Intelligence chief warns that countries besides Afghanistan pose a greater terror threat.


Afghanistan shouldn’t be essentially the most urgent terrorism risk for the United States, even after the takeover by the Taliban, the Biden administration’s prime intelligence official mentioned Monday.

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the collapse of the U.S.-backed authorities has created challenges for accumulating intelligence within the nation, mentioned Avril D. Haines, the director of nationwide intelligence. But she added mentioned that Afghanistan shouldn’t be the highest international terrorism risk dealing with the United States.

“In terms of the homeland, the threat right now from terrorist groups, we don’t prioritize at the top of the list Afghanistan,” she mentioned. “What we look at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. And that’s where we see the greatest threat.”

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

Long earlier than the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden administration officers mentioned that elements of the Middle 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. Since the Taliban takeover final month, navy officers have mentioned Al Qaeda may be able to rebuild its presence in Afghanistan extra swiftly than beforehand estimated.

Intelligence officers have mentioned essentially the most speedy risk 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.

While Ms. Haines didn’t provide any evaluation of the teams working inside Afghanistan, she mentioned a huge focus of the companies she oversees is monitoring “any possible reconstitution of terrorist organizations.”

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

“That is something that we have to prepare for and that we have been preparing for, frankly, quite some time,” she mentioned.

The intelligence companies have been largely silent about how they intend to gather data, although present and former officers have mentioned they’ll work with Afghans supporters of the United States that stay within the nation and can proceed to intercept communications.

Overall, the specter of a foreign-sponsored terrorist assault within the United States has diminished lately, she mentioned. But 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 something that we also monitor and counter so that we can really try to reduce the hatred and vitriol, frankly, that terrorism is based on and the tragic consequences that it has for our society,” she mentioned.



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