Afghanistan unrest could inspire U.S.-based extremists, security officials warn – National

The potential for a 9/11-type assault has diminished over the past 20 years, however the Taliban victory in Afghanistan may embolden U.S.-based extremists on the similar time that the FBI is confronting rising threats from people motivated by racial and political grievances, prime nationwide safety officers warned Tuesday.

Christine Abizaid, the director of the Nationwide Counterterrorism Heart, testified earlier than the Senate Homeland Safety Committee that the terrorism menace to the nation is much less “acute” than it was 20 years in the past, and that the hazard posed in Afghanistan by teams like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is in the intervening time primarily a regional menace. And FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned that although extremist teams have by no means stopped plotting assaults towards the U.S., the FBI is best positioned to cease them.

Even so, the officers mentioned, the collapse of the Afghanistan authorities and the potential ascendancy of international terror teams there may encourage Westerners to commit acts of violence. That’s on prime of a home terrorism caseload that Wray mentioned has “exploded” because the spring of 2020 from about 1,000 investigations to round 2,700.

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“We’re involved that, with developments in Afghanistan — amongst different issues — that there shall be extra inspiration to the primary bucket,” Wray mentioned of the worldwide terrorism menace. “So I feel we anticipate, sadly, progress in each classes as we glance forward over the following couple of years.”

U.S. officers say they’re monitoring the scenario in Afghanistan following the speedy Taliban blitz, significantly with an eye fixed on how al-Qaida or IS may rebuild to the purpose of having the ability to conduct an assault concentrating on the U.S.

“I feel it’s honest to evaluate that the event of these teams’ exterior operations functionality, we’ve bought to watch and assess whether or not that’s going to occur quicker than we had predicted in any other case,” Abizaid mentioned. “Afghanistan is a really dynamic atmosphere proper now.”

Officers additionally defended the vetting course of they’ve in place to display the backgrounds of Afghanistan refugees searching for entry into the U.S. Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned the variety of refugees denied entry has been minimal as a result of “we’ve not discovered many individuals with derogatory info relative to those that qualify for admission to america by cause of their standing.”

“The (screening) structure that has been constructed over 20 years since 9/11 stays in place and has solely strengthened,” he mentioned. “We now have a screening and vetting structure. We now have higher cooperation amongst the federal companies within the counterterrorism, intelligence and regulation enforcement communities. We stay ever vigilant in that regard.”

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Related Press author Ben Fox contributed to this report.

© 2021 The Canadian Press | Afghanistan unrest may encourage U.S.-based extremists, safety officers warn – Nationwide


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