CNN Airs Interview Clarissa Ward Conducted With ISIS-K Commander Two Weeks Before Kabul Attack


CNN aired an exclusive interview Clarissa Ward landed with a commander from ISIS-K, the Afghanistan offshoot of ISIS. She conducted the interview two weeks before the group carried out a suicide attack outside the Abbey Gate leading into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, and just days before the Taliban captured the city.

The commander said he’s commanded up to 600 men, including Indians and Pakistanis. He used to fight with the Taliban, but now says they’ve come under the sway of foreign influence.

This exchange was particularly noteworthy:

COMMANDER: We were operating in Taliban’s ranks. However, these people were not aligned with us in terms of belief, so we went to ISIS.

WARD: Do you think they’re not strict enough with their implementation of sharia?

COMMANDER: You see, they can’t present one example where they have enforced fixed Islamic law punishment, where they have cut off a thief’s hand, have stoned to death an adulterer, have stoned to death a murderer. They cannot enforce fixed Islamic law punishments because they are under other people’s control, and they implement their plans. So we do not want to implement someone else’s plans, and we only want to enforce sharia. If anyone gets along with us on this, he is our brother. Otherwise, we declare war with him whether he is Talib or anyone else.

WARD: So, have you carried public executions, suicide bombings, things of this nature?

COMMANDER: Yes. I have too many memories where I was present myself at these scenes. One memory is that the Pakistani Taliban had come to the Nazyan District, and during the fighting we capture five people. Our fighters became overexcited and we struck them with axes.

At one point, Ward asked, “Has your group engaged in any fighting with U.S. Special Forces?”

“Yes,” he replied. “We have faced them on many occasions. We had close combat with them, too.”

Ward asked the commander, “Are you interested ultimately in carrying out international attacks?”

“This point is higher than my level,” he said. “I can only give you information about Afghanistan.”

The commander said be thinks the departure of U.S. forces from the country will make it easier for ISIS-K to expand.

After CNN aired the interview, Anderson Cooper asked Ward, “Why did the commander of ISIS-K agree to sit down and speak with a woman?”

“It’s important for our viewers to understand that there’s always a lot of hypocrisy,” she said of ISIS-K’s views toward women.

“I’ve experienced it many times before,” she said. “What they say and what they do are very different.”

Watch above via CNN.

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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.