WASHINGTON – The CIA is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan to hunt and kill Talibans in Afghanistan, according to two senior US officials. The US is sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors to aid Afghan forces to hunt and kill Taliban militants across the country, New York Times reported on Monday.
The agency’s increasingly integral role in Afghanistan, is the latest sign of President Trump’s counter terrorism strategy. This new assignment marks a shift in the role of CIA in the country, where it had primarily been focused on defeating Al-Qaeda and helping Afghan Intelligence Service.
Before this expansion of operations by CIA, the agency had been reluctant to adopt an open-ended campaign against the Taliban, the primary militant group in Afghanistan. The agency officials were of the view that the military, with its vast resources and manpower, is better suited to conduct large-scale operation to counter the insurgencies.
The Afghanistan war is the longest military engagement of US that has lasted 16 years now. President Trump is willing to put every effort to get results from this long war and has given the authority to the CIA to take risky decisions. According to the CIA director, “We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” Mike Pompeo said at a conference this month at the University of Texas, according to the report. “This is unforgiving, relentless. You pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.”