The United States believes that the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State terror poses a significant threat to retreating American troops and Afghan evacuees.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Sunday’s “State of the Union” that the threat of ISIS in Afghanistan “is real. It’s acute. It is persistent. And it is something we’re focused on with every tool in our arsenal.”
Sullivan said American commanders on the ground “have a wide variety of capabilities they’re using to defend the airfield against a potential terrorist attack” and the military is working with the intelligence community to determine where a potential attack might originate.
“It is something that we are placing paramount priority on stopping or disrupting, and we’ll do everything we can as long as we’re on the ground to keep that from happening, but we are taking it absolutely deadly seriously,” he said.
Two U.S. officials quoted in a Saturday report from NBC News told the outlet that U.S. forces are actively keeping track of threats the Sunni Islamist group poses to the airport in Kabul and those trying to reach it.
“We are executing an alternate path,” one defense official told the outlet, pointing out that U.S. forces are coordinating alternative ways to get people to the airport.
“This includes gathering smaller groups of people at specific locations and then moving them to the airport in intervals.