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CIA Director Haspel

CIA Director Visits Afghanistan to Discuss US Intelligence Presence

KABUL – CIA Director Gina Haspel visited Afghanistan this week to discuss a number of issues including maintaining and possibly expanding the US intelligence presence in the country, according to sources familiar with the visit.
Haspel’s visit comes as the Trump administration remains actively engaged in peace talks with the Taliban and just days after three US service members were killed by an improvised explosive device near Bagram Air Base. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Seven US Soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year.
Haspel met with Afghan government officials including President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s intelligence chief, Masoom Stanekzai, according to sources familiar with the visit.
The US intelligence footprint in Afghanistan is intimately tied to the US military presence in the country and US bases there provide protection for that intelligence presence. Maintaining that presence, or expanding it, if the US military does begin to draw down, would require the CIA committing more resources to the country.
It is also a national security priority to collect intelligence on terrorist groups operating in the area, including ISIS’s regional offshoot, especially along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
A CIA spokesperson declined to comment, saying they do not discuss the director’s schedule.
(Sahar News)

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