A top official for the Pentagon delivered testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee where he stated that terrorists groups that are located in the country of Afghanistan could potentially have the capability to attack Western countries and their allies within the next six months.
Colin Kahl, who is the undersecretary of defense for policy, spoke with the committee and stated that the intelligence community has determined that terrorist group ISIS-K could potentially be ready to launch an attack on the West in 6 months to a year.
Kahl also noted that al-Qaeda might be ready for a similar attack in just one to two years. ISIS-K is the acronym for the Islamic State’s branch located in Afghanistan.
“We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months, according to current assessments [from the intelligence community],” Kahl went on to say in his testimony, according to The Wall Street Journal. “And for al Qaeda, it would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability. We have to remain vigilant against that possibility.”
Kahl also told lawmakers on Tuesday that the U.S. could not determine whether the Taliban would be able to counter a threat from ISIS-K.
“It is our assessment that the Taliban and ISIS-K are mortal enemies. So, the Taliban is highly motivated to go after ISIS-K. Their ability to do so, I think, is to be determined,” Kahl continued.
Kahl is not the first Pentagon official to warn of ISIS-K’s rapidly developing capabilities. On September 28, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also told the committee that terror groups in Afghanistan could have the capability to attack the U.S. within one to three years.
“We now must continue to protect the American people from terrorist attacks emanating from Afghanistan,” Milley stated after going on to explain that the Taliban, which took over Afghanistan in August right during President Joe Biden’s failed troop withdrawal, is still a terrorist organization. “A reconstituted Al Qaeda or ISIS with aspirations to attack the United States is a very real possibility and those conditions to include activities in ungoverned spaces could present themselves in the next 12 to 36 months. That mission will be much harder now, but not impossible, and we will continue to protect the American people.”
The folks over at the United Nations say their estimates show there are around 2,000 ISIS-K members in Afghanistan and around 70,000 Taliban fighters.
Kahl’s statements come less than a week after the U.S. State Department admitted that hundreds of Americans are still left in Afghanistan. As The Daily Wire reported, the State Department admitted to congressional staff that 363 Americans were still left in Afghanistan, with 176 actively communicating with the Biden administration in an attempt to get rescued. This number was much higher than previous claims by the Biden administration as to the number of Americans left behind in Afghanistan during the administration’s chaotic withdrawal at the end of August.
That number was submitted to Congress just a few days after a rescue group that is run by U.S. veterans managed to evacuate 374 people from Afghanistan, which included American citizens and foreign nationals. The group, known as the Afghan Rescue Crew, has been highly critical of the troop withdrawal that happened over the summer, along with the Biden administration, and the claims they made concerning how many Americans were actually left behind.