Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

ISIS in Afghanistan 'aspires to attack US', says senior general

Marine Gen Frank McKenzie said the group are a 'very worrisome' threat to the US

Marine Gen Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie says the ISIS in Afghanistan has hopes of attacking the US homeland. AP
Marine Gen Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie says the ISIS in Afghanistan has hopes of attacking the US homeland. AP

ISIS in Afghanistan has the ambition to attack the United States, a senior US general has said.

Marine Gen Frank McKenzie said on Wednesday that the group are a "very worrisome" threat to the US, AP reported, and that counterterrorism efforts are yet to dampen their aspirations.

Earlier this week, it was reported that ISIS in Afghanistan is expanding its footprint, recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the US and other Western countries.

Gen McKenzie said he believes they have not expanded capabilities but remain a big problem.

"ISIS in Afghanistan certainly has aspirations to attack the United States," Gen McKenzie said. "It is our clear judgment that as long as we maintain pressure on them it will be hard for them to do that."

Gen McKenzie is a veteran of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the head of US Central Command and responsible for managing military operations across the greater Middle East. He was speaking in Germany on his way home from an eight-day trip to Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

Nearly two decades after the US-led invasion, ISIS in Afghanistan is seen as an even greater threat than the Taliban because of its increasingly sophisticated military capabilities and its strategy of targeting civilians, both in Afghanistan and abroad. Concerns run so deep that many have come to see the Taliban, which have also clashed with IS, as a potential partner in containing it.

The Taliban and IS have fought each other on a number of occasions, and the Taliban are still the larger and more imposing force.

Updated: June 13, 2019 11:22 AM

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