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A senior Pentagon official testified that the U.S. intelligence community assessed that terrorist groups in Afghanistan could attack the United States in six months, asserting that they have the intention to carry out such an assault.
U.S. Defense Department undersecretary for policy Colin Kahl made the comment on Tuesday, saying it was still “to be determined” whether the Taliban-controlled government forces had the capability to effectively fight the Daesh-K terrorist group after the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan in August.
Kahl said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the security situation in Afghanistan that "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,” using another abbreviation to refer to Daesh.
Kahl added that “we could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months, according to current assessments by the intelligence committee. And for al-Qaeda, it would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability."
He stressed the need to disrupt the two terrorist groups so they would not be capable of striking the United States, stating that, “we have to remain vigilant against that possibility.”
Kahl estimated that Daesh purportedly had a “cadre of a few thousand” terrorists in Afghanistan.
The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Islamic State in Afghanistan could have the capability to attack the United States in as little as six months, and has the intention to do so, a senior Pentagon official told Congress https://t.co/OQvkZJvud3pic.twitter.com/LeUejTPe6w
The United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext that the Taliban were harboring al-Qaeda, and while the invasion removed the Taliban from power, it worsened the security situation in the country.
The US-backed government of Afghanistan rapidly collapsed on August 15 in the face of the lightning advances of the Taliban that followed U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops, with the Taliban announcing the formation of a caretaker government on September 7.
Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recognized that the war in Afghanistan was a “strategic failure” during his first congressional testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee members last September 28.