WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – US intelligence officials predicted two years ago that the Islamic State group would likely regain its former strength and global influence, especially if the US and other Western powers stepped up their role in the fight against the extremist movement. reduced. According to a recent declassified report.
Analysts reading the 2020 report said many of his tests today seem prescient, especially as IS makes a comeback in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces under President Joe Biden last year.
The Islamic State no longer controls large swaths of territory in the United States or mounts attacks as it did years ago, but is now slowly rebuilding some major operations in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan. It is increasingly fighting local governments in places such as Afghanistan, where the group’s allies are fighting Taliban rulers following the withdrawal of US troops.
“If the United States and our allies withdraw or retreat from areas where IS is active, the group’s trajectory will depend on the willingness and ability of local governments to fill the resulting security gaps,” he said. The report, originally published in classified form in May 2020, comes months after then-President Donald Trump’s administration reached an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw US troops.
Biden and senior national security officials have cited the recent attack that killed Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri as evidence that counterterrorism capabilities remain “on the horizon” in Afghanistan following the United States withdrawal. keeps. US special forces also killed the IS chief during an operation in northwestern Syria in February.
“The fact of these operations shows how dire this threat environment remains,” Christie Abizade, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Thursday. However, he acknowledged that analysts believe the terrorist threat to the American homeland is “less severe than we have seen” at any time since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Speaking at the National Security and Intelligence Summit outside Washington, Abizaid said analysts have noticed a recent increase in IS affiliates around the world, particularly in Africa.
“Afghanistan is a really interesting story in the sense of where IS is affiliated and how it concerns us,” he said.