Around 5,000 militants belong to the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) have been amassing in northern Afghanistan near the border with post-Soviet republics of Central Asia,The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has warned.
FSB chief Aleksandr Bortnikov spoke on May 21 during a visit to Tajikistan, which shares a long border with Afghanistan.
“Especially worrying is re-deployment of terrorist groups into northern provinces of Afghanistan,” Alexander Bortnikov told chiefs of ex-Soviet intelligence services in Dushanbe. He warned that ‘Wilayat Khorasan’, a local Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) affiliate, had managed to gather 5,000 fighters in the area, many of them have fought in Syria.
ISIS terrorists have suffered a series of defeats in Syria and Iraq, but they still remain a danger. “Now they are trying to regroup in areas which Syrian government doesn’t control, or hide out in refugee camps,” the FSB chief noted.
Another alarming trend is that terrorist groups are relocating their forces to other parts of the world, including Northern Africa and Southeast Asia.
Moscow has been expressing concern about an ISIS spillover into Central Asia for years.
The Islamic State (Daesh) has been active in Afghanistan since 2015, fighting the Taliban as well as Afghan and U.S. forces.