Amid Afghan Chaos, a C.I.A. Mission That Will Persist for Decades

The C.I.A.’s new mission will be narrower, a senior intelligence formal mentioned. It no will extended have to assist defend 1000’s of troops and diplomats and will aim as a substitute on searching terrorist groups that can attack past Afghanistan’s borders. But the immediate American exit devastated the agency’s networks, and spies will most most likely have to rebuild them and control sources from abroad, according to existing and previous officers.

The United States will also have to offer with troublesome companions like Pakistan, whose unmatched ability to perform the two sides of a fight discouraged generations of American leaders.

William J. Burns, the agency’s director, has stated that it is all set to obtain intelligence and carry out functions from afar, or “over the horizon,” but he told lawmakers in the spring that operatives’ skill to acquire intelligence and act on threats will erode. “That’s simply a simple fact,” said Mr. Burns, who traveled to Kabul this 7 days for magic formula talks with the Taliban.

Difficulties for the C.I.A. lie forward in Afghanistan, the senior intelligence formal acknowledged, whilst incorporating that the company was not commencing from scratch. It had very long predicted the collapse of the Afghan governing administration and a Taliban victory, and because at the very least July had warned that they could appear faster than expected.

In the times after the Sept. 11 attacks, C.I.A. officers had been the initially to meet up with with Afghan militia fighters. The company went on to notch successes in Afghanistan, ruthlessly hunting and killing Qaeda operatives, its key mission in the country immediately after Sept. 11.

It developed a large community of informants who fulfilled their company handlers in Afghanistan, then utilised the information to carry out drone strikes in opposition to suspected terrorists. The company prevented Al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a foundation to mount a massive-scale assault against the United States as it had on Sept. 11.

But that chapter arrived with a expense in the two lifetime and popularity. At the very least 19 staff have been killed in Afghanistan — a dying toll eclipsed only by the agency’s losses throughout the Vietnam War. Various company paramilitary operatives would later die battling the Islamic State, a indication of how far afield the unique mission had strayed. The last C.I.A. operative to die in Afghanistan was a previous elite reconnaissance Marine, killed in a firefight in May well 2019, a grim bookend to the conflict.