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Top US spy says Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq represent greater terrorist threat than Afghanistan

Terror threats emanating from Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — particularly ISIS — pose a greater hazard than those who would possibly emerge from Afghanistan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines instructed the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit.

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

Officials have stated publicly that the Islamic State’s department in Afghanistan, ISIS-Okay, does pose a possible threat to the United States. The group staged a suicide bombing on August 26, within the midst of the American evacuation from Kabul, that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans.

Haines stated {that a} major focus for the intelligence neighborhood now’s monitoring “any possible reconstitution of terrorist organizations” in Afghanistan.

ISIS nonetheless operates in Syria and Iraq, though the group has been tamped down by the US navy presence in each international locations. In Yemen, an al Qaeda offshoot based mostly there has tried assaults on the United States. And in Somalia, the US has commonly performed counterterrorism strikes in opposition to Al-Shabaab, which in early 2020 launched an assault on a US facility in Kenya that killed a US soldier and two US contractors.

But 20 years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist assaults, Haines additionally argued that the threat to the US homeland from worldwide terrorist teams has broadly “diminished over time,” crediting “enormous effort” from throughout the US authorities to degrade the power of teams like al Qaeda and ISIS to hold out assaults contained in the United States.

CNN has beforehand reported that it has develop into infinitely more durable for the US intelligence neighborhood and navy to collect info wanted to hold out counterterrorism strikes in opposition to ISIS and different targets inside Afghanistan with out US troops on the bottom.

The Biden administration and navy commanders have insisted that they’ve what the navy phrases “over the horizon” capabilities — the power to conduct surveillance and perform counterterrorism strikes from afar — that they should uncover and forestall terrorist planning in Afghanistan. But former officers, lawmakers and others have raised doubts concerning the administration’s plan, saying they’ve seen few particulars to help it.

Haines stated Monday that the intelligence neighborhood is creating “indicators so that we can understand what are the things that we would be likely to see in the event that there were reconstitution” of terror teams in Afghanistan.

That means guaranteeing that “we have sufficient collection to monitor against those indicators, so that we can provide a warning to the policy community, to the operators, so that they’re able to take action in the event that we do see that,” she stated.



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