The Afghan unit of ISIS known as ISIS-K or ISIS Khorasan Province is not growing in the war torn country and instead is struggling to maintain the little hold it has, the Pentagon has said. “It is continuing to be a challenge, but at this point I don’t see it growing. I see it, if anything, struggling to maintain what little hold it has,” the Pentagon Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters here.
“ISIS-K, is very small area in the mountains of Nangarhar region, not something that presents the level of threat at this point that it would probably like to. But we will continue to work with our partners there to defeat it. We don’t want it to establish a foothold,” he said in response to a question. The very presence of ISIS in Afghanistan, he said is both a problem and a symptom or a reflection of progress.
“When ISIS is on its back in Iraq and Syria, it is no surprise that it’s popping up in other places that are more hospitable compared to Iraq and Syria. Iraq and Syria, because of the success of the mission there, have become less hospitable,” Davis said. “So we have seen this affiliate grow in Afghanistan, called ISIS-K or ISIS Khorasan Province. But we have focused a lot of effort on it, and you’ve certainly seen that covered widely in the press, both with air strikes and operations on the ground in conjunction with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” the Pentagon spokesman told foreign journalists.
Davis said the main objective of the United States is to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States and its allies. “We remain focused on the defeat of al-Qaida and its associates as well as the defeat of ISIS Khorasan province, or ISIS-K as we call it,” he said.
“The Taliban, tried eight separate times last year to overtake a provincial capital in Afghanistan. They failed every single one of those times, and they have yet to do it successfully this year as well. And you’ve heard General Nicholson talk about it in his open testimony and elsewhere that Afghanistan remains a formidable challenge,” he said.