WASHINGTON – The Islamic State is making small inroads in Afghanistan and could grow into a more worrisome threat, a U.S. Army general said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon from his offices in Kabul, Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner said the Islamic State, which rose to prominence by capturing large swaths of Syria and Iraq, is not yet capable of coordinating military operations in more than one part of Afghanistan at a time.
"We see their capabilities increasing somewhat but not to the point where they can conduct operations that you're seeing in Iraq and Syria, although we do note the potential for them to evolve into something more serious, more dangerous," he said.
Shoffner said the Islamic State's fighters are clashing with the Taliban in areas of Afghanistan where the Islamic State is encroaching on Taliban territory. He called this a destabilizing development, with Afghan civilians caught in the middle.
"That's a security issue that we are committed to helping the Afghan government resolve," Shoffner said.
He declined to say whether U.S. aircraft have attacked Islamic State targets in Afghanistan.