A top United States military official warned of potential attacks from ISIS that could take place as early as summer 2023.
CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael Kurilla warned that ISIS-K, the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic terror group, has strengthened since U.S. troops were pulled out of the country amid the conclusion of the Afghanistan War.
“It is my commander’s estimate that [ISIS-K] can do an external operation against US or Western interests abroad in under six months with little to no warning,” Kurilla said while addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee via the New York Post.
“It’s much harder for them to be able to do that against the [US] homeland,” Kurilla added.
ISIS-K has been less known than its parent organization, but gained attention when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest outside Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 26, 2021, where American and coalition troops evacuating the country had been present. Kurilla opted not to publicly share why he suspected ISIS-K could attack outside of Afghanistan's borders, but promised to later explain his reasoning to lawmakers during a closed session.
Kurilla did, however, acknowledge that the group's growth played a factor in the Taliban's destructive leadership in Afghanistan.
“Extremist groups see opportunity, and ISIS-Khorasan grows emboldened, seeking to expand its ranks and inspire enable and direct attacks in the region and beyond – with the ultimate goal to strike on the American homeland,” Kurilla said.
The US military had been resent in Afghanistan for 20 years, beginning in 2001 and had ousted terror groups from power until their evacuation in 2021.