Meeting with troops at Fort Bragg in the U.S on Wednesday, the United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said eliminating Daesh was key to securing America.
“Sooner we destroy both the fact and the idea of an Islamic state based on ISIL’s (Daesh’s) barbaric ideology, the safer America will be,” Carter said.
“But while defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria is necessary, it’s also important to remember that’s not sufficient. We know this cancer can metastasize, and in some cases it already has. We see that in multiple countries, like Afghanistan and Libya where we continue to do what we can to support our partners as they take on the ISIL threat in their countries and do our part to take on ISIL wherever it might exist.”
He also said: “Just to be clear, we’re doing that now. And that’s absolutely necessary. You — you see that most recently in Afghanistan. Some of those are guys that have relocated to there; some of those are guys that are just rebranding themselves, as ISIL.”
This comes as the U.S military steps up its fight in Afghanistan. This week the U.S said it was bringing in troops to fight Daesh in eastern parts of the country.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the head of the U.S-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, is making use of a special authority given to him recently by U.S President Barack Obama to bring in additional assets, including ground forces, for short-term counterterrorism operations.
He would not say how many extra troops had entered Afghanistan, or the timing of their arrival, but said operations were ongoing.
Daesh first emerged in districts of eastern Nangarhar province as foreign forces were withdrawing in 2014. Since then, the militant group has sought to expand its presence and recruit more fighters.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government on Thursday said steady progress has been made by the security forces in their fight against Daesh in Nangarhar.
Officials at the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that currently military operations are underway against Daesh in Achin, Nazyaan, Haskameena and Spinghar districts of the province.
They said these operations will continue until the areas are cleared of the insurgent group. On Tuesday, security forces managed to clear Kot district of Daesh.
The MoD says that in the past two weeks, 27 Daesh safe havens have been destroyed in the province.
The officials believe that hundreds of insurgents were killed or injured during the operation while 24 other insurgents were arrested.
“Pakistan was also asked to take similar steps and not allow Daesh to operate against Afghanistan from inside Pakistan,” said MoD spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
“Majority of them were members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) including Tehreek Jaish Mohammadi and several other groups which are serious threats to Afghanistan,” said MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
Two weeks ago, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the Afghan security forces to destroy Daesh in the upcoming weeks in the country.