Moscow warns of risk of IS penetration from Afghanistan to Central Asia

BISHKEK (TCA) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the United States and NATO have been trying to downplay the existence of Daesh (Islamic State) militants in Afghanistan, TOLOnews reported.

“We are alarmed as unfortunately, the US and NATO military in Afghanistan makes every effort to silence and deny [the Daesh group’s presence in Afghanistan],” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif in Moscow on February 20.

He said that Russia was skeptical about US and NATO’s resolve to eliminate Daesh in the country.

“We have very serious suspicions over the measures that the NATO coalition in Afghanistan is using to curb this threat,” he said.

“According to our data, the IS presence in northern and eastern Afghanistan is rather serious, there are already thousands of gunmen,” Lavrov said. “This increases the risk of the terrorists’ penetration to Central Asia and it is not that difficult to get to Russia.”

Lavrov stressed the need to step up efforts to prevent this scenario.

“Increasing presence of Daesh and locating its camps close to borders of Pakistan and Central Asian republics is a cause for common concern. In this context, we share Russian concerns about unchecked proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.

“The presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan has achieved nothing over the last seventeen years. They have seen monumental failures in Afghanistan and there is an effort to (blame) Pakistan and other countries for these failures. We have rejected these baseless allegations,” he added.

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Times of Central Asia