US Spy Chief Admits Greater Terror Threats Emerging in Yemen, Syria & Iraq Than Afghanistan
02:49 GMT 14.09.2021 (Updated: 13:24 GMT 06.08.2022)
Amid the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, politicos and insiders have warned that the rapid pullout could set the stage for the resurgence of terrorist groups in the war-torn nation. Some anticipate a return of al-Qaeda* could unfold soon.
The greatest terror threats to the US are now emerging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Somalia - not Afghanistan, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has revealed.
The revelation emerged Monday during the annual Intelligence and National Security Summit, which kicked off in the Washington suburbs and is expected to come to a close on Tuesday.
Although US intelligence officials are keeping close tabs on the developments unfolding in war-torn Afghanistan, Haines admitted during the event that greater terror threats are actually emerging in countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
"In terms of the homeland, the threat right now from terrorist groups, we don’t prioritize at the top of the list Afghanistan," Haines told event attendees. "What we look at is Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq for [Daesh]. And that’s where we see the greatest threat."
It was during the Kabul exit that 13 US soldiers were killed by a suicide bombing that was later claimed by Daesh-K, an off-shoot group of the Daesh militant group.
Haines later followed up her remarks by underscoring during the speaking event that intelligence agencies are still placing a "big focus" on the potential resurgence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
"Our intelligence collection is diminished [in Afghanistan] and that is something that we have to prepare for and that we have been preparing for, frankly, quite some time," she added, acknowledging that the troop withdrawal and swift takeover by the Taliban* has made counterterrorism operations somewhat more challenging.
Turning the attention to domestic terrorism as well, Haines further indicated that such matters are a "growing and concerning threat" for officials.
Haines' comments come on the heels of remarks from top US Gen. Mark Milley, who recently warned that a "likely" civil war in Afghanistan could lead to the "reconstitution of al-Qaeda." Sounding off alarms, Milley speculated that such infighting in the region could unfold "within 12, 24, 36 months."
*The Taliban and al-Qaeda are terrorist organizations banned in Russia and many other states.