Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, announced the Islamic State has been found to be actively recruiting for members in the country.
Although not yet operational, Campbell said he is concerned because the group can launch anytime soon. “It is absolutely a concern,” he said, noting the radical Islamic fighters has grown considerably in the past six months in Afghanistan.
“We are not seeing it operationalized to the point of like what you are seeing in Syria,” Campbell said. “But I think, given time, that is where they want to go, so I think we have to squash that out now while we can.”
He noted they saw “money being passed back and forth.” He added that recruitment has been found not only in Afghanistan, but also in Pakistan. It seemed the recruits the group is attracting are those disgruntled with the lack of progress to overthrow the Kabul government. The Taliban fighters had wanted the Kabul government dismantled over 10 years ago.
Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported Friday that most of Nangahar province in northeastern Afghanistan is now controlled by Islamic State militants. “What we are seeing is that Taliban are rebranding… and they see this is an opportunity to gain resources and attention,” Campbell said.
Meanwhile, with ISIS recruitment concerns potentially becoming a real threat, Campbell said NATO plans to create a base in Kabul, a sign that could thwart President Barack Obama’s desire that no American troops stay in Afghanistan once he leaves office in January 2017. The Washington Post reports the base will help distribute aid, facilitate weapons sales and continue efforts to train Afghan security forces.