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US intelligence officials highlight China, Russia, cyberattacks, pandemics, and climate change as the biggest threats facing the United States. Islamic extremist terrorism, once a major concern after 9/11, has decreased in importance. However, recent attacks by groups like ISIS-K, such as the one in Moscow that killed 133 people, serve as reminders of the ongoing terrorism threat. ISIS-K has emerged as a significant terrorist organization, responsible for attacks in various countries and with aspirations to target Europe and the US.

Despite the defeat of the core ISIS group in Syria, remnants of the organization have regrouped under ISIS-K, operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Estimates suggest that ISIS-K has thousands of members in Afghanistan alone. American defense officials continue to monitor the activities of ISIS-K, with concerns about potential attacks on US and Western interests. While intelligence capabilities have allowed for warnings to be issued to countries like Iran and Russia, there is still a fear of lone extremist attacks that may go undetected.

Islamic State in Khorasan was established by defectors from the Pakistani Taliban in 2015. The group includes individuals from various backgrounds and is currently engaged in conflicts with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Despite the threat posed by ISIS-K, the organization is facing pressure from the Taliban regime which may limit its ability to carry out attacks in the West. Nevertheless, there have been plots disrupted in Europe involving individuals linked to ISIS-K, highlighting the continued threat posed by the group.

Experts point out that Russia, with its history of involvement in conflicts in Muslim-majority regions like Chechnya and Syria, has long been a target for jihadi groups. Recent attacks in Russia, such as the one in Moscow, demonstrate the ongoing threat of terrorism. U.S. officials remain vigilant in monitoring the activities of groups like ISIS-K and are focused on preventing attacks on American interests. The ability to issue warnings and detect potential plots remains a crucial aspect of the US counterterrorism strategy.

The conflict between ISIS-K and the Taliban in Afghanistan presents a complex situation that may impact the ability of ISIS-K to carry out attacks in the West. American defense officials emphasize the need for continued monitoring and intelligence gathering to prevent potential terrorist activities. While significant progress has been made in disrupting plots and issuing warnings, there is still concern about the potential for lone extremist attacks that may not be detected. Overall, the threat of terrorism, particularly from groups like ISIS-K, continues to be a top priority for US defense and intelligence agencies.

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