10,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan trained to expand to Central Asia, Russia

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Rest of World
Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The ISIS terrorist group has dramatically increased its presence in Afghanistan and is preparing to expand into other Central Asian countries and Russia, a senior Russian diplomat warned.

The presence of ISIS in Afghanistan, is a significant security threat, said Zamir Kabulov, the head of the Asia and Middle East department of the Russian foreign ministry, who also serves as special envoy of the Russian president to Afghanistan.

“There are now 10,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan. A year ago there was a hundred. This growth over a year is spectacular,” he said.

“The Afghan branch of ISIS is definitely specialized against Central Asia. Russian is even one of their working languages,” Kabulov added. “They are being trained against Central Asia and Russia.”

Last October, Kabulov estimated the strength of ISIS in Afghanistan at 3,500, but said the number was rapidly growing. Many of the fighters are not new arrivals but rather Afghan militant groups, who pledged allegiance to IS, which originated in Iraq, but had expanded into neighboring Syria and some other countries, most notably Afghanistan and Libya.

Moscow believes that Afghan government forces are either unable or unwilling to fight IS-affiliated groups, focusing whatever resources they have on opposing the militant group Taliban. The Taliban suffered from ISIS advancement too, losing men, lands and influence to the group.

Russia sees the weakness of Kabul as a major failure of the United States, which occupied Afghanistan in 2001, but couldn’t ensure its transition into a strong and stable nation.

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