Secretary of State Antony Blinken told U.S. allies Monday that the United States would continue fighting to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“We must reaffirm our commitment, including to Operation Inherent Resolve, the complementary NATO mission in Iraq, and to civilian-led counter-terrorism capacity building,” Blinken said at a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome. Critics argue that the Biden administration’s pledge to remove all American soldiers from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021 will lead to a strengthening of terrorist groups, since the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS all maintain presences in the country.
Pleased to meet with my fellow Foreign Ministers of the Global @Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome today. Our collective effort remains necessary to achieve a comprehensive and lasting defeat of ISIS worldwide. #OneMissionManyNations pic.twitter.com/0M12Rgxzvo
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 28, 2021
Blinken called for renewed financial assistance to Iraq and Syria, which he argues will prevent an ISIS resurgence.
“We set out to raise $670 million. I think we’re at close to $507 million now, so let’s keep going till we meet our goal. Additionally, I can announce today that the United States will provide another $436 million in humanitarian assistance to Syrians and the communities that host them, bringing the total U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to the Syria crisis to nearly $13.5 billion,” he said.
The Coalition is redirecting its attention to Sub-Saharan Africa, where it argues that new terrorist threats are likely to “threaten security and stability.” In accordance with that focus, Blinken announced that the United States is sanctioning Ousmane Illiassou Djibo, an ISIS leader from Niger who operates out of Mali.
Blinken also announced that the Central African Republic and Mauritania would join the anti-ISIS coalition.
Blinken also expressed concern that countries are not “repatriat[ing], rehabilitat[ing], and, where applicable, prosecut[ing] their citizens” who joined ISIS, calling the imprisonment of 10,000 terrorists in Syria “untenable.” He also praised Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Italy and Finland for repatriating ISIS terrorists.
The United States has reportedly aided the Taliban in fighting against ISIS, according to the Washington Post. Despite this fact, the Taliban is urging neighboring countries not to allow the United States to maintain bases. The last American troops will leave Afghanistan on Sept. 11, President Joe Biden announced in April.
Critics of Biden’s decision argue that removing all United States troops from Afghanistan will allow the Taliban to completely take over the country.
“Afghanistan could revert into a terrorist safe haven in which terrorists could plan and launch attacks,” Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said, shortly after Biden announced the withdrawal. (RELATED: Taliban Celebrates ‘Jihadist’ Victory As US Reportedly Plans To Hand Over Largest Base In Afghanistan To Afghan Forces)
Fox News host Chris Wallace noted in an interview with Director of National Intelligence Jake Sullivan that after President Barack Obama withdrew forces from Iraq in 2011, ISIS “ended up seizing 40 percent of the territory in Iraq, and the U.S. ended up having to send back 5,000 troops because they left too early.”
“I can’t make any guarantees about what will happen inside the country,” Sullivan responded.