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CENTCOM Commander: ISIS Terror Attacks Will ‘Ramp Up’ In Near Future

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UNITED STATES - April 22: Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of the U.S. Central Command testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during its hearing on the "U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2022 and the Future Years Defense Program in Washington on Thursday, April 22, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week that ISIS terror attacks are expected to start increasing as the summer nears and the Taliban is failing to shut them down.

“The Taliban is attempting to maintain pressure on ISIS. They’re finding it difficult to do so,” McKenzie said on Tuesday. “We’re coming out of the winter; traditionally this would now begin the fighting season. It is my expectation that ISIS attacks will ramp up in Afghanistan as we go into the summer.”

McKenzie said during an interview back in December that the U.S. had lost virtually all of its capability to track Islamic terrorists in al-Qaeda and other organizations inside Afghanistan after Democrat President Joe Biden’s chaotic and disastrous pullout from the country at the end of last summer.

The Associated Press reported:

Speaking at the Pentagon, McKenzie said it’s clear that al-Qaeda is attempting to rebuild its presence inside Afghanistan, which was the base from which it planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. He said some militants are coming into the country through its porous borders, but it is hard for the U.S. to track numbers. …

McKenzie and other senior U.S. military and national security officials had said before the U.S. withdrawal that it would complicate efforts to keep a lid on the al-Qaeda threat, in part because of the loss of on-the-ground intelligence information and the absence of a U.S.-friendly government in Kabul. The U.S. says it will rely on airstrikes from drones and other aircraft based beyond Afghanistan’s borders to respond to any extremist threats against the U.S. homeland.

“We’re probably at about 1 or 2% of the capabilities we once had to look into Afghanistan,” he said. The AP said that McKenzie warned that this meant that it was “very hard” to make sure that major terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS cannot use Afghanistan to launch attacks against the U.S.

McKenzie said during the interview late last year that ISIS was “reinvigorated” after the Taliban released numerous ISIS terrorists from Afghan prisons that were abandoned under Biden’s leadership. The ISIS terrorist who murdered 13 U.S. service members during a suicide attack at the airport in Kabul was reportedly released from prison.

“Senior Indian intelligence sources familiar with the case have told Firstpost that he was handed over to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency by the Research and Analysis Wing in September 2017,” Firstpost reported. “However, the jihadist walked free on 15 August along with thousands of other dangerous terrorists held in the high-security prison, taking advantage of the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of the United State’s hurried exit and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the entire country.”

“So certainly we should expect a resurgent ISIS. It would be very surprising if that weren’t the case,” McKenzie said, adding, “It remains to be seen that the Taliban are going to be able to take effective action against them.”

McKenzie said during a different interview last week that the U.S. Military was still trying to “look in Afghanistan for particularly ISIS-K targets and al-Qaida targets,” but that it was “difficult” to see the targets because of the loss of intelligence capabilities that Biden’s disaster caused.

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