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IS Still ‘Worrisome’ In Afghanistan: Gen. McKenzie

KABUL – US Marine General Frank McKenzie said Wednesday that the Islamic State (IS) extremist group remains a “very worrisome” presence in Afghanistan, but it is unlikely to mount an attack on the US because it is under strong military pressure, RFE/RL reported Thursday.
Gen. McKenzie, whose Central Command has responsibility for managing U.S. military operations across the Middle East, told reporters the extremist group “in Afghanistan certainly has aspirations to attack the United States.”
“It is our clear judgment that as long as we maintain pressure on them it will be hard for them to do that,” he said.
Gen. McKenzie spoke in Germany with reporters after completing an eight-day trip to Iraq, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier, AP quoted U.S. and Afghan security officials as saying the extremist group expanding its presence in Afghanistan, recruiting new members, and plotting attacks on the United States and other Western countries.
A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan said that a recent series of attacks in Kabul, were “practice runs” for even bigger attacks in Europe and the United States, AP reported.
Some experts said IS could use Afghanistan as a base for operations now that the terror group has mainly been driven from its former strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
Gen. McKenzie further added that he did not believe IS in Afghanistan has expanded its capabilities but that it does still represent a dangerous presence in the country.
He said that “they are very worrisome to us” in their strongholds in Afghanistan, and added that combat operations had failed to reduce the number of fighters.
(Sahar News)

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