The US has made a major disclosure after the death of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of the dreaded terrorist organisation ISIS. A top US official has told lawmakers that the Khorasan group of ISIS or ISIS(K) operating in southern Asia attempted a suicide attack in India last year. Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), said that, in fact, of all the branches of the terror outfit, ISIS(K) is the organisation that is of greatest concern to the US. “Of all of the branches and networks of ISIS, ISIS(K) is certainly one of those of most concern, probably in the neighbourhood of 4,000 individuals or so,” he said.
Travers said, when Indian-origin Senator Maggie Hassan asked about Khorasan faction’s ability to carry out terrorist attacks in the region, “They have certainly attempted attacks outside Afghanistan. He attempted a suicide attack in India last year but it failed.”
Hassan travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan last month, during which she said she first heard the concerns of the US military about the growing threat of ISIS(K), which is associated with ISIS in Afghanistan. “I heard clearly that ISIS(K) threatens not only US forces in Afghanistan, but also has designs on striking the US homeland,” Hassan said.
Last week, Travers had said that there were more than 20 branches of the terrorist organisation globally, some of which were using sophisticated technology such as drones to conduct operations. “Eighteen years later (since 9/11), we face a homegrown violent extremist threat, almost 20 ISIS branches and networks that range from tens to hundreds to thousands of people, al-Qaeda and its branches and affiliates, foreign fighters that flocked to Iraq and Syria from well over 100 countries, Iran and its proxies, and there is a growing terrorist threat from racially and ethnically motivated extremists around the globe,” he said.
Senator Hassan stated that despite America’s major victories against the terrorist organisation in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist organisation remains a deadly threat to the United States.
Travers said that ISIS(K) tried to attack New York, too, a few years ago but the FBI intervened and foiled the attempt. He said that in 2017 there was an attack by the group in Stockholm in which five people died. “They have attempted to certainly inspire attacks outside of Afghanistan. They attempted last year to conduct a suicide attack in India. It failed,” Travers said.