ISIS Finds Space To Develop Under Taliban Control, Says Former CENTCOM Commander

Friday, 04/12/2024

Joseph Votel, former US Central Command Commander, said that with the Taliban's takeover of power, ISIS-Khorasan has found space for development.

Votel stated that the absence of US military forces and the Taliban's inability to provide security have allowed ISIS to become a significant threat.

According to Business Insider, prior to the Taliban's takeover of Kabul, ISIS’ activities were limited to Afghanistan. However, thereafter, it found more opportunities for expansion and took responsibility for attacks beyond Afghan soil, including a suicide attack on Qasem Soleimani's death anniversary ceremony in Iran and an attack on a concert hall in Moscow.

Votel, who oversaw military operations in the Middle East in 2010, told Business Insider, "It doesn't take very long for these organisations to rise up and become more capable."

Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, also considered the US withdrawal and the Taliban's control over Afghanistan as key factors contributing to the strengthening of ISIS-Khorasan.

Business Insider reported that without US military presence in Afghanistan, options for combating ISIS are fairly limited. The report added that while the White House has previously emphasised a strategy for targeting terrorists with drones, there seems to be little evidence of the effectiveness of such a strategy.

This media outlet wrote that before the collapse of the previous Afghan government, the US had significant intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan and could conduct military strikes against terrorist groups, as well as provide advice and assistance to Afghan forces in key operations.

According to Business Insider, Votel stated that this "mowing-the-grass" approach to counterterrorism ultimately led to further strengthening and flexibility of ISIS, and the group is now focusing on expanding its influence in other regions.

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