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Afghanistan to reemerge as major issue for US: Ex-CIA chief

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The Taliban insurgents have made major geopolitical progress in Afghanistan during last year, said the former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the premier spy agency of the United States.

Michael Morell predicted that Afghanistan would re-emerge as a pivotal foreign policy issue during the ongoing year as the militant group has escalated its activities and made progress in the war-torn country.

“I think one big challenge is going to be the reemergence of Afghanistan as an issue,” Morell told CBS’s “Face of the Nation” program on Sunday.

He said, “The Taliban have made major gains over the last year. I would expect major gains going forward. They control more territory than they have in a number of years.”

He furthered that the debate on how much US troops to keep in Afghanistan would take centre stage in Washington.

“I think the debate on how many troops we [the US] keep in Afghanistan is going to reopen,” he said, adding that General Campbell already last week said that the US needs up to 10,000 troops, which is double the number President Barack Obama is currently looking at.

His comments came at a time when insurgency has grown in the country during the past few months. He said measures have been taken to restore peace in the war-devastated country.

In the mid of December last year, Pentagon had issued its reports about the security situation in Afghanistan, stating that the security situations was deteriorated all over the country during the second half of 2015. It furthered that the country had been suffering violence and insurgency from many terrorist networks, including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network and lesser extent al Qaeda.

“The overall security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated with an increase in effective insurgent attacks and higher ANDSF and Taliban casualties,” the report said.

The report also suggested that the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to remain the main hideouts and safe havens of the various terrorist groups.

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