The prompt withdrawal of the United States military from Afghanistan is building intense pressure on the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A) to find new ways to collect intelligence and carry out counter terrorism assaults in the country.
According to a report published in a foreign newspaper, the United States officials are in last-minute efforts to secure bases close to Afghanistan for future operations.
After 20 years of American presence in Afghanistan, the US will soon lose bases in the country from where it has run combat missions and drone strikes while closely monitoring the Taliban and other groups.
Meanwhile, the complexity of the continuing conflict has led to prickly diplomatic negotiations as the military pushes to have all forces out by early to mid-July, well before President Biden’s deadline of September 11, 2021.
The C.I.A’s focus has been Pakistan as the Asian country’s bases were used for years to launch drone strikes against militants in the country’s western mountains, but was kicked out of the facility in 2011 when U.S. relations with Pakistan unravelled.
According to the report, “Some American officials said that negotiations with Pakistan had reached an impasse for now. Others have said the option remains on the table and a deal is possible,” the report said.
The publication said that the rapid withdrawal of US troops has left the CIA seeking ways to maintain its intelligence-gathering, war-fighting and counterterrorism operations in the country.
Meanwhile, in a press briefing at the White House, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that they had constructive discussions through military, intelligence, and diplomatic channels with Pakistan about the future of America’s capabilities to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a base from which terrorist groups can attack the US.
He further said: “But in terms of the specifics of what that will look like, that will have to remain in those private channels as we work through them.”
Sullivan said they are talking to countries about how they build effective, over-the-horizon capacity, both from intelligence and a defence perspective, to be able to suppress the terrorism threat in Afghanistan.
FM Qureshi, in an interview with a local media outlet last night said Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan, but some elements do not want peace in the region.
"We want to see the peace process going forward along with the withdrawal of troops. The world does not consider Pakistan part of the problem anymore," he said.
The foreign minister firmly stated that Pakistan has refused to give military bases to the US, adding that he has told all political parties in a briefing that they have no such intention to do so.
"To search for bases could be their wish. There's no question of giving them bases, we have to keep in mind our interests," he said.