Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently attended a defense ministerial in Denmark with members of the global coalition against ISIS to discuss how to defeat the group. In a press conference following the meeting, Secretary Mattis said, “We're going to further accelerate this fight and to free the people currently suffering from Daesh's crushing occupation and our enemy's terror threat to Europe and beyond.”
Denmark’s Defense Minister Claus Hjort Fredericksen described the effort to defeat ISIS as one of Denmark’s highest priorities, and agreed to substantially increase the country’s defense budget to aid in the counter-ISIS campaign.
ISIS has lost well over half its territory in Iraq and in Syria. In Afghanistan, the enemy has lost about two-thirds of its strength.
Moreover, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently announced the death of the Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the Emir of ISIS-Khorasan, an affiliate of ISIS in Afghanistan. “In our anti-ISIS campaign,” said Secretary Mattis, “we are dealing that group one more significant blow with the loss of their leader.”
Secretary Mattis cautioned that the battlefield against ISIS is also a humanitarian issue where “innocent people live right now, sometimes forced to stay on the battlefield by ISIS. We're doing everything humanly possible to limit the suffering and any casualties among those innocent people,” he said.
Once the ISIS threat is subdued, said Secretary Mattis, the real work of rebuilding begins in order to prevent another terrorist group from filling the void. “And how do we do that? Bottom line is we've got to restore government services, and that means we all have to work together.”
ISIS has done horrible damage, said Secretary Mattis. That’s why the U.S. is committed to working with its allies “to defeat [ISIS] wherever it attempts to establish its roots.”