Intelligence chief warns that nations apart from Afghanistan pose a better terror menace.


Afghanistan will not be essentially the most urgent terrorism menace for the USA, even after the takeover by the Taliban, the Biden administration’s high intelligence official mentioned Monday.

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the collapse of the U.S.-backed authorities has created challenges for gathering intelligence within the nation, mentioned Avril D. Haines, the director of nationwide intelligence. However she added mentioned that Afghanistan will not be the highest world terrorism menace dealing with the USA.

“By way of the homeland, the menace proper now from terrorist teams, we don’t prioritize on the high of the listing Afghanistan,” she mentioned. “What we have a look at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. And that’s the place we see the best menace.”

Yemen is the bottom for a Qaeda offshoot that has tried assaults on the USA. Somalia has Al Shabab, a terrorist group which commonly assaults neighboring Kenya. Whereas diminished, the Islamic State nonetheless operates in Syria and has mounted assaults in Iraq.

Lengthy earlier than the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden administration officers mentioned that elements of the Center East and Africa had been extra pressing terrorist threats than Afghanistan, although they made the argument earlier than a swift collapse of the Afghan authorities. Because the Taliban takeover final month, navy officers have mentioned Al Qaeda could possibly rebuild its presence in Afghanistan extra swiftly than beforehand estimated.

Intelligence officers have mentioned essentially the most quick menace in Afghanistan is from the Islamic State’s affiliate within the nation, which carried out the suicide bombing that killed scores of Afghans and 13 American service members on Aug. 26.

Whereas Ms. Haines didn’t supply any evaluation of the teams working inside Afghanistan, she mentioned a giant focus of the companies she oversees is monitoring “any attainable reconstitution of terrorist organizations.”

Talking by videoconference to the annual Intelligence and Nationwide Safety Summit, Ms. Haines acknowledged that with out American troops on the bottom the intelligence assortment in Afghanistan can be diminished.

“That’s one thing that we have now to arrange for and that we have now been getting ready for, frankly, fairly a while,” she mentioned.

The intelligence companies have been largely silent about how they intend to gather info, although present and former officers have mentioned they are going to work with Afghans supporters of the USA that stay within the nation and can proceed to intercept communications.

Total, the specter of a foreign-sponsored terrorist assault in the USA has diminished in recent times, she mentioned. However even when they can not simply conduct assaults from abroad, terrorist teams proceed to have the ability to ideologically encourage homegrown violent extremism, she mentioned.

“That’s one thing that we additionally monitor and counter in order that we will actually attempt to scale back the hatred and vitriol, frankly, that terrorism is predicated on and the tragic penalties that it has for our society,” she mentioned.

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