America’s largest government agency predicted the nation could soon face politically motivated terrorism on Oct. 26.
The Department of Defense predicts the United States has between six to 12 months to prepare for a hypothetical Islamic State-K or al-Qaeda attack.
Under Secretary for Policy Colin Kahl (D) claims Afghan terrorists are interested in carry out international attacks. However, they are still unprepared to do so.
“I think the intelligence community currently assesses that both Islamic State-K and al-Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States but neither currently has the capability to do so,” he said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
These terrorist groups are widely expected to be ready to launch international attacks sometime between April and October 2022.
“We could see Islamic State-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months,” he said. “Current assessments by the intelligence community is that al-Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability.”
The remarks came months after the Biden administration completed a chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Kabul. An estimated 439 U.S. citizens are still stranded in the Middle Eastern country.
The Taliban resurgence has prompted Islamic State members to consider seizing power from the chaotic and underfunded Taliban regime.
Those terrorists have claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings and other attacks in the country. This includes allegedly beheading a Taliban militia member in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
Kahl doubts Taliban forces are capable of effectively defeating Islamic State fighters.
“Our assessment is that the Taliban and Islamic State-K are mortal enemies, so the Taliban are highly motivated to go after Islamic State-K,” he said. “Their ability to do so, I think, is yet to be determined.”
Meanwhile, acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi assured the Taliban regime will tackle the Islamic State militant threat. He also sought to reassure the West that Afghanistan will not become a terrorist base for attacks on other countries according to Reuters.
Also facing power and financial challenges, al-Qaeda poses a more complex problem. It formerly maintained good relations with the Taliban and this, combined with al-Qaeda’s World Trade Center attack in New York City, resulted in U.S. military intervention during 2001.