Salient Features of the ‘New’ US War in Afghanistan

The new blueprint of US plan to fight the Afghanistan War. Will it work?

  • The CIA is expanding its covert operations in Afghanistan, sending small teams of highly experienced officers and contractors alongside Afghan forces to hunt/kill Taliban militants across the country.
  • CIA has traditionally been resistant to an open-ended campaign against the Taliban, believing it was a waste of the agency’s time and money and would put officers at a greater risk as they embark more frequently on missions.
  • CIA’s paramilitary division, which is taking on the assignment, numbers only in hundreds and is deployed all over the world. In Afghanistan, the fight against the ISIS has also diverted CIA assets.
  • Expansion reflects the CIA’s assertive role under its new director, Mike Pompeo, to combat insurgents around the world. The agency is already poised to broaden its program of covert drone strikes into Afghanistan. “We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” Mr. Pompeo said at a security conference this month.
  • CIA’s expanded role will augment missions carried out by military units, meaning more of the US’ combatant role in Afghanistan will be hidden from the public view.
  • New effort will be led by small units known as counter-terrorism pursuit teams. They are managed by CIA paramilitary officers from the agency’s Special Activities Division and operatives from the NDS, Afghanistan’s intelligence arm, and include elite American troops from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Majority of forces, however, are Afghan militia members.

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