Terror threats remain after US troop withdrawal

The outlook for relations between the United States and the Taliban is still uncertain, one week after the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

The pullout was completed on August 30, when the last US military aircraft departed from Kabul. It marked an end to the 20-year military mission that followed the September 11 terror attacks on the United States in 2001.

As the Taliban prepare to launch a new government, Washington has sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Qatar. The country hosts the Taliban's political office, which serves as an international liaison facility for the group.

People in Afghanistan are reeling from terror attacks and ongoing threats.

On August 26, a suicide bomb attack believed to be carried out by a local affiliate of the Islamic State militant group killed more than 100 people. Al-Qaeda is also active in the country.

US President Joe Biden suggested that the US would continue its efforts to eliminate terrorism in Afghanistan, including flying drones from its outposts in neighboring countries for intelligence gathering and airstrikes.

But Michael Nagata, a retired US Army lieutenant general, says the US now has enormous difficulty in gathering enough useful intelligence in Afghanistan, since it no longer has troops on the ground.

He says that drones or robots cannot replace the role of ground troops in collecting intelligence directly from humans.