Haines warns countries other than Afghanistan pose greater terrorist threat

Afghanistan is not the most pressing terrorist threat to the United States, even after the Taliban takeover, the top intelligence offici...


Afghanistan is not the most pressing terrorist threat to the United States, even after the Taliban takeover, the top intelligence official in the Biden administration said on Monday.

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the collapse of the US-backed government created challenges for intelligence gathering in the country, said Avril D. Haines, director of national intelligence. But she added that Afghanistan is not the main global terrorist threat the United States faces.

“When it comes to the homeland, the current threat from terrorist groups, we are not prioritizing Afghanistan at the top of the list,” she said. “What we’re looking at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. And this is where we see the greatest threat.

Yemen is the base of an offshoot of Al Qaeda that attempted to attack the United States. Somalia has Al Shabab, a terrorist group that regularly attacks neighboring Kenya. Although diminished, the Islamic State still operates in Syria and has stepped up attacks in Iraq.

Long before the withdrawal from Afghanistan, officials in the Biden administration said parts of the Middle East and Africa were more urgent terrorist threats than Afghanistan, although they made the argument. before a rapid collapse of the Afghan government. Since the Taliban takeover last month, military officials have said that Al Qaeda may be able to rebuild its presence in Afghanistan faster than expected.

Intelligence officials said the most immediate threat in Afghanistan came from the Islamic State affiliate in the country, which carried out the suicide bombing that killed dozens of Afghans and 13 US servicemen on August 26.

Although Ms Haines offered no assessment of groups operating inside Afghanistan, she said one of the main objectives of the agencies she oversees is to monitor “any possible reconstitution of terrorist organizations.” .

Speaking by video conference at the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit, Haines acknowledged that without US troops on the ground, intelligence gathering in Afghanistan would be diminished.

“This is something that we have to prepare for and that we have been preparing for, frankly, for some time,” she said.

Intelligence agencies have remained largely silent on how they intend to collect information, although current and former officials have said they will work with the Afghans who are supporters of the United States who remain in the country and will continue to intercept them. communications.

Overall, the threat of a foreign-sponsored terrorist attack in the United States has diminished in recent years, she said. But even though they cannot easily carry out attacks from abroad, terrorist groups continue to ideologically inspire local violent extremism, she said.

“This is something that we also monitor and thwart so that we can really try to reduce the hatred and vitriol, frankly, on which terrorism is based and the tragic consequences it has for our society,” he said. she declared.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Haines warns countries other than Afghanistan pose greater terrorist threat
Haines warns countries other than Afghanistan pose greater terrorist threat
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