Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan terror group being held in Afghanistan will be prosecuted for their crimes, the commander of U.S. Central Command told Pentagon reporters today.
Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel also said ISIS-K is “not reconcilable” and must be eradicated. The group is an offshoot of ISIS operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it has claimed responsibility for terror bombings in both nations.
Some 200 ISIS-K fighters surrendered to Afghan forces. “The government of Afghanistan has assured us these ISIS-K fighters will be treated as war prisoners,” Votel said. The ISIS fighters will be investigated and held to account for any war crimes they were found to have committed, he added.
“I want to highlight that the fight to eradicate ISIS-K being conducted by the United States and our Afghan partners continues,” the general said. “We’ve killed numerous ISIS-K fighters this year, and as you may remember, we continued operations against other terrorist organizations like al-Qaida during the recent Eid cease-fire between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.”
Votel stressed that the military campaign against ISIS has been continuous and effective, and that it was, in part, responsible for the surrender of the group in the first place.
Forces in Afghanistan are applying military pressure on the Taliban to convince them to enter talks toward reconciliation with the Afghan government, he noted. “We have no illusions about reconciliation with ISIS-K,” Votel said. “Our mission is to destroy this organization.”