Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan have returned to tunnels targeted by the U.S. military in late April with the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal, The New York Times reports.
The weapon, known as the “mother of all bombs” for its awesome destructive power, killed approximately 100 fighters deep inside ISIS territory and was hailed a major victory against the terrorist group. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), however, were reportedly deeply reluctant to go into the ISIS-held territory, citing the terrorists tenacity.
“They’re there today.” U.S. Army Maj. Richard Anderson, an operations advisor told TheNYT. Anderson noted the resilience of the terrorist group and its willingness to re-occupy an area so aggressively targeted by the U.S. and the Afghan National Security Forces.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of ISIS. We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem,” Pentagon chief spokesman Dana White recently told Voice of America.
ISIS in Afghanistan has morphed from a nascent band of militants in 2015 to a full fledged threat in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The group controls a relatively small amount of territory but has used it to launch multiple complex attacks on the capital city of Kabul, killing hundreds with its brutal tactics. Several U.S. troops have also died in Nangarhar province in recent months on missions targeting the terrorist group.
ISIS is just a small facet of the problem facing the U.S. and ANSF in the Afghan war. Taliban insurgents control more territory in Afghanistan than at any time since the war began in 2001, and the Afghan National Security Forces are suffering historic casualties.
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