United States (US) intelligence agencies have discerned early signs that suggest that militants belonging to the terrorist outfit Al-Qaeda have begun to regroup in the Taliban-led Afghanistan, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Deputy Director David Cohen said on Tuesday, 14 September.
“We are already beginning to see some of the indications of some potential movement of Al Qaeda to Afghanistan,” the CIA official was quoted as saying by WSJ. “But it’s early days and we will obviously keep a very close eye on that,” he added.
Following the US invasion of Afghanistan in order to unseat the Taliban in 2001, forces of the Al-Qaeda, which had once been led by Osama bin Laden, had dispersed under the US's counterterrorism effort.
'Al-Qaeda May Regroup in 1-2 Years': US Intelligence Official
Speaking at an intelligence summit near Washington on Tuesday, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, said that the Al-Qaeda could regroup within 1-2 years.
“The current assessment probably, conservatively, is one to two years for al-Qaeda to build some capability to at least threaten the homeland.”Lieutenant General Scott Berrier as quoted by Bloomberg
CIA Deputy Director Cohen, agreeing with the timeline posited by Berrier, said that the activity by the terror outfit has come under the radar of the intelligence agencies.
'Pakistan Harbouring Taliban, Needs To Line Up': US State Secretary Antony Blinken
"So Pakistan needs to line up with a broad majority of the international community in working toward those ends and in upholding those expectations," he stated at the first public hearing in Congress about the situation in Afghanistan.
Blinken, noting that the US will evaluate its relationship with Pakistan in the coming weeks, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that some of Pakistan's interests have been in conflict with those of the US's:
"It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it's one that's involved harboring members of the Taliban... It is one that's also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism," he observed.
(With inputs from AFP, Bloomberg, and WSJ.)