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Afghanistan on verge of political breakdown: US spy chief

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: In a briefing to the United States Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, the Director of National Intelligence said that Afghanistan is on verge of political breakdown in 2016.

In his report and briefing to the Senate panel over threats to the United States, James Clapper also discussed political and security situation of Afghanistan. The US Defense Intelligence Agency Director Vincent Stewart also appeared before the committee.

Clapper, who serves as chief of the seventeen-member US Intelligence Community and intelligence advisor to President Barack Obama, said that the war-hit county was at serious risk of political breakdown this year, adding that security, political and economic challenges were increasing in Afghanistan.

“In South Asia, Afghanistan is at serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016, occasioned by mounting political, economic, and security challenges. Waning political cohesion, increasingly assertive local powerbrokers, financial shortfalls, and sustained countrywide Taliban attacks are eroding stability,” Clapper said as several top American senators expressed their concern over the current situation in Afghanistan.
Vincent Stewart told the Senate committee that the Afghan security forces were still struggling. “In their first full year in the lead, Afghan security forces increasingly conducted independent operations. However, these forces struggled to adapt to a lack of coalition enablers and a high operational tempo, which led to uneven execution of operations,” the US Defense Intelligence Agency Director said.

“As a result, insurgents expanded their influence in rural areas, limiting the extension of government control. The deployment of Afghan specialized units and their enablers will be necessary to continue secure in key population centers,” Stewart said.
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, said that in Afghanistan the security and political environments both remain challenging.
“The Taliban have sought to take advantage of the still maturing Afghan security forces by increasing their operational tempo, especially in rural areas,” he said.

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