The Khorasan group of ISIS, or the ISIS-K, had attempted a suicide attack in India last year, a top US official informed lawmakers on Tuesday. The ISIS-K operates in South Asia and according to Russel Travers, Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Office of Director of National Intelligence, ISIS-K concerns the US the most among all of its other branches.
“Of all of the branches and networks of ISIS, ISIS-K is certainly one of those of most concern, probably in the neighbourhood of 4,000 individuals or so,” Travers said in response to a question from Maggie Hassan, the junior Senator from New Hampshire. “They have attempted to certainly inspire attacks outside of Afghanistan. They attempted last year to conduct a suicide attack in India. It failed,” he added.
Travers further said that two years ago, ISIS-K had made an attempt to perpetrate an attack on US soil but the FBI prevented it. Furthermore, he told the lawmakers that by any calculation, there are more radicalized individuals now than there were at the time of 9/11.
“Eighteen years later, we face a homegrown violent extremist threat, almost 20 ISIS branches and networks that range from tens to hundreds to thousands of people, al-Qaeda and its branches and affiliates, foreign fighters that flocked to Iraq and Syria from well over 100 countries, Iran and its proxies, and there is a growing terrorist threat from racially and ethnically motivated extremists around the globe,” he said.
“This highlights the importance of terrorism prevention. While some aspects of the threat can only be dealt with through kinetic operations, the residents of the ideology will not be dealt with by military or law enforcement operations alone. The world has a lot of work to do in the non-kinetic realm to deal with radicalisation and underlying causes,” Travers added.
The ISIS-K is mainly active in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but its area of operation covers entire South Asia, including India. Historically, the Khorasan region encompasses parts of modern-day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.