As the US is evacuating people from Kabul, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday that the US is “laser-focused” on a potential attack by a group like ISIS-K, a sworn enemy of the Taliban.
“One of the contingencies we are very focused on, laser-focused on, is the potential for a terrorist attack by a group like ISIS-K, which of course is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, so we will keep working to minimize the risks and maximize the number of people on planes,” Sullivan told NBC.
ISIS-K is the name for a Central Asian ISIS affiliate that popped up in the region a few years ago. The group was started by mostly Pakistani militants who previously fought under the umbrella of the Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan (TTP). ISIS-K is generally considered to be a group of local fighters that pose no international threat.
The US has actually given the Taliban air support in its fight against ISIS-K in the northeast Kunar province. Last year, a report from The Washington Post revealed that a unit of the Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC) was operating Reaper drones in support of the Taliban. The JSOC unit called themselves the “Taliban Air Force.”
The US is currently airlifting US citizens and Afghan allies out of the Kabul airport and has about 5,200 troops on the ground for the operation. The US is relying on the Taliban to allow Americans to travel to the airport. The Pentagon said Thursday that so far, there have been no reports of US citizens being “stopped or harassed.”