SOCOM Commander Richard Clarke spoke at the Halifax International Security Forum last Friday about how the approach to counterterrorism operations has changed in the months since withdrawing from Afghanistan.
President Biden and the Defense Department have touted the potential of “over-the-horizon” operations, but Clarke maintained that locating threats has become more difficult in the months since exiting the country.
The political and diplomatic differences between ISIS and the Taliban led to the belief by some that the US may be able to work off of Taliban intelligence to continue counter terror and insurgency operations, but Clarke adamantly disagrees.
ISIS-K, the variant specific to Afghanistan that originated in Jordan, Syria, and Iraq has only grown bolder since it became clear the US would vacate the territory. There still exists plenty of intel sources on the ground in Afghanistan the US can make use of, but the truth is that it will be harder to track and disrupt ISIS-K activities without a substantial presence.