USIP report warns of rising terrorist threats from Afghanistan, Pakistan

The U.S. Institute of Peace said that a report of its senior study group on counter-terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan set to be released on May 14 has urged Washington to be prepared for increasing terrorist threats from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The findings identify dominant terrorist threats, the stakes of these threats for U.S. interests, and policy options for the United States,” the institute stated.

Tricia Bacon, a member of the study group, highlighted the Afghanistan-based affiliate of the Islamic State, ISIS Khorasan (ISIS-K), also known as Daesh Khorasan, as the key terrorist threat in the region. “Although the Taliban has incentives to counter ISIS-K, its continued attacks outside Afghanistan show it is either unable or unwilling to fulfill its commitments under the U.S.-Taliban Doha agreement to prevent terrorism from emanating from Afghanistan,” she said.

Michael P. McKinley, another study group member, noted that terrorist groups supported by the Taliban in South and Central Asia pose challenges to broader U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Joshua White, a USIP expert, suggested that if the U.S. resumes direct action in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it should apply lessons learned to avoid and minimize civilian casualties.