‘Abandoned’ US military base in Afghanistan is now ‘home to one of the world’s largest ISIS’
The United States is losing its last major combat base in the Afghanistan war and now faces a new threat.
The former base in Kandahar was the site of a US military operation that helped bring down a massive ISIS convoy in 2014.
The US has said the Taliban and al-Qaida are the main threats, but Afghan officials and some Afghan security forces have said the presence of American troops and equipment poses an increased threat to local communities.
In an interview with The Associated Press, U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson said the new threat is coming from the Taliban, al-Shabab, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Nicholson said he was aware of the threat posed by the Taliban but the Taliban are the primary threat.
“The threat we face is a threat from al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
I am aware of that.
I have seen that threat,” Nicholson said.
The Taliban has seized control of a series of key strategic cities including Kunduz, Lashkar Gah, Mazar-e Sharif and Kunduz province, and have also taken over several key provincial capitals.
They have also killed and beheaded scores of Afghan soldiers and policemen, and taken control of the city of Kunduz.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Taliban a “global threat” in a statement issued Monday.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which has taken over swathes of Iraq, Syria and Libya, has been targeting the Afghan military and the Afghan government since 2014.
“It is the latest in a long series of attacks against Afghanistan by ISIL,” Guterresh said.
“While the threat of ISIL remains a global one, it is clear that our military presence in Afghanistan has been a significant factor in deterring ISIL operations and deterring the use of foreign fighters and weapons of mass destruction in Afghanistan.”
Nicholson said a large number of Americans have been deployed to Afghanistan.
“Over the past two years, we have conducted nearly 6,000 combat missions in Afghanistan, including about 300 in 2017 alone,” he said.
Nicholson added that the U.T.A. is committed to ensuring that our troops are in harm’s way.
He said he has met with top Afghan officials.
“We have had an opportunity to meet with the Afghan officials who are leading our forces,” he added.
The United Nations and Afghan officials have called on the Taliban to end its military campaign in Afghanistan.