ISIS is gaining momentum and strengthening its positions in northern Afghanistan, as a result of the general deterioration of the situation in the country, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev said on December 18th.
Patrushev is attending a meeting of secretaries of security councils and national security advisers in Afghanistan taking place in Tehran, Iran.
“The main efforts of the ISIS militants are focused on consolidating their presence in northern Afghanistan, where over 2,000 militants are already concentrated, to counter the Taliban and prepare a bridgehead for invading the Central Asian region through Tajikistan and Turkmenistan,” Patrushev said.
The ultimate goal of the militants is to create the so-called Great Khorasan, which includes the territories of Afghanistan and the countries of Central Asia.
“According to the available information, the primary objectives of the ISIS militants may be to target locations of critical infrastructure, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic missions, as well as foreign citizens,” said the Secretary of the Russian Security Council.
Patrushev noted that, despite the recent successful operation of government forces, which resulted in the elimination or capture of more than 600 militants, the total number of ISIS militants in Afghanistan is between 2,500 and 4,000. According to intelligence agencies, the stronghold of this terrorist group is located in eastern provinces of the country, Patrushev explained.
“The number of terrorists there exceeds 1,500 and continues to increase, including jihadists arriving from Syria and Iraq mainly through Pakistan,” Patrushev said.
As it has become rather fashionable in recent years, to announced that ISIS was defeated, while it, in reality, hasn’t been. On November 19th, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the defeat of the ISIS terrorist group in Afghanistan, noting that this was an achievement for the region as a whole.
Afghanistan Minister of Internal Affairs Masoud Andarabi, too, reported that ISIS was defeated in Afghanistan. He emphasized that small ISIS cells were being eliminated by Afghan forces, and militants retreating to other provinces would be eliminated.
Separately, a terrorist cell was created in a prison in Russia’s Kalmykia. This was reported by the official representative of the prison Svetlana Petrenko.
“A criminal case has been opened in the Main Investigative Directorate of the RF IC in the North Caucasus Federal District against 22 persons under Part 1 and Part 2 of Article 205.4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Creating and Participating in a Terrorist Community”),” Petrenko said.
According to the investigation, around 2013, a prisoner sentenced in the prison in Kalmykia, a native of Dagestan created a terrorist community. It included more than 100 convicts.
Searches were conducted at the places of residence of the suspects and their loved ones, as well as in the office of the first deputy head of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Republic of Kalmykia.
Investigators also carried out large-scale operations in the region, as well as in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, the Krasnodar Territory and the Volgograd Region.
Earlier in the Rostov region, FSB officers detained two members of ISIS. The special services came onto their trail in the course of working out relations with the Rostov terrorist cell liquidated in April 2018. When detained, security forces discovered explosives, detonators and ammunition.
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