US General Sees Afghanistan ‘Deteriorating’

Washington, D.C. The U.S. Army general picked to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan warns the security situation there is deteriorating despite a valiant effort by Afghan forces.

Lieutenant-General John “Mick” Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida continue to see Afghanistan as an attractive sanctuary. He warned the U.S. may need to take a more aggressive approach.

“We still see attempts by terrorist organizations to get into Afghanistan,” Nicholson said.  “Do we have the right level of CT [counterterrorism] capability to deal with that?”

Of particular concern to U.S. military and intelligence officials is the spread of the Islamic State group, which has sought to establish a sanctuary in Nangarhar province, and a resurgent al-Qaida in Kandahar province.

The Taliban have also re-emerged as a threat, briefly seizing the northern city of Kunduz last year while also taking key districts in Helmand province. There are concerns, too, that the Taliban have hopes of retaking their spiritual home in Kandahar.

Nicholson assured lawmakers he would not let the U.S. sit idly by.

“We need to prevent Kandahar from falling into the hands of the Taliban,” Nicholson said, adding he would “absolutely” recommend using U.S. military force to prevent the Taliban from retaking the provincial capital.

If approved by lawmakers, Nicholson would take over as the commander for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from Gen. John Campbell, who is expected to retire.

Source- Voice of America

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