CIA Drawing Down in Afghanistan

For years the Central Intelligence Agency has been on the front lines, battling against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.  The agency has been responsible for much of that United States’ drone program, which uses unmanned aircraft to target enemy combatants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

For much of the past decade or more of the agency’s involvement in the region, the president of Afghanistan has been Hamid Karzai.  Now, with the election of a new Afghan president, the agency appears to be dismantling its previous counterterrorism operations in anticipation of leaving the country.

According to published reports, the CIA has begun to end some of the contracts with Afghan militias that were working for them in the country.  Afghan forces will reportedly replace the paramilitaries that were working for the agency, but many believe that these forces are not capable of providing the same level of security as the departing CIA forces.

Experts believe that the resulting security vacuum could be extremely detrimental to U.S. interests and provide those fighting the United States in Afghanistan an opportunity to regroup and go on the offensive as the spring and summer fighting seasons get under way. They expect that the result will be a series of spectacular attacks, and a flurry of smaller clashes as well.

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The United States is currently set to withdraw practically all of its forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.  Though the Obama administration hoped to leave a significant contingent of American forces in Afghanistan past deadline for withdrawal, the lack of an agreement, and the fact that no clear winner has emerged from Afghanistan’s recent presidential elections, means that any eventual agreement could come in several months.  However, considering the fact that United States troops and personnel face an end-of-year deadline, draw down preparations are already underway.