US May ‘Leverage’ Anti-Islamic State Coalition on Afghanistan - Pentagon Official
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Biden administration is considering utilizing partners in the 83-nation coalition it leads against the Islamic State* to monitor and potentially act against the terror group's branch operating in Afghanistan, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Mara Kaplan said.
“Regional partners are going to be critical to ensure we are maintaining pressure on these organizations like al Qaeda* and ISIS-K* [Islamic State-Khorasan],” Kaplan told a Middle East Institute (MEI) podcast on Wednesday.
“ISIS-K is definitely one of these groups that folks are watching pretty closely.”
Since the United States had lost its on-the-ground military and intelligence assets in Afghanistan in its rushed evacuation from the country in August, working with regional partners was going to be critical to ensure Washington was maintaining pressure on hostile groups in that country, Kaplan said.
“We don't have military or intelligence personnel in Afghanistan: That is inevitably changing in this ecosystem: We need to recalibrate how we are accomplishing our goals on this front. …There are various ways folks are looking at how to achieve this,” Kaplan said.
However, Kaplan emphasized that she was not implying any specific new organization or action against terrorist or other hostile groups in Afghanistan in any way as the country is now controlled by the Taliban* after the rapid collapse of the Afghan army in August.
* The Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS-K are terrorist organizations banned in Russia and many other countries.