Retired general warns of ‘inevitable’ ISIS attacks in US after Moscow incident

The former leader of U.S. Central Command cautioned that ISIS’s intention to attack the United States and other countries appears to be strengthening.

Retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, in an interview with ABC News’ “This Week,” emphasized the importance of taking the group’s threats seriously. “The threat is growing,” McKenzie stated, referencing recent ISIS-K claims of responsibility for a deadly assault in Moscow that killed over 140 people last month and a mass bombing in Iran in January.

According to McKenzie, the risk escalated following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, which reduced pressure on ISIS-K. “I think we should expect further attempts of this nature against the United States as well as our partners and other nations abroad. I think this is inevitable,” he added.

McKenzie, who oversaw U.S. forces in the Middle East and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, argued that maintaining a small U.S. military presence there, instead of a complete pullout, might have prevented such escalations.

President Joe Biden has mentioned an “over-the-horizon capability” for quick and decisive action in Afghanistan, even without troops on the ground. However, McKenzie countered that the U.S. now has “almost no ability to see into that country and almost no ability to strike into that country,” benefiting ISIS and similar groups.

“If you can keep pressure on them … in their homeland and their base, it makes it hard for them to conduct these types of attacks,” McKenzie explained. He suggested that a small, sustained presence in Afghanistan might have kept the region safer.

The March 22 attack in Moscow underlines the capability of terror groups to regroup and execute large-scale operations. McKenzie noted that while such efforts are more detectable, the U.S. had warned Russia of a potential terror plot before the attack.

Following the Moscow incident, a U.S. counter-terrorism official expressed concerns to the New York Post about ISIS-K’s potential to exploit vulnerabilities at the U.S. borders and stage similar attacks.

“An attack on U.S. soil is definitely a possibility,” the official stated. “It would certainly send a message.”

McKenzie’s remarks also follow recent warnings by European leaders about the prospect of war.