CIA warns of al-Qaeda resurgence in Afghanistan

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Al-Qaeda militants may soon return to Afghanistan after US troops withdraw and the Taliban return to power. “We are already beginning to see some indications of potential movements in the country.” At an intelligence and security summit, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said, just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken was defending withdrawal in his second hearing at the Congress.

General Scott Berrier, who leads US defense intelligence, added that Al-Qaeda could reorganize itself in Afghanistan in just 12-24 months and pose a significant threat to the US. But, according to the men of US intelligence (not just the CIA), an estimate could be revised, even shortening the time. Early this year, the Pentagon sent to the White House and Congress a report on the possibility that al Qaeda could rebuild itself within two years. But for Scott D. Barrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (Dia), the current assessment is probably conservative, and al Qaeda may strike even earlier.

“The Taliban have pledged to prevent terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Isis-K from using Afghanistan as a base for operations that could threaten the United States or our allies,” Blinken said during a hearing in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate -. We will hold them responsible for any attacks. That does not mean that we will rely on them. We will remain vigilant to monitor threats and neutralize them, if necessary, through massive use of resources in the region.

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“The documents drawn up by US intelligence analysts in recent months – especially in the last few weeks, after the triumphal victory of the Taliban – give a much more alarming picture. The possibility that the terrorist organization created by Osama bin Laden, responsible for September 11, 2001, attacks is reorganizing itself in the Afghan mountains and cities is no longer just a hypothesis. It is almost a certainty. According to the CIA documents, the Taliban currently have “a limited ability to control the borders of Afghanistan.”

Even if they have committed in the February 2020 peace agreement with the United States not to let terrorist groups use their country, for analysts, such promises are considered “empty.” Several al Qaeda militants, who found refuge in tribal areas along the border with Pakistan, have already contacted the Taliban. And Osama bin Laden’s former security chief Amin al Haq, who fought with the al Qaeda leader during the battle of Tora Bora in the fall of 2001, was seen in a video returning to the Afghan province Nangarhar, greeted by a small cheering crowd.

For Avril D. Haines, director of National Intelligence, Afghanistan is not the most significant terrorist threat that the United States has to face: “Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, they are all more substantial threats.” An analysis that does not agree with Michael Morell, former director of the CIA (2011-2013) during the Obama years in the White House. For him, President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent takeover of the Taliban have “absolutely inspired jihadists and encouraged terrorists all over the world.” As a result, Al Qaeda will return to Afghanistan, making the region more dangerous than other places on the planet.

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