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Afghan National Army members keep watch after U.S. forces left Bagram Air Base in the north of Kabul on July 5. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Taliban captured Bagram Air Base on Sunday and released thousands of prisoners, including many senior al Qaeda operatives.

Why it matters: The prisoners were some of the Taliban's most hardened fighters and could pose a threat not only to Afghan citizens but to American security interests.

State of play: U.S. forces handed control of the airfield to Afghan government forces in early July.

  • Estimates suggest that from 5,000 to 7,000 prisoners were left behind following the U.S. withdrawal, per CNN.

The big picture: The prison, Pul-e-Charkhi, is the largest in Afghanistan and contained a maximum-security cell block for al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners.

  • Afghan government troops surrendered control of the base, located on the outskirts of Kabul, to the Taliban without a fight.

The big picture: U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told senators Sunday that a previous assessment of how soon terrorist groups will likely reconstitute in Afghanistan will speed up because of what's happening there now, three sources on the phone call told Axios.

  • On the phone call between top Biden officials and senators from both parties, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Milley whether, in light of recent events, they will revise an assessment to Congress in June of a "medium" risk of terrorist groups reconstituting in Afghanistan within two years.
  • Milley responded "yes" — that he would have to assume that timeline would get moved up and that he would be happy to brief senators in a classified setting.

Go deeper: Scoop: Joint Chiefs chairman moves up terrorist threat in Afghanistan.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 23, 2021 - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Oct 24, 2021 - World

First look: Jill Biden’s troops trip

First lady Jill Biden speaks last week at the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden on Monday will visit the military base that's home to pilots and aircrews who helped conduct the airlift out of Kabul to thank the service members and their families for their support in ending the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: When she stops at the crews' home at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina, the first lady will be their most high-profile member from the Biden administration since the airlift ended on Aug. 31.

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.