Security chiefs of Iran and Russia have warned about the deliberate relocation of remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terror group from their former Middle East bastions to Afghanistan.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), 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 Daesh’s defeat in Iraq and Syria, one of the [pressing] security concerns has been the relocation of the defeated Daesh 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 the region are fueling such threats.
Patrushev, for his part, said Afghanistan currently hosted between 2,500 and 4,000 Daesh terrorists.
The Russian official, meanwhile, said the US has been behind Daesh’s relocation 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, and Washington’s role in taking its members there.
Observers blame for the group’s emergence on the chaos that ensued the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. The group has also been trying to run rampant in 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 called Washington’s attempts at engaging the Taliban as a “diversionary and ineffectual path,” saying the only way out of Afghanistan’s current woes is direct and unconditional talks between the militant group and Kabul.
He, meanwhile, referred to the increase in drug production in Afghanistan as one of the principal sources of funding terrorism, and said around $600 million of the funds deriving from drug production and sales go to terrorist outfits in the region each year.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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