The Biden administration's bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan decimated the U.S. military's capability to gather key intelligence and information on terrorist activities, a U.S. intelligence official confirmed to Congress on Thursday.
"We certainly—the intelligence community has been clear about the fact that we are not able to collect as much information today as we were obviously when the troops were in Afghanistan," Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in a Senate hearing, confirming reports that the United States no longer maintains eyes on the ground following the hurried evacuation that left 13 soldiers dead and the Taliban in power.
Sen. Deb Fischer (R., Neb.) said the intelligence gaps are more catastrophic than the Biden administration will admit. "It's my understanding," Fischer said, that counterterrorism "operations are basically nil. We are looking at hardly anybody on the ground to be able to help."
Haines told Fischer that intelligence operations are "definitely, as you indicated, degraded from what we had previously," but she said further details on the shortcomings would have to be discussed in a classified setting.
Haines's admission is the clearest confirmation to date by U.S. intelligence leaders that Afghanistan has reemerged as a central breeding ground for terrorism, particularly for ISIS-K. The terror group has established a large presence in the war-torn country, which is now controlled by the Taliban, and is now believed to be capable of orchestrating terror strikes on the American homeland.