Home News Amid Afghan Chaos, a C.I.A. Mission That Will Persist for Years

Amid Afghan Chaos, a C.I.A. Mission That Will Persist for Years


The C.I.A.’s new mission will likely be narrower, a senior intelligence official stated. It no will longer have to assist shield hundreds of troops and diplomats and can focus as a substitute on searching terrorist teams that may assault past Afghanistan’s borders. However the fast American exit devastated the company’s networks, and spies will most certainly need to rebuild them and handle sources from overseas, in accordance with present and former officers.

America may even need to take care of troublesome companions like Pakistan, whose unmatched capacity to play either side of a struggle annoyed generations of American leaders.

William J. Burns, the company’s director, has stated that it is able to gather intelligence and conduct operations from afar, or “over the horizon,” however he informed lawmakers within the spring that operatives’ capacity to assemble intelligence and act on threats will erode. “That’s merely a reality,” stated Mr. Burns, who traveled to Kabul this week for secret talks with the Taliban.

Challenges for the C.I.A. lie forward in Afghanistan, the senior intelligence official acknowledged, whereas including that the company was not ranging from scratch. It had lengthy predicted the collapse of the Afghan authorities and a Taliban victory, and since at the very least July had warned that they could come sooner than expected.

Within the days after the Sept. 11 assaults, C.I.A. officers have been the primary to fulfill with Afghan militia fighters. The company went on to notch successes in Afghanistan, ruthlessly searching and killing Qaeda operatives, its main mission within the nation after Sept. 11.

It constructed an unlimited community of informants who met their company handlers in Afghanistan, then used the knowledge to conduct drone strikes towards suspected terrorists. The company prevented Al Qaeda from utilizing Afghanistan as a base to mount a large-scale assault towards the US because it had on Sept. 11.

However that chapter got here with a price in each life and status. A minimum of 19 personnel have been killed in Afghanistan — a demise toll eclipsed solely by the company’s losses throughout the Vietnam Conflict. A number of company paramilitary operatives would later die fighting the Islamic State, an indication of how far afield the unique mission had strayed. The final C.I.A. operative to die in Afghanistan was a former elite reconnaissance Marine, killed in a firefight in Could 2019, a grim bookend to the battle.