Islamic State could have the capability to carry out external attacks in six to 12 months, says the Pentagon, just months after the calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
American intelligence believes ISIS-K in Afghanistan has begun plotting terror attacks on foreign soil potentially launching its first in six months.
The reports come just months after the calamitous withdrawal of allied troops from the war-torn country amid warnings it would create a haven for warlords.
The Pentagon’s undersecretary for policy, Colin Kahl on Tuesday told US lawmakers that Islamic State could have the capability to carry out external attacks in six to 12 months.
He described IS-K and the Taliban as “mortal enemies”.
Kahl, who was appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan, added US intelligence believe al Qaeda would take “a year or two,” to “reconstitute their capability”.
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The undersecretary also said it was still “to be determined” whether the Taliban, which is an enemy of IS, has the ability to fight its rival group effectively following the U.S. withdrawal in August.
“The intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and al Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States, but neither currently has the capability to do so,” he said.
“We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months,” he added, saying it could take al Qaeda “a year or two.”
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Kahl spoke as Britain’s Defence Secretary blamed Donald Trump for the collapse of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban.
Ben Wallace told MPs a 2020 deal struck by the Trump administration with the Islamic extremists “couldn’t have been more helpful to the regime in achieving its victory”.
He made the claim as he faced a grilling over the military withdrawal, which sparked an emergency evacuation of western forces and diplomats in the summer.
Wallace told the Defence Committee the US had “sent a message to the world that you don’t have any faith in the government in post”.
“It (the deal) removed from the battlefield the one thing the Taliban feared … the terms of the deal probably could not have been more preferably for the Taliban achieving their victory, their aim,” he said.
He denied that NATO soldiers had been militarily defeated but admitted: “Our resolve was found wanting”.