Afghanistan’s withdrawal turns US spies into a war on terror

Washington (AP) —A 20-year war in Afghanistan gives US spies a perch to monitor terrorist groups who may once again use a poor country to plan an attack on their homeland. I did. But that’s over soon.

The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan remains a battle for intelligence agencies for other ways to monitor and stop terrorists. They need to rely more on the technology of the Afghan government and its allies. Even in the face of an increasingly uncertain future after the US and NATO troops have left.

“You may not be blind, but you will be legally blind,” said Mike Waltz, a Florida Republican who served in Afghanistan and Green Bellett. Waltz said in an interview that the U.S. military still believed it could detect the threat, but had to respond with less information from foreign bases and more complex operations.

The withdrawal of Afghanistan was ordered by President Joe Biden.He said it was time to do End America’s longest war After 20 years of conflict, 2,200 US troops and 38,000 Afghan civilians were killed at a cost of $ 1 trillion.

However, the withdrawal entails a lot of uncertainty as the resurrected Taliban occupy the ground and fear the country’s immediate potential. Fall into civil war.. The United States has deployed counter-terrorism forces in the region and is still working on an agreement to evacuate thousands of interpreters and other Afghans who have supported the US war effort.

CIA Secretary William Burns testified in April that al-Qaeda and Islamic State group fighters were still active in Afghanistan and were “continuing to regain their ability to attack US targets.”

“When it’s time for the US military to withdraw, the US government’s ability to collect and act on threats diminishes. That’s just a fact,” Burns said. He added that the CIA and other US agencies “have a set of features” to monitor and stop threats.

scald Made a secret visit Two officials familiar with the visit said they went to Afghanistan in April to reassure Afghanistan officials that the United States would continue to engage in counter-terrorism efforts.

The CIA and the Director of National Intelligence of the State refused to comment on the story.

The CIA has played a role in Afghanistan for over 30 years, dating back to supporting rebels fighting the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989. During the US War, they allegedly went on strike against terrorist targets and trained Afghan fighters in groups. Known as the Counter-Terrorism Tracking Team. These teams are feared by many Afghans and are involved in extrajudicial killings of civilians.

The Associated Press reported in April that the CIA was preparing to take control of these teams in six states to an intelligence agency in Afghanistan known as the National Directorate of Security. According to experts, the closure of posts near the border between Afghanistan and Iran and Pakistan has made it difficult to monitor hostile groups operating in these areas, and the withdrawal of Americans from Afghan institutions. , Can exacerbate the already troublesome corruption problem.

Washington has long struggled to gather information even from its Afghan allies. In the early days of the conflict, the United States was involved in competition, resulting in goals driven by scoring between domestic factions.

Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2017 to 2020, said U.S. officials have been intercepted in some of the lost footprints, especially with the growth of mobile phones, and published online. A network compared to the 1990s that said it could be replaced with information. Afghan troops are against the Taliban, but they can also provide valuable information, Ashley said.

“We should not underestimate their ability to understand their ground truth,” said Ashley, now an assistant senior researcher at the Center for a New American Security. “It’s their nature, it’s their culture, it’s their language.”

Former intelligence officials and experts said the CIA and other agencies had to operate already without military presence in other countries where militant groups threatened Americans.

Colorado Democrat and former Army Ranger Jason Crow, who worked in Afghanistan, said Afghanistan’s human resources are already limited and the United States has surveillance capabilities that were not available 20 years ago.

“It will still be very robust,” Crow said. “If you don’t have boots on the ground, it’s certainly more challenging, but we have the ability and things to make it possible to meet that challenge. It’s a little harder.”

Crow and Waltz are one of a group of bipartisan lawmakers who urged the White House to expedite visa processing. Thousands of interpreters and other Afghans The person who helped the US military. Over 18,000 applications are pending. U.S. officials said the government plans to evacuate later this summer, but has not settled on potential temporary relocations.

Failure to protect Afghans awaiting visas “may have a significant chilling effect on those who work with us in the future,” Waltz said.

Analysts differ in what they expect from the Taliban if it comes to strengthening control of the country. The Director of National Intelligence of the Intelligence said in May that the Taliban’s desire for foreign aid and legitimacy may slightly ease its actions over time, partly due to international attention and a surge in telephone calls. No, “he reported.

However, Colin Clark, director of policy research at the Sufan Group, hoped that the Taliban would continue to contain al-Qaeda, boldly bolded the militants, and faced a regional conflict similar to what happened in Iraq after the withdrawal of the United States. There said he was worried about a possible rebellion.

“Theoretically, I want you to withdraw from Afghanistan and be safe,” he said.


Kabul’s Associated Press author Kathy Gannon contributed to this report.

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