U.S. Spy Chief Sees Top Terror Risks From Yemen, Iraq—Not Afghanistan
by Chris Strohm
The greatest threat to the U.S. from international terrorists comes from nations such as Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Iraq, with Afghanistan further down the priority list after the two-decade American troop presence ended, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said.
Although U.S. intelligence officials are closely watching whether terrorist groups re-emerge inside Afghanistan, the country is no longer the prime concern when it comes to harboring terrorists who could carry out an attack inside America, Haines said Monday at a national security conference in the Washington suburbs.
“We don’t prioritize -- at the top of the list -- Afghanistan,” Haines said. “What we’re looking at is Yemen and Somalia, Syria and Iraq. That’s where we see the greatest threat.”
Nonetheless, a “big focus” for U.S. intelligence agencies is monitoring the possible reconstruction of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Haines said, conceding that intelligence collection inside the country has been diminished since the American withdrawal. Her comments came as the Biden administration remains under criticism by both Republicans and Democrats for the hasty U.S. withdrawal following the Taliban takeover last month.