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CIA starts closing its secret bases in Afghanistan

As part of the American drawdown plans in Afghanistan, the CIA has begun closing its clandestine bases in the war-torn country.

It marks the start of a drawdown from a region that transformed the agency from an intelligence service struggling to emerge from the Cold War to a counterterrorism force with its own prisons, paramilitary teams and armed Predator drones, the Washington Post said in a report.

The pullback represents a turning point for the CIA as it shifts resources to other trouble spots. The closures were described by US officials as preliminary steps in a plan to reduce the number of CIA installations in Afghanistan from a dozen to as few as six over the next two years a consolidation to coincide with the withdrawal of most US military forces from the country by the end of 2014, it said.

Senior US intelligence and administration officials said the reductions are overdue in a region where American espionage efforts are now seen as out of proportion to the threat posed by al-Qaeda’s diminished core leadership in Pakistan.

Officials also stressed the CIA is expected to maintain a significant footprint even after the pullback, with a station in Kabul that will remain among the agency’s largest in the world, as well as a fleet of armed drones that will continue to patrol Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Agencies

Agencies

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