CIA expands campaign to hunt and kill Taliban in Afghanistan
AVA- This comes as the agency has primarily been focused on defeating al-Qaeda and helping the its Afghan counterparts and training local militias.
It follows a new U.S. strategy announcement under President Donald Trump that calls for more pressure on Taliban militant group.
The New York Times, which cited two senior U.S. officials, said that the new teams are managed by CIA paramilitary officers from the agency’s Special Activities Division and operatives from Afghan spy agency the National Directorate of Security, and include elite U.S. troops.
Earlier, CIA director Mike Pompeo said that the agency must take a proactive role in conducting counterinsurgencies.
“We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” he said at a security conference this month. “This is unforgiving, relentless. You pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.”
He also said that Trump has authorized the agency to “take risks” in its efforts to combat insurgents “as long as they made sense,” with an overall goal “to make the CIA faster and more aggressive.”
Since 2001, CIA has lost its 18 personnel in Afghanistan.
The expanded role comes amid an uptick in violence in Afghanistan, including death of hundreds in militant attacks last week.