ISIS could launch an attack on US territory any time, according to statements from Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl Thursday.
Kahl acknowledged that, according to reports from US intelligence, he was not clear whether the Taliban were in a position to fight the Islamic State (IS) effectively after the withdrawal of US forces, and the US could be under attack in just six months.
The senior Pentagon official thus ratified the alert voiced by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, launched at the end of September.
On the same day that the Taliban warned delegates from the United States and the European Union (EU) that economic sanctions against the Afghan government could undermine international security and unleash a wave of economic refugees, Kahl made it clear that ISIS was a manifest enemy of the current Afghan rulers, despite the terror imposed nationwide.
“The intelligence community assesses that both the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) and Al Qaeda intend to carry out foreign operations, including the United States. But none currently has the capacity to do so. Maybe IS-K could achieve that capacity within six to twelve months,” Kahl warned.
The Taliban, enemies of the Islamic State have so far been frustrated in their efforts to impose order in the Asian country after the withdrawal of US troops on August 31.
ISIS actions include several bomb attacks in Kabul, including the double explosion at the capital's airport during the evacuation of Western forces, which resulted in numerous killings. ISIS is also said to be behind various attacks against the Shiite minority as well as the beheading of a member of the Taliban militia in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Our assessment is that the Taliban and ISIS-K are deadly enemies. So the Taliban are very interested in persecuting ISIS-K. Their ability to do so, I think, remains to be determined, Kahl said, while estimating that the Islamic State had a few thousand fighters.
For his part, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the new Taliban government, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has assured Afghanistan will not become a base for attacks on other countries.
Kahl suggested that Al Qaeda in Afghanistan represented a more complex problem, given its ties to the Taliban, which have triggered the US military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. He added that al Qaeda could need one to two years to regain its ability to carry out attacks outside Afghanistan against the United States.
President Joseph Biden has vowed to stay vigilant against threats from Afghanistan through intelligence-gathering operations to identify threats from groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The goal of the United States is to destroy those groups in Afghanistan and eliminate their ability to attack America. We need to be vigilant to prevent that, Biden insisted.
US defense experts have warned that identifying and destroying groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State is extremely difficult without troops in the area. For the time being, the US are using drones to collect data. These are the same drones that killed ten civilians by mistake believing they were attacking an ISIS-K leader last August.