Al-Qaeda could rebuild in Afghanistan in one or two years, say US officials

Al Qaeda could rebuild itself inside Afghanistan within one to two years, senior intelligence officials said Tuesday, noting that some m...


Al Qaeda could rebuild itself inside Afghanistan within one to two years, senior intelligence officials said Tuesday, noting that some members of the terror group had already returned to the country.

Earlier this year, senior Pentagon officials said al Qaeda could recover in two years, then told lawmakers after the Afghan government fell they were revising that schedule.

The new timetable is not a drastic change, but reflects the reality that the Taliban have limited ability to control the borders of Afghanistan. While the Taliban have long fought the Islamic State affiliate, they are established allies of Al Qaeda. Although the Taliban pledged in the February 2020 peace deal with the United States not to allow Afghanistan to be used by terrorist groups, analysts have said such promises ring hollow.

“The current assessment is probably one to two years for Al Qaeda to acquire some capacity to at least threaten the homeland,” Defense Director Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier said Tuesday. Intelligence Agency, at the annual Intelligence and National conference. Security summit.

David S. Cohen, deputy director of the CIA, said the difficult part of the timing issue was when Al Qaeda or the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan would have “the capacity to go and strike. homeland ”before they can be detected. .

The CIA is closely monitoring “certain potential movements of Al Qaeda into Afghanistan,” Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen has not identified any specific members of Al Qaeda who have returned to Afghanistan since the fall of the US-backed government. But Osama bin Laden’s former security chief Amin al Haq, who served with bin Laden in the Battle of Tora Bora, was seen on the video coming back in the Afghan province of Nangarhar last month.

On Monday, speaking at the same conference, Avril D. Haines, director of national intelligence, said Afghanistan was not the greatest terrorist threat to the United States. Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, she said, all pose greater threats.

The CIA will need to increase its reliance on remote intelligence gathering, in so-called operations on the horizon, Cohen said. He added that the agency hoped to do its job – including rebuilding informant networks – closer to Afghanistan. “We will also look for ways to work from the horizon, to the extent possible,” he said.

Intensification of this intelligence gathering in Afghanistan will have to take place, General Berrier said, at the same time as agencies improve their capacity. monitor China and Russia.

“We are thinking about ways to get back to Afghanistan with all kinds of sources,” the general said. But he added: “We have to be careful to balance these very scarce resources with this pivot to China and to Russia. “

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Newsrust - US Top News: Al-Qaeda could rebuild in Afghanistan in one or two years, say US officials
Al-Qaeda could rebuild in Afghanistan in one or two years, say US officials
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