Afghanistan is no longer the US’ top concern among international terrorist threats to the American homeland, the nation’s top spy said at an intelligence and national security conference in Washington on Monday, even amid ongoing fears from some critics who argue that the country could become a haven for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al Qaeda to regroup following the US withdrawal. Terror threats emanating from Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — in particular ISIS — pose a greater danger than those that might emerge from Afghanistan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told 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 said, speaking by videoconference. “What we look at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for ISIS. That’s where we see the greatest threat.” Haines acknowledged that intelligence gathering in Afghanistan has been “diminished” without US troops there and without the US-backed government in power in Kabul, but she insisted that the intelligence community has prepared for this reality “for quite some time.”
Officials have said publicly that the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan, ISIS-K, does pose a potential threat to the United States. The group staged a suicide bombing on August 26, in the midst of the American evacuation from Kabul, that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans.
Haines said that a primary focus for the intelligence community now is monitoring “any possible reconstitution of terrorist organizations” in Afghanistan.
Source : CNN Politics