IS getting stronger in northern Afghanistan posing threat to SCO states, FSB official says

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TASHKENT, March 15. /TASS/. The Islamic State (IS) international terror group (outlawed in Russia) is growing stronger in northern Afghanistan, and this is a major threat to the regional security of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-countries, Sergei Smirnov, Chairman of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Council and First Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), told reporters.

“Terror groups have intensified their subversive and terrorist activities and consolidated their positions in Afghanistan’s northern districts [bordering SCO countries]. Armed incidents on the border have become more frequent. Taking into account its losses in Syria and Iraq, ISIL (former name of the IS – TASS) has to search for ways of creating the caliphate’s new strongholds. The fact that ISIL is getting stronger in northern Afghanistan can pose a major threat to regional security in the near future,” Smirnov said after a meeting of the RATS Council in Tashkent.

Smirnov stressed that the high activity of international terror groups’ members continued to be the key factor leading to the destabilization of the situation in the SCO space. “The groups designated as terrorist, including ISIL, the Taliban movement, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and others, pose the biggest threat to our countries,” he noted.

“These and other elements of changing the nature of threats to peace and stability in the SCO member-states are identified by our organization (RATS SCO – TASS) in the course of monitoring. Additional adequate response measures based on analysis and coordination with the competent authorities of the SCO states have been devised, which made it possible to adapt the regional security system to the changing realities and ensure its viability,” Smirnov added.

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