Haines Warns Countries Besides Afghanistan Pose Greater Terror Threat

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Politics|Intelligence main warns that countries too Afghanistan airs a greater panic threat.


Julian E. Barnes

  • Sept. 13, 2021, 3:29 p.m. ET

Afghanistan is not the astir pressing coercion menace for the United States, adjacent aft the takeover by the Taliban, the Biden administration’s apical quality authoritative said Monday.

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the illness of the U.S.-backed authorities has created challenges for collecting quality successful the country, said Avril D. Haines, the manager of nationalist intelligence. But she added said that Afghanistan is not the apical planetary coercion menace facing the United States.

“In presumption of the homeland, the menace close present from violent groups, we don’t prioritize astatine the apical of the database Afghanistan,” she said. “What we look astatine is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. And that’s wherever we spot the top threat.”

Yemen is the basal for a Qaeda offshoot that has attempted attacks connected the United States. Somalia has Al Shabab, a violent radical which regularly attacks neighboring Kenya. While diminished, the Islamic State inactive operates successful Syria and has mounted attacks successful Iraq.

Long earlier the Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden medication officials said that parts of the Middle East and Africa were much urgent violent threats than Afghanistan, though they made the statement made earlier a swift illness of the Afghan government. Since the Taliban takeover past month, subject officials person said Al Qaeda may beryllium capable to rebuild its beingness successful Afghanistan much swiftly than antecedently estimated.

Intelligence officials person said the astir contiguous menace successful Afghanistan is from the Islamic State’s affiliate successful the country, which conducted the termination bombing that killed scores of Afghans and 13 American work members connected Aug. 26.

While Ms. Haines did not connection immoderate appraisal of the groups operating wrong Afghanistan, she said a large absorption of the that the agencies she oversees is monitoring “any imaginable reconstitution of violent organizations.”

Speaking by videoconference to the yearly Intelligence and National Security Summit, Ms. Haines acknowledged that without American troops connected the crushed the quality postulation successful Afghanistan would beryllium diminished.

“That is thing that we person to hole for and that we person been preparing for, frankly, rather immoderate time,” she said.

The quality agencies person been mostly soundless astir however they mean to cod information, though existent and erstwhile officials person said they volition enactment with Afghans supporters of the United States that stay successful the state and volition proceed to intercept communications.

Overall, the menace of a foreign-sponsored violent onslaught successful the United States has diminished successful caller years, she said. But adjacent if they cannot easy behaviour attacks from overseas, violent groups proceed to beryllium capable to ideologically animate homegrown convulsive extremism, she said.

“That’s thing that we besides show and antagonistic truthful that we tin truly effort to trim the hatred and vitriol, frankly, that coercion is based connected and the tragic consequences that it has for our society,” she said.

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