The rapid Taliban victory in Afghanistan has provided a boost to extremist groups and terror networks and hastened an intelligence vacuum that US officials are now scrambling to fill.
For months, US intelligence agencies had been preparing for what would inevitably be a reduced intelligence gathering operation in the region, given the withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan.
But the sudden collapse of Afghanistan’s government has prompted US intelligence agencies to move some resources to the region from elsewhere, according to two sources familiar with the matter, in an effort to try to make up for capabilities they view as key to detecting plots that could affect the US at home or its interests abroad.
One example is moving predator drones with more endurance into the area to try to mitigate the loss of bases in the country, said one of the sources.
Adding to the complexity, some anti-government and right-wing extremist groups in the US may also be drawing inspiration from the Taliban’s victory, officials say.
“We are assessing what’s the long-term impact on decisions made regarding the repositioning of troops,” one US law enforcement official told CNN.