'IS could hit Western interests in Europe, Asia from Afghanistan within 6 months'

'IS could hit Western interests in Europe, Asia from Afghanistan within 6 months'

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London, March 17 (IANS) A division of the Islamic State based in Afghanistan will be able to target US citizens in Europe and Asia within six months, a senior US general told a Senate committee, the media reported. General Michael Kurilla, head of US Central Command, told Congress that 'at least hundreds of thousands' of US citizens could be vulnerable to an attack by ISIS-K, which has the 'ultimate goal to strike on the American homeland', the Daily Mail reported. ISIS-K -- the Islamic State in Khorasan -- is an IS affiliate based in Afghanistan and a sworn enemy of both the Taliban and the US, the Daily Mail reported. The group has claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport attack during the US evacuation in August 2021 which killed 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US soldiers. It continued launching attacks throughout 2022, including on mosques and schools. Kurilla's comments were made during an address on Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee requesting funds for fiscal year 2024. "It is my commander's estimate that they can do an external operation against US or Western interests abroad in under six months with little to no warning," Kurilla said during the address this week, Daily Mail reported. "ISIS-Khorasan grows emboldened, seeking to expand its ranks and inspire enable and direct attacks in the region and beyond - with the ultimate goal to strike on the American homeland," he added. He was then asked about the likelihood of an attack on US soil. "It would be harder for them to do that against the American homeland," he said. "If you asses six months against Europe or Asia what would you asses would be the timeline against the homeland?" senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas asked him. "I think it's hard to put a timeline on that," said Kurilla, Daily Mail reported. "I think it is a higher probability overseas than it is in the homeland."

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