US Senator Lindsey Graham Says US Should Target ISIS in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – US Senator Lindsey Graham says that the US should initiate attacks on the targets of the Islamic State’s regional affiliates (IS-KP) in Afghanistan to disrupt their operations before it becomes too late.

In a social media post on Monday, March 25, the US Senator emphasized that the US also needs to gain operational control of its borders now before it’s too late.

Following their takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban has consistently reassured its commitment to uphold the Doha Agreement signed between the group and the United States in 2020.

The agreement includes commitments to prevent the use of Afghanistan soil by any international terrorist groups or individuals, including the IS-KP. Similar commitments have been made to neighboring countries multiple times.

Despite the Taliban’s claims that there is no active terrorist group in Afghanistan and that they have dismantled IS-KP, the terrorist group has repeatedly attacked Taliban members and religious minority groups, particularly the Hazara-Shia, in the country over the past two years.

Last Thursday, IS-KP targeted Taliban members in southern Kandahar province in front of a commercial bank while they were lined up to collect their salaries. Although the Taliban claimed a lower casualty count with three killed and 12 injured, local sources reported much higher figures, estimating around 21 killed and 51 others injured.

IS-KP has also targeted high-ranking Taliban officials over the past two years. In March of last year, IS-KP claimed responsibility for the killing of the Taliban governor of the northern Balkh province, Mohammad Dawood Muzammil. Later in June, the group assassinated Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the group’s governor for northeastern Badakhshan province.

The international community and regional countries are concerned that Afghanistan could once again become a breeding ground for international terrorism due to the Taliban’s extensive connections with regional and global terrorist networks.

A similar concern to that of Senator Graham was voiced recently by US Senator Marco Rubio, in response to the recent Moscow attack that claimed the lives of over 130 people during a concert event. Senator Rubio expressed concerns about the potential capabilities of IS-KP, warning that it could launch attacks on US soil.

During an interview with ABC News last Sunday, the US senator said that the Moscow attack shows that ISIS extremists have been able to re-establish their operations in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal from the country in 2021.

“Once we leave Afghanistan and we’re no longer there to conduct regular strikes, they can now operate openly. No matter how much the Taliban wants to take them on, they can’t. They don’t have the capability to do it,” Mr. Rubio said, adding that Islamic State has now “found a place to operate from” and is likely looking for more “real estate” where they can organize and plot attacks.

Senator Rubio highlighted that in recent years, Islamic State extremists have conducted many attacks in Afghanistan and Iran. He warned that the massacre on Russian soil indicates that the group could soon attempt something similar in the US.

He further emphasized that the US should be “very concerned” about such a threat and worried  that Islamic State extremists may use trafficking networks to enter the country via the US-Mexico border.