- ISIS could attack Western interests from Afghanistan within months, top US generals say.
- General Michael Kurilla has warned that the Afghan branch of the terrorist group may launch attacks outside the country.
- Its “ultimate goal” is to attack the mainland United States, Kurilla told lawmakers, but that will be difficult.
The Afghan branch of Islamic State will be able to attack Western interests in Europe and Asia in just six months, warns top US generals.
ISIS-K, formally known as the Islamic State-Khorasan, is the Afghan branch of the notorious terrorist group, which since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal in August 2021 and subsequent seizure of Afghanistan has carried out attacks across the country. has claimed responsibility for several high-profile and deadly attacks. Power by the enemy Taliban.
The commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), General Michael Kurilla, told lawmakers on Thursday that militant groups operating in Afghanistan see an “opportunity” under the Taliban’s weak hold on security. Specifically, he said ISIS-K has become stronger and is doing more to organize attacks within and outside the region, with “the ultimate goal of attacking the mainland United States.” said.
ISIS-K “is capable of carrying out foreign operations against U.S. or Western interests abroad within six months with little or no warning,” Kurilla said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. and later clarified that this meant Europe or Asia… “It’s much more difficult for them to do that to their homeland.”
When asked by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton about the possibility of a terrorist attack against the United States or its allies, Kurilla said this was more likely abroad than in the mainland United States.
Kurilla also added that the U.S. military is stepping up its intelligence efforts to gain access to certain networks, and that additional munitions are also needed. He told parliamentarians he could only give details of airstrikes against ISIS-K targets in classified environments.
ISIS-K, which first became known in the region in 2015, has fought the Taliban for years and has also clashed with US, Afghan and Pakistani security forces. The terrorist group launched dozens of attacks in the months leading up to the fall of the Afghan government in August 2021, and carried out a devastating suicide bombing at Kabul airport in the final days of the US withdrawal, killing at least 169 people. of Afghans and his 13 victims. U.S. Forces.
President Joe Biden promised US would retaliate, State Department later Said It has pledged to use a “complete set of counter-terrorism tools” to combat ISIS-K. murdered people
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent refusal to recognize the Taliban limited its options to counter ISIS-K. Officials in the Biden administration have backed a cross-horizon targeting strategy that uses surveillance systems to locate terrorist group leaders and strike them with drones, but so far, that’s what ISIS is doing. There is little published evidence that it works to limit -K.
Meanwhile, US forces also target ISIS assets, leaders, and fighters in countries such as Somalia, Iraq, and Syria. In her two latter countries, the US and partner forces have carried out nearly 100 of her operations against terrorist groups since its inception in 2023, according to CENTCOM. fact sheet.
“The United States remains committed to ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS in order to maintain regional security and stability,” said Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane, commander of the Joint Joint Task Force. Maj. Gen. McFarlane said earlier this year,