The United States fears that al Qaeda -- the terror group founded by Osama Bin Laden -- is surfacing again in Afghanistan.
The US' intelligence agencies are analysing the possible threat that al Qaeda may pose if it gains a stronghold in the region once again. The US' invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks and the 14-year-long war in the country had diminished the presence of the terror outfit, The New York Times reported.
"I do worry about the rebirth of AQ in Afghanistan because of what their target list will be â€” us... It is why we need to worry about the resurgence of the Taliban... because, just like before, the Taliban will give Al Qaeda a safe haven," NYT quoted former deputy director of the CIA, Michael Morell, as saying.
"It is why we need to worry about the resurgence of the Taliban," Mr. Morell said, "because, just like before, the Taliban will give Al Qaeda a safe haven."
The recent development has come to light at a time when the US is actively fighting Isis or the Islamic State in the middle eastern countries. Although most of the upcoming Qaeda camps are not as big as those built when Laden was alive, it has still left the US worried.
Amid growing concerns over the presence of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the US and Afghan commandos attacked the group's training camp in southern Afghanistan and killed at least 200 terrorists.
Four senior administration officials from three different federal agencies said there is a possibility that there are other camps as well, including one in Helmand Province.
General John Francis Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Forcesâ€”Afghanistan, has been warning the US about al Qaeda, NYT reported.
"In 2015, al Qaeda has attempted to rebuild its support networks and planning capabilities with the intention of reconstituting its strike capabilities against the U.S. homeland and Western interests," it had said in its report in October this month.
Campbell had said that only "constant pressure" from the US on the terror outfit will prevent them from fully functioning and "facilitating future attacks".
"Due to our constant pressure, however, al Qaeda activities are now more focused on survival than on planning and facilitating future attacks. It will be critical that, in coordination with our Afghan partners, our comprehensive CT efforts continue to apply pressure against the al Qaeda network in order to prevent its regeneration, and the corresponding threat it represents to our homeland," he said.
However, another American intelligence official said that the terrorists who are moving into southern Afghanistan are members of AQIS whose main target is South Asia, particularly Pakistan.
AQIS is "a regional threat that is currently focusing on plotting attacks in Pakistan and establishing a presence in South Asia. Despite its safe haven, the group has not been seen conducting attacks against Afghan or Western targets in Afghanistan," NYT quoted the official as saying.
The presence of AQIS has also been felt in India recently. Earlier in December, the Delhi Police arrested suspected al Qaeda militant who was recruited for the group's Indian Subcontinent branch. It was reported that he along with an aide had recruited more people from India for training in Waziristan.
AQIS, a faction of al Qaeda, was established in September 2014 to fight against the governments of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.