William Burns, CIA director has reportedly made an unannounced visit to Kabul, associated press reported on Saturday.
Two credible sources confirmed Burns’ visit to Kabul to AP news but officials in the states declined to comment on the matter.
Burns had a quiet visit to Kabul last weekend, but sources to associated gave no further details about whom Burns met but some discussions were made on Afghanistan’s capability after the US withdrawal.
Associated Press reported that Burns reassured of continuous assistance with Afghanistan in regards to counter-terrorism efforts.
Amid mounting concerns over Afghan security forces’ abilities to fight Taliban, a former security official told AFP that the government security forces will not be able to halt Taliban expansion or battle terrorist groups without direct support from US and NATO forces.
The former official believes coutner-terrorism capability will be weakened after the US and NATO troops withdrawal.
CIA had been training an Afghan special forces team known as Counter Terrorism Pursuit Teams and are located in Kunar, Paktia, Kandahar, Kabul, Khost, and Nangarhar provinces, according to AP news.
The officials said that the plans are to gradually hand over the team to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), “So far, the Kunar and Paktia units have been transferred to Afghan control”, AP news reported.
The CTPT teams are among the fierce units and were implicated in extra-judicial killings, AP report indicates that the former head of Afghan intelligence chief, Masoom Stanikzai was forced to resign following the summary execution of four brothers.
According to an AP report, one of the teams in Khost province was accused of shooting civilians in a counterterrorism operation, US also criticized the tactics of this team blaming them for rising in civilian casualties.
The former security official also indicated that without US forces, technical intelligence gathering will be weakened, currently, the greatest achievements in fighting terrorism and narcotics trade come from U.S intelligence gathering.
Meanwhile, David Barret, a professor at Villanova University told AP news that US withdrawal from Afghanistan will reduce the amount of intelligence gathered but the country is capable of monitoring electronic communications and other signals with its advanced technology and could militarily intervene if threats are detected to American interests.
“We have amazing capabilities for knowing what’s happening on the ground, if anyone, anywhere in Afghanistan decides they want to develop any ability to strike the U.S., they would be making a very big mistake”, Barret was quoted by Associated Press.
This comes as John Kirby, spokesman for US Defense Department on Friday said that two B-52 bombers were deployed in Afghanistan to safeguard the withdrawal process from the country.
According to CNN hundreds of Maritime, air, and land forces were approved by the Pentagon to ensure the security of US and NATO forces. The deployed military personnel are also having the responsibility to provide safety to the military contractors.
Kirby indicated that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the extension of the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier’s mission to “remain in the Central Command area of responsibility for a period of time”.
Lloyd also approved the “addition of long-range bombers” to the region aimed at providing safety during the withdrawal.
Both b-52 bombers have arrived in the region, Kirby added, “I think it’s reasonable to assume as I’ve said before that there could be temporary additional force protection measures and enablers that we would require to make sure again that this drawdown goes smoothly and safely,”.
The initial withdrawal steps are aimed at shipping out unneeded equipment and supplies that cannot be destroyed in place or transferred to Afghan forces.
Kirby said obsolete equipment will be destroyed and that personnel will remain in Afghanistan for a few weeks.
He further elaborated that US will retain its ability to defend the forces and provide support to Afghan units.
Several hundred ground troops are expected to be deployed to Afghanistan to assist in the “force protection” mission under Biden’s withdrawal order, 1,000 ground forces are expected to be sent in the region to facilitate the entire process.
CNN reported that there is a specific concern about the safety of troops located in remote regions of Kandahar, Jalalabad, and some special force’s locations in eastern Afghanistan, US will also maintain air support patrols over Afghanistan during the withdrawal process.
Much efforts will be done to withdraw as much as possible from Afghanistan before September 11th a deadline set by President Biden for US troops pull out, CNN reported.