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Islamic State in Afghanistan could be able to attack US in 6 months, says Pentagon official

The US intelligence neighborhood has assessed that Islamic State in Afghanistan may have the potential to assault the USA in as little as six months, and has the intention to take action, a senior Pentagon official instructed Congress on Tuesday.

The remarks by Colin Kahl, underneath secretary of protection for coverage, are the newest reminder that Afghanistan may nonetheless pose severe nationwide safety issues for the USA even after it ended its two-decade-old struggle in defeat in August.

The Taliban, which received the struggle, are enemies of Islamic State and have seen its makes an attempt to impose regulation and order after the US pullout thwarted by suicide bombings and different assaults claimed by Islamic State. They embrace bombings concentrating on the minority Shi’ite sect and even an Islamic State beheading of a member of a Taliban militia power within the japanese metropolis of Jalalabad.

In testimony earlier than the Senate Armed Companies Committee, Kahl mentioned it was nonetheless unclear whether or not the Taliban has the flexibility to battle Islamic State successfully following the US withdrawal in August. The US fought the Taliban in addition to hanging teams like Islamic State and al Qaeda.

“It’s our evaluation that the Taliban and ISIS-Ok are mortal enemies. So the Taliban is very motivated to go after ISIS-Ok. Their skill to take action, I believe, is to be decided,” Kahl mentioned, utilizing an acronym for Islamic State in Afghanistan. Kahl estimated Islamic State had a “cadre of some thousand” fighters.

Appearing Overseas Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi of the brand new Taliban authorities has mentioned the menace from Islamic State militants will probably be addressed. He additionally mentioned Afghanistan wouldn’t turn out to be a base for assaults on different international locations.

Kahl prompt al Qaeda in Afghanistan posed a extra advanced drawback, given its ties to the Taliban. It was these ties that triggered the US army intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 following al Qaeda’s Sept. 11 assaults on New York and Washington. The Taliban had harboured al Qaeda leaders.

Kahl mentioned it may take al Qaeda “a yr or two” to regenerate the potential to hold out assaults outdoors of Afghanistan towards the USA.

Democratic President Joe Biden, whose supervision of the chaotic finish to the struggle final summer season has broken his approval rankings, has mentioned the USA will proceed to be vigilant towards threats emanating from Afghanistan by finishing up intelligence-gathering operations within the nation that will determine threats from teams like al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Kahl mentioned the aim was to disrupt these teams in order that Islamic State and al Qaeda don’t turn out to be able to hanging the USA. “We should be vigilant in disrupting that,” he mentioned.

Nonetheless, US officers privately warn that figuring out and disrupting teams like al Qaeda and Islamic State is extraordinarily troublesome with none troops within the nation. Drones able to hanging Islamic State and al Qaeda targets are being flown in from the Gulf.

Kahl mentioned the USA didn’t but have any settlement with international locations neighbouring Afghanistan to host troops for counterterrorism efforts.

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