in which we and our partners and friends will suffer? >> it is a possibility. we have seen outfitting of groups in the past and there been cases of this in the molly region and yemen 28 lesser extent. --mali region and yemen to a lesser extent. it has a low boiling insurgency in both of those countries sense. one of the areas that have been attempting to export the most of sub-saharan africa. whether it is in nigeria or mali
, or even down south in the congo and mozambique. they been keeping out of the big headline since most people are not thing attention to this countries the same way it might with those that are well-known or closer to one's homes. isis will have a difficult time taking over afghanistan because of the fact that the tele-bent does not want to see it happening. it is the weird dynamic you see but hamas and isis in gaza where obviously, they have a certain level of ideology and are anti-israel and the like, but they see isis as a threat to their own power base. the same way the taliban views isis that way. part of that is also because of their own ideological views. as alluded to patrick before, at least thus far, telemann has protected these assure celebrations and put out a
statement that mosques and shrines should be protected which will be a key ideological problem for isis. i wouldn't be surprised if they tried to do attacks against shiites in afghanistan but create tensions against the taliban and iran which could be beneficial to isis because any chaos or vacuum is good for the islamic state in many respects. if you look at the external operations at least with isis, it is mainly been done with iraq or syria or libya, not these more external outer line provinces, that's what they call them, from the court -- core territories.
they have all these places where they actually-controlled territory. >> thank you. katie, i want to come back to one of the comments he made at the open of your presentation on what the u.s. can do with local partners, especially in the middle east to address there can -- sick -- their security concerns because many of our partners will be wobbly about the strength of america's fundamental security commitment. on the one hand, are there warning signs that washington should look out for for our local partners hedging their bets on the relationships with the u.s.? secondly, are there any specifics that the united states should be doing individually and collectively with arab states in
the gulf, israel, with them together and other states in the region that would be a sign of reassurance at this moment? >> as i stated, i am a big believer in signs of reinsurance -- reassurance that are not just platitudes of talking to our partners and learning what their security challenges are and helping them address them. we do have extremely robust security relationships other than iran and syria with most countries in the regions. as events unfold in afghanistan to the extent that regional partners award about the rise of isis or in that territory or what a refugee crisis might do for instability. we got partners across the range of u.s. tools, i don't want to
highlight just the security footprint because there is usaid programs, other diplomatic programs. you said what are warning signs we should look for? the statement for years and concern with our gulf partners is that they are looking for alternative patrons, particularly russia or china -- >> >> not canada? >> or russia providing advance acuity capabilities or with respect to china potentially, actually seeking to have a greater footprint in the region. whether that be basic or otherwise that we have seen. the rise of cooperation or arrangements with china poses a particular challenge not only to
our ability to influence the region but also from a technical standpoint, with our programs we see this for example, with turkey. we just simply cannot provide our s-35 and most advanced gender -- fighter if they also have russian-made s-400. the more we can be clear with our partners on where our red lines are with their potential outreach to russia and china for these systems, the easier it will be for us to show them that we are in fact the security partner of choice. whatever is happening in afghanistan, it is important to really highlight the extent of our programs across the regions. the billions of dollars over generations that the u.s. taxpayers have provided to our partners in the region.
a comes not just the $but actually, relationships built across the security sector across decades. our art news, whether they be your demings or israeli or in bahrain, and the years we spent with the uae in saudi arabia to address their security concerns and advance their security forces, that is not something -- i think we have a lot of continued goodwill we should focus on advancing. i can't sit here or i am an necessarily know what in afghanistan is more of a concern to each of these countries in terms of the potential ramifications. i think each of them have their own unique vantage point in concerns and if we can develop, again, there are so many things we do in terms of joint programs where they get the benefit of technological advancement that can help the challenges in those
countries but also help the u.s. interest as well. a good example is our efforts with israel on this technology. our program to find those tunnels and figure out how to destroy them has been important for their security but the technological advancement of that program can be used in our technological systems to help our security as well. advancing these partnerships, every day, we can learn and really listening to our partners on what is a concern today and not just to the invents -- events that are unfolding. >> patrick, a question for you that has come in based on an earlier comment you made. i think you said the 16 cars of support on a train that the
iranians gave to the northern alliance years ago. we have seen on the pages of the washington post. we have seen statements and actions in parts of afghanistan that are in opposition to the taliban has begun to coalesce once again. having gone to the last 20 years and seen the americans come and go, how do you think iranians will react to a reconstituted northern alliance? are they likely to be a patron or will they will be in with the victors in kabul? >> what we have seen is all use the phrase that u.s. officials in iraq like to use: they place bets on every horse on the -- in the race. after the u.s. chased a lot of al qaeda leaders into iran 2003,
one of the officials evolved in negotiations with the iranians of getting those people rendered to the u.s., we got most of them but we will keep some. that is the result of the approach of helping al qaeda and iraq. they were both helping them and the iraqi forces. i would assume that the attitude of the iranians would be to seek simultaneously good relationships with the taliban and also work with who is personal. there is a wonderful report from the think tank before the september 11 attacks which was describing how the uranian government but a lot of efforts in building up the northern
alliance at the same time, the fire -- force in iran was putting in a lot of effort to helping the taliban. the normal approach of the iranians will work with everyone. that is what i assume they will do this time. i see no indication based on my indic -- speculation. >> well, i think we have exhausted the questions i have received. three of you have offered very insightful remarks. i think it is good to go out on a high note so with that, i will thank you all. all of my esteemed guests, thank you for joining us with your observations. i urge all of our viewers to go to the website of the washington institute. you can view the written
analysis by our colleagues on various aspects on the implications of the american withdrawal and the taliban victory. thank you for joining us at the washington institute. i buy. -- bye-bye. >> we are funded by these television companies and more including medco. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] --midco. >> they support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> next, a look into the national flood insurance program which is scheduled to expire at the end of september.
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