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The CIA unhappy US is leaving Afghanistan

Washington’s ability to collect intelligence and act on threats will diminish when U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, CIA Director William Burns said on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement of a pullout by President Joe Biden.

Burns’ testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee underscored a key risk inherent in Biden’s decision to pull remaining U.S. forces out, given the enduring presence of al Qaeda and Islamic State militants in the country.

“When the time comes for the U.S. military to withdraw, the U.S. government’s ability to collect and act on threats will diminish. That’s simply a fact,” he told the committee, adding that the United States would however retain “a suite of capabilities”.

U.S. officials on Tuesday said that Biden on Wednesday would announce that all remaining U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan before Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on the United States that triggered the U.S.-led invasion.

The Biden administration will keep “intelligence and military capabilities” in the region to deal with any emerging threats, though al Qaeda “does not currently possess” the capability for attacks on the U.S. homeland, a senior administration official said.

But Burns’ warning reflected some experts’ concerns that the departure of U.S. forces will leave U.S. intelligence officers with significantly less security, constraining their ability to to collect timely information on the ground.

Source: Reuters

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