US Military Chief: 'We Have Not Contained' Daesh
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The United States has "not contained" the ISIL (Daesh) terrorists in Iraq and Syria, the country’s top military officer said, contradicting President Obama's remarks last month about the terror group.
"We have not contained" ISIL, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, The Hill reported.
The comment runs counter to what Obama said days before ISIL launched a string of attacks across Paris.
"I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them," Obama told ABC News.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, later said the president's remarks applied specifically to Iraq and Syria.
Dunford said ISIL has been "tactically" contained in areas they have been since 2010 but added, "Strategically they have spread since 2010."
His remarks were in response to questioning by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on whether ISIL has been contained at any time since 2010.
Dunford added that ISIL posed a threat beyond Iraq and Syria to countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon and Jordan.
Forbes also got Dunford to disagree with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who testified alongside him.
Carter had declared during his opening statement that "we're at war" with ISIL.
Forbes pressed Dunford whether the US was at war with ISIL, and who declared that war.
"We are technically not at war," Dunford replied.