Terror threats emanating from Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — particularly ISIS — pose a greater hazard than people who may 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 mentioned, 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 mentioned publicly that the Islamic State’s department in Afghanistan, ISIS-K, 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 mentioned {that a} main focus for the intelligence group now could be 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 army 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 recurrently carried out counterterrorism strikes towards 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 attacks, 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 flexibility of teams like al Qaeda and ISIS to hold out assaults contained in the United States.

NCS has beforehand reported that it has grow to be infinitely tougher for the US intelligence group and army to collect info wanted to hold out counterterrorism strikes towards ISIS and different targets inside Afghanistan with out US troops on the bottom.

The Biden administration and army commanders have insisted that they’ve what the army phrases “over the horizon” capabilities — the flexibility 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 assist it.

Haines mentioned Monday that the intelligence group 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 making certain 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 mentioned.


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