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U.S. and Afghan government officials warned on Monday that the Islamic State is dramatically expanding its footprint in Afghanistan and planning to use it as a base for attacks on Western countries, including the United States.
Analysts told the Associated Press that ISIS has been practicing for action in the West with terrorist attacks in Kabul, stockpiling of weapons, and recruiting locals to learn the battlefield tactics it developed in Syria and Iraq:
US - Intelligence - Official - Afghanistan - Associated
A U.S. intelligence official based in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that a recent wave of attacks in the capital, Kabul, is “practice runs” for even bigger attacks in Europe and the United States.
“This group is the most near-term threat to our homelands from Afghanistan,” the official said on condition of anonymity to preserve his operational security. “The IS core mandate is: You will conduct external attacks” in the U.S. and Europe. “That is their goal. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “It is very scary.”
Bruce - Hoffman - Director - Center - Security
Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, sees Afghanistan as a possible new base for IS now that it has been driven from Iraq and Syria. “ISIS has invested a disproportionate amount of attention and resources in Afghanistan,” he said, pointing to “huge arms stockpiling” in the east.
The Islamic State now has a significant presence in four of the most dangerous provinces of mountainous northern Afghanistan and is developing influence on par with the Afghan government and the Taliban. Its military strength has been bolstered by fighters from Central Asia, Chechnya, India, Bangladesh, and ethnic Uighurs from China.
US - Intelligence - Official - Associated - Press
The U.S. intelligence official quoted by the Associated Press theorized ISIS...
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