ISIS-K Can Launch an Attack on US Within 6 to 12 Months: Pentagon Official

ISIS-K might strike American targets in as little as six months, if left unchecked, said a top policy official at the Pentagon.

Colin Kahl, the Defense Department's undersecretary for policy, warned US lawmakers that both ISIS-K and al-Qaeda could conduct attacks on the US. He said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that neither terror organization poses an immediate danger, but that they must be treated seriously since that might change in a short period.

Colin Kahl
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl Twitter

ISIS-K Could Attack the US Within '6-12 Months'

"I think the intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and al Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States. But neither currently can do so," Kahl said.

"We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months. I think the current assessment by the intelligence community is that al-Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability."

'Real Possibility' of Al-Qaeda, ISIS Resurgence in Afghanistan by Spring

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley in September said there is "a real possibility" that al-Qaeda or ISIS could reconstitute in Afghanistan as soon as early spring 2022.

Milley said the terrorist threat from Afghanistan is currently less than it was on 9/11, but that "the conditions could be set for a reconstitution of al-Qaeda and/or ISIS."

"It's a real possibility in the not too distant future - 6, 12, 18, 24, 36 months, that kind of timeframe - for reconstitution of al-Qaeda or ISIS," Milley told lawmakers. "Terrorist organizations seek ungoverned spaces so that they can train and equip and thrive and, and so, there, there is clearly a possibility that that can happen here, going forward."

Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri
ISIS-K released identity and photo of its suicide bomber Abdul Rehman Al-Loghri. Twitter

Afghanistan Could Still Pose Serious National Security Concerns for the US

Kahl was the latest in a series of defense officials to testify in the eight weeks since the Biden's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. The troubling assessment also undermines Biden's fundamental justification for fully withdrawing from the war-torn country.

Kahl also offered insight into the potential development of Afghan terror threats. He said the Defense Department is conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in Afghanistan every day and is sharing intelligence with allies to provide updated intelligence assessments.

"The war as we know it isn't continuing, but the terrorist threat continues," he said. "What we saw unfold in the last few months would have happened whenever we left Afghanistan."

Despite the intentions of the terrorist organizations working to regroup in Afghanistan, Kahl stated that the risk of an assault on American territory "is at its lowest point since September 11, 2001."