As U.S. Withdraws, CIA Director Haspel Visits Afghanistan

Just as the U.S. armed forces are stepping out of Afghanistian, the CIA is stepping in. CIA director Gina Haspel visited the Central Asian country where the U.S. forces have been fighting for 18 years.

Her mission: maintaining or even expanding the U.S. intelligence presence there.

Haspel met with Afghan government officials including President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s intelligence chief, Masoom Stanekzai, according to sources familiar with the visit.

Haspel’s visit shows how hard it is to disengage from U.S. military interventions, even when the president favors it. The same dynamic is at work in Syria, where Trump’s withdrawal order has been modified to exempt a 400 (or is it 1,000) soldier contingent.

As in Syria, the Afghan withdrawal orders have not been fully executed.

… the timeline for the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which Trump repeatedly promised during his presidential campaign, remains unclear. Despite expectations that a drawdown would have begun by now, US contractors for the Defense Department have continued to see their contracts renewed this year.

Why build up the CIA? As CNN dutifully reports.

It’s also a national security priority to collect intelligence on terrorist groups operating in the area, including ISIS’s regional offshoot, especially along the Afghan-Pakistani border

Haspel’s visit is another way of saying, “we don’t intend to leave. “

Source: CIA Director Gina Haspel visits Afghanistan to discuss expanding US intelligence presence – CNNPolitics

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