ISIS has nascent presence in Afghanistan: Campbell
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Observing that the possible rise of ISIL is a new development in Afghanistan, a top American commander on Thursday told lawmakers this appears to be a rebranding of a few marginalized Taliban.
“The possible rise of Daesh, or ISIL, is a new development,” General John F Campbell, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing responding to questions about presence of ISIL in Afghanistan.
“Thus far we believe that the nascent Daesh presence in Afghanistan represents more of a rebranding of a few marginalized Taliban, but we're still taking this potential threat, with its dangerous rhetoric and ideology, very, very seriously,” Campbell said.
He told the lawmakers that his forces were working closely with the ANSF to evaluate and understand the dynamic nature of this fledgling network.
“The potential emergence of Daesh represents an additional opportunity to bring the Afghans and the Pakistanis together to confront this common threat. And we will continue to engage with leaders from both countries on ways we can collaborate to meet this challenge,” Campbell said.
When asked how the public in Afghanistan and Pakistan views ISIL, General Campbell said he thinks it depends on where they are and how much they read or hear about it. “If you're inside of Kabul and you have to the communications, the newspapers, radios, the TV, they're starting to get that media blast of that in some of the outward parts of Afghanistan where they may not have that communications. They may not even know that that's going on. But again, it has come up quite a bit here in the last 45 to 50 days,” he said.
“President Ghani has talked to the Afghan people about it. He's talked to the Afghan Security Forces about it. I've made it a, what I call a, PIR, Party Information Requirement, for my forces. So we'll continue to work hard with our Afghan partners here to make sure we understand this network,” the American General said.
Responding to question, Campbell said the Taliban are a resilient force. “They have issues, but they continue to hang on in certain areas. They have changed their approach a little bit inside of Kabul. Some of the remote areas outside the cities, where it's very, very hard to have the Afghan security forces,” he said.
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