US, Partner Nations Fighting ISIS Growth in the Pacific

The US and partner nations across the Pacific need to prepare for an influx of ISIS-supporting militants as they lose ground in Iraq and Syria, the top US military leader in the region said. Adm. Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, said he has seen “soft numbers” showing about 3,000 ISIS fighters from Pacific countries that have gone to Iraq and Syria, and will likely return home “radicalized” and “weaponized.” “We’re not killing all of them,” Harris said Tuesday at a Defense One event in Washington, D.C. “We’re killing a bunch of ‘em. Those we don’t kill are going to go home.” The US has been working with countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Bangladesh to respond to this threat, including sending special operations forces to the region to assist in combating ISIS-affiliated fighters. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in early October, said ISIS will grow in Southeast Asia and pressed member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to meet next year to develop counterterrorism methods to fight the growth.