KABUL - The US Central Intelligence Agency is reportedly expanding its covert operations in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The spy agency is set to deploy “highly experienced officers and contractors” in a stated effort to take on Taliban militants, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
“The new effort will be led by small units known as counterterrorism pursuit teams. They are managed by CIA paramilitary officers from the agency’s Special Activities Division and operatives from the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence arm, and include elite American troops from the Joint Special Operations Command,” the report said.
The measure serves as a shift in the CIA’s policy towards Afghanistan, under Director Mike Pompeo, according to two senior US officials.
“We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” the CIA chief said at a security conference at the University of Texas earlier this month. “This is unforgiving, relentless. You pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.”
However CIA new policy may affect Pakistan as most of the operations are likely to be conducted near Pakistan borders and Pakistan needs to watch out for any hot pursuits in Pakistani territory.
Terrorists may flee back to Pakistan and Pakistan needs to further enhance the border security along the Duran Line and also increase the intelligence sharing with US officials so as to avoid any foots on ground.
Pakistan needs to make it very clear to US that no foreign boots on ground would be allowed in any case.
In August, US President Donald Trump vowed to take a harsher stance in the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan.
“The killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms,” said the president at the time. “Retribution will be fast and powerful.”
Shortly after winning the US presidency, Trump made a blatant U-turn from his campaign pledges to end the US occupation of Afghanistan on the pretext of fighting extremist groups.
“The CIA’s expanded role will augment missions carried out by military units, meaning more of the United States’ combat role in Afghanistan will be hidden from public view,” read the Timesreport.
Under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency, the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than 15 years, the foreign troops are still present at the country.
After becoming president in 2008, Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the war -- one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.