02:06 GMT +322 August 2019
Listen Live
    In this photo released on Sunday, June 28, 2015, by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant waves his group's flag as he and another celebrate in Fallujah, Iraq, west of Baghdad

    ISIL Spread to Afghanistan Connects Middle East, South Asia Threats

    © AP Photo / Militant website via AP, File
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    0 28

    US State Department policy planning staff member Vali Nasr said that the spread of the Islamic State from its current strongholds in the Middle East and North Africa would catch the United States off guard.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The growth of the Islamic State in Afghanistan could bridge the Middle East and South Asia, where the United States does not have a coherent strategy, US State Department policy planning staff member Vali Nasr said on Friday.

    "If [the Islamic State] becomes much more of a factor in the [Afghan] insurgency, it will connect the Middle East and South Asia," Nasr warned during an Atlantic Council discussion on the future of Afghanistan.

    The spread of the Islamic State from its current strongholds in the Middle East and North Africa would catch the United States off guard, Nasr noted.

    "We do not have right now, if you were to say, a single strategy that fits both the Middle East and South Asia," Nasr said.

    He added, however, that the spread of the Islamic State could force the United States to formulate "a more coherent" approach to the two regions.

    There are as many as 4,000 Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, according to estimates from the Russian General Staff.

    Since the US withdrawal of forces in December 2014, Afghanistan has seen a revived Taliban insurgency as well as other security threats.

    On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced the United States would keep a troop presence of 9,800 in Afghanistan, drawing those levels down to 5,500 by 2016 or 2017.

    Related:

    Estimated 50,000 Militants in Afghanistan, Islamic State Presence Grows
    Taliban Islamic Movement Controls Up to 70% of Afghanistan
    ISIL Gains Control Of Several Drug Trafficking Routes From Afghanistan
    Tags:
    U.S. Department of State, Daesh, Vali Nasr, Afghanistan, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik