As the United States faces a growing threat posed by domestic extremists, national security officials on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the potential re-establishment of Al Qaeda and an ISIS-K more terrorist group. powerful to launch attacks from Afghanistan after the chaotic exit of US military forces.
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Christine Abizaid, told a Senate panel that evolving threats from Afghanistan are the centre’s “top priority” as terrorist groups attempt to fill the gap. the emptiness of the American withdrawal.
Abizaid joined FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas before the Senate Homeland Security Committee where they were closely questioned about the potential risk posed by Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
“We are concerned about what the future holds,” Wray told lawmakers.
At the same time, Wray said the FBI has been tracking a steady increase in domestic terrorism investigations since 2020, when those investigations have increased from around 1,000 to 2,700 currently. The numbers are driven largely by extremists motivated by racial, ethnic, political and anti-government grievances.
But Wray feared that other local actors were increasingly radicalized by foreign terrorists, including those who settle in Afghanistan.
“It’s intimidating,” said Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah.
Mayorkas under fire from influx of Haitian migrants in Del Rio
Hearing became difficult at times, as Republican members also hammered Mayorkas over the influx of Haitian migrants to the Texas border.
Mayorkas called the gathering of migrants under the international bridge a “human tragedy” which was “extraordinarily difficult to see”.
The secretary said authorities had reduced the number from 15,000 to just under 10,000 by increasing repatriation flights to Haiti and moving others to treatment centers at other locations on the border, describing the wave as “unprecedented”, in number and concentration at a border post.
Republican lawmakers, however, demanded that the administration take responsibility for the “human crisis”.
“Do you bear responsibility for the crisis in Del Rio?” Senator Josh Hawley repeatedly asked the secretary. “Yes or no?
“It is my responsibility to deal with the human tragedy in Del Rio,” Mayorkas replied, adding that the migrants had received “false information” from the traffickers about a new administration sympathetic to migrants.