According to Anatoly Sidorov, the biggest threat to stability in Central Asia comes from numerous extremist groups that have gained a foothold in Afghanistan
MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. The number of members of the Afghan branch of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) has reached 6,500, with up to 4,000 militants concentrated near Tajikistan’s border, Chief of the Joint Staff of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“The number of members of the Islamic State’s Afghan branch, Wilayat Khorasan (outlawed in Russia), has significantly increased to about 6,500, with up to 4,000 militants concentrated along Tajikistan’s southern border in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz and Takhar,” he noted.
According to Sidorov, the biggest threat to stability in Central Asia comes from numerous extremist groups that have gained a foothold in Afghanistan. The Islamic State and Al-Qaeda (both outlawed in Russia) are the most dangerous ones, he added.
“Besides, the policy of oppressing ethnic and religious minorities adopted by the Taliban leadership (the Taliban movement is outlawed in Russia – TASS), as well as the lack of unity and growing discord among the Taliban movement, the deteriorating economic situation and the mounting humanitarian problems, contribute to the destabilization of the situation in the region,” Sidorov noted.
He also stressed that uncontrolled drug trafficking and illegal arms trade, in conjunction with the above-mentioned factors, increased the risk of Afghanistan plunging back into civil war.