"The current assessment" of when al Qaeda may be able "to build some capacity to at least threaten" the United States is "conservatively" between one and two years, said Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, at Tuesday's annual Intelligence and National Security Summit, per The New York Times.
The terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden seems likely to again use Afghanistan as a hub of sorts now that it's ally, the Taliban, is running the country for the first time since 2001. The Taliban has suggested it won't tolerate al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan like it did before (al Qaeda was based in Afghanistan in the lead up to 9/11), but many anlaysts aren't buying that. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself acknowledged the ties between the two have "not been severed." The CIA is already watching closely for "some potential movement of al Qaeda to Afghanistan," David Cohen, the deputy director of the agency said.
Previously at the summit, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said the intelligence community was prioritizing countries like Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria as bases for terrorist groups that may target the U.S., while Afghanistan was not quite at the same point. Tuesday's comments suggest there's a chance for some reshuffling in the next couple of years, however. Read more at The New York Times.