Obama authorises Pentagon to target ISIL in Khorasan: Rice
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The US President Barack Obama has authorised his military leadership to target Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL) in Khorasan region, national security advisor Susan Rice said Thursday.
As part of the US counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, President Obama had authorised the Department of Defense to target ISIL in the Khorasan, Rice said in Colorado Springs during the course of a major speech on ISIL.
American forces removed a Khorasan deputy last year, and we had launched a series of strikes and joint operations that killed hundreds of militants and regained territory held by ISIL And the US was not going to let up, Rice said.
While ISIL Khorasan has had to contend with rival extremist groups—such as al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban—they remain a dangerous and destabilising force.
“They’ve gained territory in the east and launched attacks in major cities like Jalalabad, though a combination of US, Afghan, and Taliban pressure has limited ISIL’s gains,” she said.
Rice clarified that even as the US addressed ISIL’s emerging branches, they haven’t taken their eye off al Qaeda and its affiliates.
“Over the past 15 years, we have decimated al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan—and continue to pressure the remnants of their murderous organization,” she said.
The group’s beleaguered leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was in hiding and exercises little influence over remaining al Qaeda affiliates in Syria, Yemen, Africa, and South Asia. And, while these affiliates continue to pose threats, the US are working with our partners relentlessly to target and diminish their capabilities,” Rice said.
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