CIA Looking for New Bases as the US Leaves Afghanistan
The departure of the US military from Afghanistan is also causing problems for the CIA. The spy service is forced to leave bases there and is diligently looking for new ways to gather intelligence and conduct operations, writes The New York Times.
The arduous search for a new base illustrates that the US does not have a long-term plan for Afghanistan, where it has spent huge amounts of money fighting the Taliban over the past 20 years. According to insiders, intelligence services fear that the Muslim extremists could overrun Kabul’s capital within a few years.
The Americans are trying to secure bases in neighbouring countries at the last minute. Diplomats are looking at whether this is feasible in former Soviet states, but Russia is probably not interested in that. Talks are also underway with Pakistan, where the CIA has historically been able to use a base to launch large-scale drone strikes.
However, a return to Pakistan is difficult. The Pakistanis have put a list of demands on the table and demand, among other things, that the US actually request permission before carrying out attacks, sources said. There is also strong resistance among the Pakistani population to a new American presence, and the Pakistani authorities themselves have links with the Taliban.
The Afghans have a lot at stake. Analysts say it is highly questionable whether the Afghan military can survive without US aid. Afghan troops have suffered heavy casualties in recent years, and the US military’s departure is seen as a psychological blow. The Pentagon would not have been able to come up with a credible plan to continue providing sufficient support to Afghans from a distance.