The Islamic State operating out of Afghanistan may have the capability to attack the United States in as soon as six months, a senior Pentagon official told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said that U.S. intelligence assesses that while ISIS-K, as the group in Afghanistan is called, and al Qaeda both want to "conduct external operations, including against the United States," neither has the ability to do so right now. For ISIS-K, they could "generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months," Kahl said, while it could take "a year or two" for al Qaeda to be able to carry out attacks outside of Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, ISIS-K has conducted several suicide bombings in the country, primarily targeting the Shia minority. "It is our assessment that the Taliban and ISIS-K are mortal enemies," Kahl said. "So the Taliban is highly motivated to go after ISIS-K. Their ability to do so, I think, is to be determined."
The U.S. intends to disrupt ISIS-K and al Qaeda so they aren't able to strike, Kahl said, and drones capable of hitting their targets are being flown into the region, Reuters reports.