Ex-CENTCOM Commander: ISIS Threat To U.S. Is Getting Serious

Former U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie had something to say about the threat ISIS poses to the United States during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.

According to McKenzie, the threat from the jihadist group is getting serious thanks to President Joe Biden’s foreign policy.

McKenzie towed that line of discussion when host Martha Raddatz asked him about the recent ISIS terrorist attack in Moscow.

“General, your CENTCOM successor, General Michael Kurilla, said just days before the Moscow attack that ISIS-K, quote, ‘retains the capability and will to attack U.S. and Western interests abroad in as little as six months and with little or no warning.’ What’s your confidence in that intelligence?” Raddatz asked.

In response, McKenzie said, “I think General Kurilla is spot on with that assessment. Here’s the problem. Again, we go back to ISIS-K. If you can keep pressure on them that they’re in their homeland and their base, it makes it hard for them to conduct these types of attacks.”

“Unfortunately, we no longer place that pressure on them, so they’re free to gain strength, they’re free to plan, they’re free to coordinate and to outreach that hit us in our homelands. So, you might as well be playing an away game than a home game. We’ve chosen to play a home game,” he added.

When Raddatz asked if the threat ISIS poses to the United States was facilitated by President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021 during which 13 U.S. troops were killed, McKenzie agreed that “things would be different” if the president had not made the decision for the recommended 2,500 troops to leave Afghanistan at the time.

“Leaving 2,500 troops, along with our NATO partners, who would have left 4,000 or 5,000 troops, we would have been able to continue to work against ISIS, which was the principal reason we’re in Afghanistan, to prevent attacks in our homeland. I think we might be in a different place now. I think we might actually be safer than we are,” he stated.

“In Afghanistan, we have almost no ability to see into that country and almost no ability to strike into that country. And so, ISIS there is able to grow unabated. There’s no pressure on them. And, again, our operating theory has always been with violent extremists, you want local security forces to be able to control them, and then you want them to not be able to establish a connective tissue internationally that allows them to carry out external attacks abroad — and it’s very hard to do that in Afghanistan, where you just don’t have the ability to sense, you don’t have the ability to strike, and very limited resources,” he added.

Raddatz emphasized on what he believes is ISIS’ “strong desire to attack” the U.S.

Saying that the terrorist group is going to try to launch an attack on the U.S., the former CENTCOM boss added, “And so, I think the threat is growing. It began to grow as soon as we left Afghanistan, took pressure off ISIS-K. So I think we should expect further attempts of this nature against the United States as well as our partners and other nations abroad. I think this is inevitable.”

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