Alwaght- Iranian and Russian security chiefs expressed concerns over deliberate relocation of ISIS terrorist group’s remnants from their former bastions in Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan.
Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council, made the remarks at the second edition of the Regional Security Dialogue conference in Tehran on Wednesday.
The event was also being attended by top security officials of China, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“Since ISIS defeat in Iraq and Syria, one of the [pressing] security concerns has been the relocation of the defeated ISIS elements from the two countries to Afghanistan,” Shamkhani said.
The purpose behind the relocation is providing the terror group with a base for planning, organizing and carrying out acts of terror against the Central Asian country and its neighbors, he added.
He named terrorism and radicalism as the most serious challenges facing the region, saying the presence of extra-regional forces in regional states are fueling such threats.
Patrushev, for his part, said Afghanistan currently is home to between 2,500 and 4,000 ISIS terrorists.
The Russian official, meanwhile, pointed the finger at the US for relocating ISIS terrorists to Afghanistan.
This is not the first time that the alarm has been set off about the outfit’s presence in the war-torn country, as well as Washington’s role in transferring its members there.
Observers put the blame for the group’s emergence on the chaos that ensued the US 2003 invasion of Iraq. The group has also been operational in parts of Afghanistan, where close to two decades of US-led military presence has been followed by unremitting militancy.
The Russian official said despite the long-drawn-out US presence, Afghanistan has come to experience more violence.
Washington has no clear-cut plans to leave Afghanistan, he said, adding that the US leadership is of mixed opinions about a potential pullout.
Patrushev dismissed Washington’s attempts at engaging the Taliban as diversionary and ineffectual, saying the only way out of Afghanistan’s current woes is through direct and unconditional talks between the militant group and Kabul.
He, meanwhile, referred to an increase in drug production and supply in Afghanistan as one of the principal sources of funding terrorism, and said around $600 million in drug deal proceeds are funneled to terrorist outfits in the region each year.