Gen. McKenzie Cites Withdrawal from Afghanistan as Boon to ISIS Capabilities

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, arrives at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan on August 17, 2021. | Source:



Former U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie highlighted the escalating threat ISIS poses to the U.S. homeland, attributing the intensification to the current administration’s foreign policy decisions. His analysis draws from the recent alarming surge in ISIS activities and the strategic missteps in Afghanistan.

Why It Matters

The resurgence of ISIS underlines the critical importance of sustained military pressure and intelligence capabilities abroad to protect American soil—a principle deeply valued in conservative thought for maintaining national security.

Who It Impacts

This issue directly affects American citizens, whose safety is compromised by the growing capability of ISIS to conduct attacks on U.S. soil, underscoring the need for a robust and proactive defense strategy.

In a candid interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, expressed grave concerns over the burgeoning threat ISIS poses to the United States, exacerbated by recent policy decisions. His comments were in response to queries about the ISIS attack in Moscow and echoed the warnings of his successor, Gen. Michael Kurilla, about ISIS-K’s capability to strike U.S. and Western interests with minimal warning. McKenzie concurred with Kurilla’s assessment, emphasizing the diminished pressure on ISIS as a critical lapse allowing the terrorist organization to strengthen and plan attacks with greater ease.

The interview delved into the ramifications of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a move McKenzie critiqued for its chaotic nature and its role in bolstering ISIS’s resolve and operational capacity. He argued that maintaining a minimal U.S. troop presence, as he had recommended, would have significantly altered the current security landscape. This stance supports the notion that a sustained, albeit limited, military footprint alongside NATO allies could have continued to stifle ISIS’s ambitions and capabilities.

McKenzie’s analysis further highlighted the strategic blunders in Afghanistan, particularly the loss of critical surveillance and strike capabilities against ISIS. The vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal has allowed ISIS to flourish unchecked, compounding the threat to U.S. homeland security. This situation, he warned, was a direct consequence of policy decisions that underestimated the importance of local security forces and international cooperation in combating terrorism.

The conversation with McKenzie illuminated the complex dynamics of counterterrorism strategy and the inherent risks of underestimating or inadequately addressing the threat posed by organizations like ISIS. He painted a stark picture of the security challenges facing the United States, emphasizing the inevitability of ISIS’s attempts to strike both the U.S. and its allies. This sobering outlook serves as a reminder of the persistent and evolving nature of the terrorist threat.

The insights provided by Gen. McKenzie underscore the critical importance of a robust and strategic approach to counterterrorism, one that ensures the safety of American citizens by preventing the resurgence of global terrorist networks. His expert analysis not only highlights the immediate concerns stemming from the current administration’s foreign policy decisions but also stresses the long-term implications of failing to maintain pressure on terrorist groups. This perspective, rooted in a pragmatic understanding of national security challenges, calls for a reassessment of strategies to safeguard American interests and uphold global stability.