An ISIS-K commander told CNN's Clarissa Ward two weeks ago that the group was waiting for a time to strike and for the United States and other forces to leave Afghanistan.
“When the foreigners and people of the world leave Afghanistan, we can restart our operations,” the commander, whose identity was concealed but asked to be called Abdul Munir, told Ward, CNN's chief international correspondent, reports The Hill.
The interview first aired on Friday, but Ward spoke with the commander in the days before the Taliban officially seized Kabul. At that time, he told her that ISIS-K was "laying low and waiting for a time to strike," and that it has been recruiting members.
The man also told Ward that he's led groups of up to 600 men that include Pakistanis and Indians, and that he used to fight for the Taliban but now he believes the group has become more moderate.
“We were operating in Taliban’s ranks. However, these people were not aligned with us in terms of belief, so we went to ISIS,” he said. "If anyone gets along with us on this, he is our brother. Otherwise, we declare war with him whether he is Talib or anyone else.”
He also confirmed that the militants with ISIS-K have had "close combat" with U.S. Special Forces "on many occasions" and that the insurgents have carried out suicide bombings and public executions.
However, when Ward asked the man if ISIS-K is interested in eventually carrying out attacks internationally, he said he can only comment on Afghanistan.
CNN aired the interview one day after a suicide bomber carried out the deadly attack at the Kabul airport that claimed the lives of almost 200 people, including 13 U.S. service members.
U.S. Central Command announced Friday that it had killed an ISIS-K planner after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
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