Pakistan-based terrorist groups are planning to carry out attacks in both India and Afghanistan, the top US intelligence official has warned while asserting that Islamabad had failed to rein in terrorists.
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats, told members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Pakistan was expanding its nuclear arsenal in pursuing tactical nuclear weapons, potentially lowering the threshold for their use.
Noting that Pakistan has failed to curb militants in its territory, Coats said, “These groups will present a sustained threat to the United States’ interest in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan.”
In South Asia, the intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018 even with a modest increase in military assistance by the United States and its partners, he told the lawmakers.
“This deterioration is undermined by its dire economic situation. Afghanistan will struggle to curb its dependence on external support until it contains the insurgency or reaches a peace agreement with the Taliban,” Coats said.
He said that the US’ assessment was that the Taliban was likely to continue to make gains especially in rural areas.
Afghan Security Forces performance will probably worsen due to a combination of Taliban operations, combat casualties, desertion, poor logistic support and weak leadership, Coats said.
“Pakistan is concerned about international isolation and sees its position of India’s rising international status including India’s expanded foreign outreach and deepening ties to the United States. Pakistan will likely turn to China to offset its isolation, empowering a relationship that will help Beijing to project influence into the Indian Ocean,” Coats said in his testimony.