Russian intelligence says ISIS and Taliban amassing on Afghan border for invasion of Central Asia
Nick Gutteridge reports for the UK Express, that Russian intelligence claims that huge numbers of Islamist fighters — ISIS and Taliban — are massing on Afghanistan’s northern border, ready for an invasion of central Asia.
Speaking at a meeting of special services from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Moscow’s spy chief Alexander Bortnikov warned that heavily-armed Taliban fighters, many of whom have pledged allegiance to ISIS or the Islamic State, are prepared to pass through porous border controls.
After being pegged back in Syria by Russian airstrikes, with its economy is ailing and its command structure close to collapse, the Islamic State could be trying to open up a new front to the north of its territories by invading the former Soviet states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in Central Asia, which are still beholden to Moscow. The jihadists would also secure control of lucrative drug trafficking routes taking raw opium from Afghanistan to be sold as heroin on the streets of Russia and Europe.
“The international community has now hit a new geopolitical challenge, an international criminal group in the name of the Islamic State. This project, which grew out of the ‘Arab Spring,’ has gained momentum thanks to the double standards of certain world regional powers by using ‘a terrorist battering ram’ to reach their own strategic goals in Asia and Africa.
According to our estimates, citizens from more than 100 countries are currently fighting in the ranks of terrorist structures and the recruits constitute up to 40 percent of their forces.
The escalation in tensions in Afghanistan has brought on serious dangers. There are numerous criminal groups included in the Taliban movement on the northern borders of this country right now. Some of them have also begun operating under the Islamic State flag, which has led to a sharp rise in the threat of terrorists invading Central Asia.“
ISIS has been looking to grow its presence in Asia and has active cells in India, Pakistan and Malaysia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month called the situation in Afghanistan “close to critical” and called on other ex-Soviet nations to be prepared to act together to repel a possible attack by ISIS.
H/t Joseph F.
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