Just how big a threat exactly is the Khorasan group, the previously unknown terrorist organization that intelligence officials unveiled – conveniently enough, many critics note – on the eve of the US military bombings in Syria?
The group was first mentioned in an Associated Press article published Sept. 13, just days before the US military began its bombing campaign in Syria. One of the intended objectives of the bombing, US officials said, was to disrupt an “imminent” Khorasan group attack on the United States.
The AP article, citing unnamed sources, described this “band of extremists” as a “mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Europe,” which pose “a more direct and imminent threat to the United States."
Perhaps most important, US officials have been quick to emphasize the group’s links to Al Qaeda.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel noted that the US military “took action in Syria against the network of Al Qaeda veterans known as the Khorasan group,” in a Pentagon press briefing Friday, for example.