The head of U.S. Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, has issued a terrifying warning: ISIS-K, the Afghanistan-based terrorist group that took credit for the 2021 Kabul airport attack that killed 13 U.S. soldiers and 170-Afghan civilians during Biden’s shameful withdrawal from the war-torn nation, could launch an attack “against U.S. or Western interests abroad” within six months.
Speaking on Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) asked the General, “How long would it take ISIS-K to generate the capability to conduct external operations?”
“Specifically ISIS-Khorasan, Senator? It is my commanders’ estimate that they can do an external operation against U.S. or Western interests abroad in under six months with little-to-no warning,” Kurilla replied. “In a classified [hearing], I will talk about why I make that assessment. It is much harder for them to be able to do that against the homeland.”
The general said he is seeking more “over-the-horizon” funding to combat that threat.
In his “Statement for the Record,” Kurilla said, “Extremist groups see opportunity and ISIS-Khorasan grows emboldened amidst the chaos, seeking to expand its ranks and inspire, enable, or direct attacks in the region and beyond. ISIS-Khorasan is building a capability in Afghanistan from which to strike Western interests worldwide, with the ultimate goal of a strike on the American homeland.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) picked up on the line of questioning, asking, “If you asses six months against Europe or Asia what would you asses would be the timeline against the homeland?”
“I think it’s hard to put a timeline on that,” Kurilla replied. ‘”I think it is a higher probability overseas than it is in the homeland.”
“When you add up all the troops you have in your area of responsibility and American citizens who are there for business or tourism or pilgrimages on any given day, what are we talking about?” asked Cotton. “Probably hundreds of thousands, right?”
“At least,” Kurilla said.
In his statement, Kurilla blamed a reduction in resources for hampering the U.S. campaign against terrorists.
“In Afghanistan, the reduction in collection, analytical resources, and Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance assets means our campaign against Al Qaeda and ISIS Khorasan is challenged,” he said. “While we can see the broad contours of attack planning, we lack the granularity to see the complete threat picture.”
“ISIS-Khorasan has increased attacks in the region and desires to export those attacks beyond Afghanistan to include the US homeland and our interests abroad,” he warned. “The group also seeks to expand its operational presence and influence regionally and beyond.”
Earlier this month, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier echoed Kurilla’s concerns.
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier: "It's a matter of time before [ISIS-K] may have the ability and intent to attack the West."pic.twitter.com/fK0x67YSk5
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“From our perspective at the Defense Intelligence Agency, certainly our reach and grasp into that nation since the fall of the government has eroded over time,” he said of Afghanistan.
While Al Qaeda remains a threat, ISIS-K is more worrisome, according to Berrier.
“I would say that ISIS-K poses a bit of a larger threat, but they are under attack from the Taliban regime right now,” he explained. “It’s a matter of time before they may have the ability and intent to actually attack the West at this point.”
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