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“We’re going to see a descent back into chaos” in Afghanistan: Rep. Waltz

Conservative Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL) explains why he fears that a full US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will create a power vacuum in Kabul, leading to chaos, destruction, and a national security threat for the US that will eventually require troops to be sent back in. Waltz, a former Green Beret who served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and elsewhere, shares his concerns in a conversation with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. He warns, "One of the things I don't know that everyone realizes is when the military goes, those contractors will go, the CIA, our eyes and ears on the ground will go." The interview on GZERO World airs on US public television starting Friday, April 23. Check local listings.

Watch the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode.

Afghanistan’s next generation: a student shares her perspective on the US withdrawal

Shaista is a 22-year-old university student in Kabul, Afghanistan, and since she was two years old, her country has been occupied by American forces. Although she was fortunate to grow up in a relatively privileged situation with the ability to get an education, she says that nevertheless "the fear of losing my life has always been there." She shares her thoughts on the US troop withdrawal announcement and how worried she is about a Taliban takeover of her country.

Watch the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode.

The case against pulling out of Afghanistan this year

Earlier this month President Biden did what three of his predecessors could not: he announced an unconditional end to the war in Afghanistan after twenty years of American boots on the ground. This week, US Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL), a combat-decorated Green Beret who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, joins GZERO World to explain why he thinks President Biden's announcement will end in catastrophe, for Afghans and Americans alike.

Podcast: Rep. Mike Waltz’s case against ending the war in Afghanistan

Listen: Earlier this month President Biden did what three of his predecessors could not: he announced an unconditional end to the war in Afghanistan. On this edition of the GZERO World Podcast, Mike Waltz, a decorated combat veteran and Republican Congressman, tells Ian Bremmer why he thinks that decision spells disaster. "The next 9/11, the next Pulse Night Club, which is right on the edge of my congressional district, the next San Bernardino, that's now on Biden's watch," says Waltz. "He owns it with this decision."

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"Next 9/11 is on Biden’s watch”: Rep. Mike Waltz on US leaving Afghanistan

Not everyone thinks that President Biden's decision to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan by 9/11/21 is a good idea. Conservative Congressman Mike Waltz (R-FL), a combat-decorated Green Beret with multiple tours in Afghanistan, thinks that the US still needs to maintain a small presence in the country to avoid incurring "massive risks." In a spirited discussion with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, Waltz, who served as counterterrorism advisor in the George W. Bush administration, argues, "The next 9/11, the next Pulse Night Club, which is right on the edge of my congressional district, the next San Bernardino, that's now on Biden's watch. He owns it with this decision." Their conversation is featured in the upcoming episode of GZERO World, which airs on US public television starting Friday, April 23. Check local listings.

What We’re Watching: US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Fukushima wastewater, US stops J&J jab, big rabbit hunt

The end of "forever" in Afghanistan: The Biden administration says it'll withdraw all remaining US troops in Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that prompted Washington to invade the country in the first place. It's unclear how the withdrawal will affect American plans to steer intra-Afghan peace talks in the right direction under the terms of a peace agreement reached by the Trump administration and the Taliban in May 2020. Trump promised to pull out next month as long as the former al-Qaida hosts kept their end of the bargain by not launching deadly attacks (spoiler alert: they have not). Biden's move honors his campaign pledge to end a "forever war" that has claimed more than 2,300 American lives and cost the US Treasury almost $1 trillion since 2001. However, critics fear that a hasty departure could leave the Afghans helpless to prevent the Taliban from returning to power, rendering the entire mission not only expensive, but ultimately pointless.

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China's plans for Afghanistan

Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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What We’re Watching: Facebook refriends Australia, Biden on Afghan fence, Philippine labor for COVID jabs

Facebook "refriends" Australia: Last week, Facebook abruptly blocked news from appearing on Australian users' feeds after Canberra proposed a law requiring Big Tech companies pay news outlets for sharing their content. Facebook came under fire globally for banning news sharing in Australia, including crucial public health announcements on COVID. Now, five days later, Facebook has reversed course to suddenly lift the news ban. "Facebook has re-friended Australia," Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said after speaking with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. So, what changed? The two sides say they have reached a compromise, though some details remain murky. The Australian government will make several amendments to the Big Tech bill — including one that will allow Facebook to circumvent the new code and avoid hefty fines — if the social media platform shows a "significant contribution" to Australia's local journalism scene. In theory, this would require Facebook to prove it has cut enough deals with Aussie media companies to pay them for content — but what constitutes "enough" remains unclear. Frydenberg said Australia has been a "proxy battle" for the rest of the globe on Big Tech regulation. Indeed, Europe and the US have been fastidiously taking notes.

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