The US officials have expressed concerns regarding the attempts by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also known as the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) terrorist group to expand foothold in Afghanistan.
The State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday “It is no secret that we have been long concerned about ISIL’s eyes on Afghanistan and their desires to have a presence there.”
He was responding to a question regarding the latest massacre of dozens of civilians in western Ghor province of Afghanistan, allegedly involving the loyalists of the terror group.
Kirby further added ” In fact, for now almost a year-and-a-half if not two years, President Ghani has spoken about this, and so has our commanders in Afghanistan.”
“So this is something that their desires to metastasize into Afghanistan is something we’ve been long watching. I certainly could not rule out their hand in this. We just don’t know enough right now,” Kirby added.
This comes as the top US commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson earlier said the terrorist group is attempting to establish a caliphate inside Afghanistan.
“Right now we see them very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan,” General Nicholson told NBC News.
He said the push is “principally a non-Afghan movement”, adding that the U.S. has seen foreign fighters, particularly Uzbeks from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joining the Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K.
According to Gen. Nicholson the US also sees many Pakistani Pashtun from the Pakistani Taliban who joined IS-K moving into Afghanistan to fight.