Washington DC [US], July 23 (ANI): CIA Director William Burns has said the US is inspecting the possibility of forward-deploying China specialists in a bid to compete effectively with Beijing.
In a wide-ranging interview with NPR, Burns said, "...I am exploring right now, to forward-deploy China specialists - whether it is operations officers, analysts, technologists as well - to make us more effective in that competition, in that rivalry in the field as well."
Burns said the US is no longer the "only big kid" on the geopolitical block, especially with the rise of China.
He added that China is the biggest geopolitical challenge to the US in the 21st century, and that the technology sector is the biggest area of competition between the two countries.
Speaking on the US drawdown from Afghanistan, Burns said he is troubled by the advances the Taliban movement is making in Afghanistan. "Well, the trend lines that all of us see today are certainly troubling. The Taliban are making significant military advances; they are probably in the strongest military position that they have been in since 2001," Burns said.
The United States will retain significant capabilities in and around Afghanistan to gather information on terror groups, the CIA Director stressed.
Meanwhile, on the topic of Russia, the CIA Director said the former cold war rival could be behind the "Havana syndrome" affecting the health of US diplomats in Cuba. However, he added that there are no definitive conclusions and various possibilities.
Havana Syndrome is a series of unexplained medical symptoms first experienced by State Department personnel stationed in Cuba beginning in late 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported. Since then, diplomats and other officials stationed around the world have experienced similar symptoms.
Burns said that Russia "Could be, but I honestly cannot - I do not want to suggest until we can draw some more definitive conclusions who it might be. But there are a number of possibilities."
Similar accusations against Russia have emerged in American media outlets from in the past, with Moscow repeatedly denying them, Sputnik reported. (ANI)