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In a Shift, CIA Units Now Going After Taliban

Agency takes more aggressive approach in Afghanistan under Pompeo, Trump
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2017 8:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – CIA director Mike Pompeo has talked about the need to be more "aggressive" against militants, and the New York Times reports that his words are turning into reality in Afghanistan. The agency is ramping up its mission against the Taliban in the country, sending out small paramilitary units with Afghan forces to hunt down members of the group. Previously, the CIA focused more on al-Qaeda and in assisting Afghan intelligence services, but the newspaper says the aggressive new turn fits in to President Trump's strategy of eventually bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

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“We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive,” Pompeo said at a security forum earlier this month. “This is unforgiving, relentless. You pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.” Trump himself had previously sounded a similar sentiment, declaring that “the killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of American might and American arms." One particular target of the new units will be Taliban bombmakers. (Meanwhile, the sentencing hearing for Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his US military base only to be taken hostage, begins on Monday.)

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