President Obama’s envoy to the global coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) predicted on Wednesday that defeating the terrorist group could take a generation or more.
“This will be a long campaign,” Allen said at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar.
“Defeating Daesh’s ideology will likely take a generation or more,” he said, using the Arabic name for ISIS, according to the Times.
“But we can and we must rise to this challenge,” he added. “In an age when we are more interconnected than at any other time in human history, Daesh is a global threat.”
The Times also reported that Allen noted ISIS presents such a dire threat given the group’s savagery against its targets.
“As someone who has spent nearly four decades as a United States Marine, I have come closer than many to the reality of inhumanity,” he said.
“But I have never seen before the kinds of depravity and brutality in this region that ISIL represents, and, in fact, that ISIL celebrates,” Allen said, using an alternate acronym for the radical Islamist organization.
Allen additionally said that, if left unchallenged, ISIS could “wreck havoc on the progress of humanity.”
Despite this, he acknowledged that the U.S. and other coalition nations had achieved some success disrupting ISIS’s finances, the Times reported.
“We are sharing information to block their assets to the global financial system,” Allen said. “We are uncovering their points of access in the region and abroad for financial report.”
Coalition forces suffered a major defeat last month when ISIS seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
The Pentagon has since argued with the Iraqi government over who deserves blame for ISIS’s victory.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Iraq’s military did not show the resolve necessary for defending Ramadi.
“What happened at Ramadi is the failure of the Iraqi forces to fight,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi subsequently dismissed those claims.
“I am sure he was fed with the wrong information,” al-Abadi said of Carter’s remarks during an interview with the BBC.