US to Pursue ISIS-K, al-Qaeda, in Over-the-Horizon Mission in Afghanistan

Austin: US will show relentless focus

Over the weekend, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin talked up the long-promised “over-the-horizon” missions to keep attacking Afghanistan without being in Afghanistan.

Austin said this would be part of a relentless focus on terrorism, talking of action coming against ISIS-K and al-Qaeda. US troops left Afghanistan after the Taliban routed the US-backed government in all major cities.

Even before the US left, officials talked about this sort of operation as a way to stay active in Afghanistan. It’s not at all clear what that would look like, or how sustainable it might be.

It’s probably going to mean airstrikes with little targeting support. The Taliban has insisted that they don’t need help in fighting terror, and they’ve been active in anti-ISIS-K measures.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.