The US intelligence community has assessed that Islamic State in Afghanistan could have the capability to attack the United States in as little as six months, and has the intention to do so, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Tuesday.
The remarks by Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, are the latest reminder that Afghanistan could still pose serious national security concerns for the United States even after it ended its two-decade-old war in defeat in August.
The Taliban, which won the war, are enemies of Islamic State and have seen its attempts to impose law and order after the US pullout thwarted by suicide bombings and other attacks claimed by Islamic State.
They include bombings targeting the minority Shi'ite sect and even an Islamic State beheading of a member of a Taliban militia force in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kahl said it was still unclear whether the Taliban has the ability to fight Islamic State effectively following the US withdrawal in August. The United States fought the Taliban as well as striking groups like Islamic State and al Qaeda.