Centcom commander: ‘We should expect a resurgent ISIS’

FPI / February 2, 2022


After being effectively wiped out during the administration of President Donald Trump, the Islamic State (ISIS) has reportedly regrouped and has launched several attacks since the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Islamic State fighters surrender after clashing with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces at Ghweiran prison in northeast Syria. / Syrian Democratic Forces

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said it’s not yet clear how strongly the Taliban will go after ISIS, which has violently attacked the Taliban across Afghanistan.

ISIS was “reinvigorated,” McKenzie said, by the release of numerous ISIS fighters from Afghan prisons in mid-August. He said both ISIS and Al Qaida are recruiting from inside and outside Afghanistan.

“So certainly we should expect a resurgent ISIS. It would be very surprising if that weren’t the case,” he said, adding, “It remains to be seen that the Taliban are going to be able to take effective action against them.”

“The evidence of a resurgence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is mounting by the day, nearly three years after the militants lost the last patch of territory of their so-called caliphate, which once stretched across vast parts of the two countries,” The New York Times reported.

“The fact that ISIS was able to mount these coordinated and sophisticated attacks in recent days shows that what had been believed to be disparate sleeper cells are re-emerging as a more serious threat.”

The Times cited several recent incidents that have happened in the region, including a massive attack attempting to free ISIS prisoners in Syria, attacks on military forces in Iraq, and a re-emergence of gruesome beheading videos.

“It’s a wake-up call for regional players, for national players, that ISIS is not over, that the fight is not over,” said Kawa Hassan, Middle East and North Africa director at the Stimson Center.

The report noted that the U.S. military and its allies in the past week engaged ISIS at the largest level in three years after the terrorists attacked the prison in Syria and tried to free other ISIS terrorists.

The report said that while ISIS was making other attacks in Syria, it also launched a major attack against an Iraqi Army base late at night, killing 10 soldiers.

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