Kabul, Afghanistan – Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley said Tuesday the terrorist groups – including the Islamic State (ISIS) – are trying to regroup in Afghanistan, according to sources, exclaiming it poses a threat to the United States mainland.
General Milley made the remarks during a Senate hearing in the presence of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The remarks came days after the US Congress probed Biden administration following a disclosure about biometric data left in Afghanistan, which is reported being used by the Taliban government to target local military personnel and international allies still in the country.
“ISIS and other groups are trying to put themselves back together, they have not succeeded yet and they have not yet presented a threat to the US homeland but we are watching that very, very, closely and if they raise their head and do present a threat, we will take appropriate (action),” Milley said as TOLONews quoted.
While reports suggest the rebirth of ISIS-K (also known as Daesh and IS) in Afghanistan, the current government denied the groups presence in the country, saying Daesh presence is very small and that “we have eliminated a lot of their sanctuaries so far.”
“They have conducted some attacks on a school and mosques but have not accomplished anything significant,” said Islamic Emirate’s Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid. “We are serious about our security and will not allow anyone to cause insecurity.”
In March, US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Kenneth McKenzie said ISIS-K continues to grow unabated in Afghanistan with the reigning Taliban regime finding it difficult to counter the threat, adding “we assess probably a couple thousand, more or less, ISIS fighters” in the country.
“… When the Taliban opened Pul-e-Charkhi and Parwan prisons, it infused new talent and new energy into ISIS, so they’re now reaping the result of that very short-sighted decision,” McKenzie said during a press briefing as quoted by Sputnik News Agency.
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Earlier this week, the United States Congress probes President Biden administration following a disclosure about biometric data abandoned during a hasty troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is reported being used by the Taliban government to target American allies still in the country, according to reports.
“The Taliban is using this personal information to increase targeted killings, torture, and forced disappearances of Afghans who helped the United States,” the senators wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon.
“These systems, which were abandoned when the US military withdrew from Afghanistan, contained iris scans, fingerprints, photographs, occupational data, home addresses, and names of relatives,” the letter read.
In addition to leaving behind $7 billion worth of military hardware, the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs confirmed is has access to the “sensitive data, including biometric data,” the United States abandoned while the country was collapsing last August.
But the ministry repeatedly denied reports suggesting these data are being used by the Taliban ruler to target those who supported the United States’ 20-year war in Afghanistan.
“We have denied this claim many times–that the Islamic Emirate targets or threatens the former security forces through this. We deny it,” said Abul Nafay Takor, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, as TOLOnew reported.
Since the takeover last August, though the Islamic Emirate government has repeatedly claimed victory and assured peace and stability in Afghanistan, string of bombings across multiple cities proves otherwise – suggesting a dim future that lies ahead of roughly 40 million citizens.