The terror group Islamic State in Afghanistan or Daesh has over 10,000 fighters in Afghanistan and the U.S. may be underestimating their threat, said a Russian Special Envoy.
According to Zamir Kabulov, the head of the Middle East department in the Russian Foreign Ministry, many of the Daesh fighters who have fled Iraq and Syria, ended up in Afghanistan where based on Mr. Kabulov estimation, the terror group has as many as 10,000 troops.
“Russia was among the first nations to ring alarm about the expansion of IS into Afghanistan,” he told RIA Novosti. “Lately IS has boosted its presence in the country. Our estimate is that their force there is stronger than 10,000 troops and is continuing to grow. That includes new fighters with combat experience received in Syria and Iraq.”
IS forces are strongest in the north of Afghanistan on the border with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan – a point of concern for Russia, which has close historic ties with both nations, Kabulov added.
“IS goals are definitely to expand its influence outside of Afghanistan, which they use as a staging ground. This poses a significant security threat for Central Asia and southern parts of Russia,” Kabulov stressed.
This comes as the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Nicholson, had estimated the Islamic State fighters around 3,000 few months ago.
Meanwhile, the Russia has recently expressed willing of cooperation for countering terrorism in the country along with the U.S which was also welcomed by Mahmood Saikal, Afghan Permanent Representative to the UN.