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Few Taliban rebranded as ISIL: Campbell

There is a potential threat that ISIL can establish a credible presence in Afghanistan, a top American commander told lawmakers on Wednesday, adding that the US remain cognizant of this latent danger.

“For now, we assess that there is a potential threat that ISIL can establish a credible presence in Afghanistan. We remain cognizant of this latent danger and we will continue to monitor it,” General John Campbell, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Campbell said the US is keeping its eye on the potential emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Afghanistan. “ISIL has become one of my Priority Intelligence Requirements. Thus far, we have seen some evidence of limited recruiting efforts, and a few Taliban have rebranded themselves as ISIL,” he said.

“Additionally, the budding presence of ISIL in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas also offers another opportunity for both countries to work together,” he said.

Campbell said the new Afghan National Unity Government will have to overcome considerable political pressures and obstacles as President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah determine how they will distribute power and responsibilities.

He also praised the efforts of Af Pak leadership in improving ties. “Pointedly, General Raheel, Chief of the Pakistan Army Staff, stated during his recent visit to Kabul, “The enemies of Afghanistan are the enemies of Pakistan.” This sentiment had never been expressed publically before and left a meaningful impact upon the Afghan senior leadership,” he said. (PAN)

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