Intelligence chief warns that nations in addition to Afghanistan pose a better terror risk.


Afghanistan is just not probably the most urgent terrorism risk for america, 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 amassing intelligence within the nation, mentioned Avril D. Haines, the director of nationwide intelligence. However she added mentioned that Afghanistan is just not the highest international terrorism risk dealing with america.

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

Yemen is the bottom for a Qaeda offshoot that has tried assaults on america. Somalia has Al Shabab, a terrorist group which often 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 made earlier than a swift collapse of the Afghan authorities. For the reason that Taliban takeover final month, army officers have mentioned Al Qaeda could possibly rebuild its presence in Afghanistan extra swiftly than beforehand estimated.

Intelligence officers have mentioned probably the most speedy risk in Afghanistan is from the Islamic State’s affiliate within the nation, which performed 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 an enormous focus of the that the companies she oversees is monitoring “any doable 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 making 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’ll work with Afghans supporters of america that stay within the nation and can proceed to intercept communications.

Total, the specter of a foreign-sponsored terrorist assault in america has diminished in recent times, she mentioned. However even when they can’t 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 are able to actually attempt to scale back the hatred and vitriol, frankly, that terrorism relies on and the tragic penalties that it has for our society,” she mentioned.

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