General Sir Richard Barron said today that the splinter terrorist cell posed a risk to the UK
Britain will need to co-operate with the Taliban to combat ISIS-K, a former senior military commander has warned.
General Sir Richard Barrons said today that the splinter terrorist cell which orchestrated the attack outside Kabul airport posed a risk at home and abroad.
He said that Britain and America were initially working with the Afghan intelligence service and had drones in the sky to root out and ‘neuter’ terrorist threats.
But now amid the chaotic withdrawal the NATO powers have been left relying on drone strikes to take out the group.
Sir Richard added: ‘So what this actually means is we’re going to end up co-operating, not just with the US, but with the Taliban in the future, in order to deal with ISIS-K.’
It came as the ambitious leader of ISIS-K became the Taliban’s most wanted enemy, with their soldiers saying they would ‘annihilate’ the terrorist group.
A Pentagon drone strike has today killed the ‘planner’ behind the bombing at Kabul airport which left 170 people dead including 13 US soldiers, two Britons and a child of a UK national.
US officials said the attack — which came just two days after the airport bombing — was approved by President Joe Biden.
It came as a US drone strike was reported to have killed the ‘planner’ behind the Kabul airport bombings. They had been getting out of their car when they were struck in Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan
The above map shows areas where ISIS-K is thought to be active (red). They are focused in eastern Afghanistan, and are not far from the capital Kabul. They are sworn enemies of the Taliban
An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles is pictured flying over southern Afghanistan in 2015. On Friday night the Pentagon said an ISIS-K fighter had been killed by a drone
US drone strike kills ‘planner’ behind Kabul airport bombing
A Pentagon drone strike has killed the ‘planner’ behind the ISIS suicide bombing at Kabul airport that left more than 170 people dead.
The missile struck an ISIS fighter while he was in his car with another Islamic state associate in Nangahar province, eastern Afghanistan. US officials said the strike was approved by President Joe Biden.
The retaliation came less than 48 hours after a suicide bombing claimed by the group killed 13 U.S. soldiers, two Britons and the child of a UK national outside an entrance to the runway.
U.S. Navy spokesman William Urban confirmed the military ‘conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner.’
‘Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties,’ he added.
Britain’s rescue operation will end today, meaning as many as 1,250 Afghans eligible to take refuge in the UK, as well as up to 150 Britons, will be left behind.
Gen. Sir Nick Carter said on Saturday: ‘We haven’t been able to take everyone out and that is heartbreaking. We think that we’ve got most of the Afghans but I think there will be high hundreds who won’t have come out … and something has prevented them from coming, rather than any processing problem from our perspective.’
He added that U.S. troops now faced a ‘very difficult’ few days acting as the ‘rear guard’ to the withdrawal.
‘I think our American allies are going to be very challenged because the threat from ISIS-K has not gone away and of course there are still lots of desperate Afghans trying to get out,’ Sir Nick said.
Speaking to Times radio, General Barrons said: ‘Before we arrived at this current catastrophic outcome, we had a diplomatic presence, we had a relationship with the Afghan intelligence organisations and we were able to work with some of the very good but now completely dissolved elements of the Afghan security architecture.
‘We also had the benefit of the sort of drone eyes-in-the-sky that the US provides.
‘And now, all we have left is recourse to this over the horizon, drones support.
‘So what this actually means is we’re going to end up co-operating, not just with the US, but with the Taliban in the future, in order to deal with ISIS-K.’
He added that the Kabul airport attacks showed the terror group was clearly a threat to the UK both at home and abroad.
‘What it does do is illustrate that ISIS-K is a risk to the United Kingdom, here at home, and to our interests abroad,’ he said.
‘We’re going to find common cause with the US, and indeed I think the Taliban, in bearing down on this terrible organisation for as long as it takes to neuter them.’
Taliban officials said yesterday they would take ‘every measure’ to capture the militants behind the blast outside Kabul airport, reports The Telegraph.
One senior figure told the newspaper the group was ‘making our best and maximum efforts to prevent threats’.
Two bombs tore through crowds gathered outside the airport on Thursday, which the Taliban had sworn to protect.
The attack has been blamed on the local Khorasan franchise of the Islamic State, or ISIS-K, which has been at war with the Taliban for three years.
It is reportedly led by Shahab al-Muhajir, and has 4,000 fighters after 2,000 were released from prison. It takes its name from the historic region of Khorasan, which included parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Middle East expert Dr Sajjan Gohel said today that the growth of ISIS-K may lead to terrorism returning to the West.
He told LBC: ‘Perhaps the only thing holding back (terrorism resurging) temporarily has been the pandemic, because trans-Atlantic logistics have been impacted.
‘But once that has been resolved my great fear is that you are going to see terrorists travelling to Afghanistan and Pakistan for terrorist training.
‘And, just like all the cases of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan in the past, they get very ambitious and then they start thinking they can go to the West to carry out attacks.’
He added: ‘A lot of it is going to come down to how the situation unfolds under the Taliban. Whatever they say, their media savvy spokespeople, it does not necessarily reflect what’s happening on the ground.’
He said their return on to power was a ‘very disturbing dynamic’ shortly before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.