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Security adviser warns of Afghanistan becoming safe haven for terrorists

(Last Updated On: October 27, 2015)


Afghanistan again is facing serious threat of becoming a safe haven for terrorists, National Security Adviser said.

Hanif Atmar in an interview with a foreign press voiced his concern over presence of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan and called on US and NATO for help.

“The militants have not been degraded, they have regenerated themselves,” Atmar told to Associate Press.

Atmar warned the insurgent groups are reinventing themselves, joining forces, and drawing funds and support from outside as they take advantage of a perceived weakness of Afghan forces following the end of the U.S.-led international combat mission last year.

Security adviser said several groups are now using Afghanistan as a staging ground to reach their “home countries,” including China, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states, and Russia.

“What needs to be well understood is that the symbiotic network of terrorists that we are confronted with is going to be a threat to every country in this region and by extension the whole world,” Atmar said.

“We are hoping that assessment is shared not just by Central Asia, Russia and China, but by our neighbors to the south and east,” he said, referring principally to Pakistan.

He said the Islamic State group now poses an “existential threat” because it no longer includes only disaffected Taliban, unhappy with the lack of progress after years of fighting to topple the Kabul government, but has an “institutional connection” to the group’s leadership in Iraq and Syria.

“What these groups need to survive and to grow is sanctuaries, whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan. They’ve had them in Pakistan for decades now,” Atmar noted.

“Unless we get rid of the Taliban, either through counter-terrorism or through peace and reconciliation, these elements will grow because they need a host, and they need a recruitment facility. And we should not allow the Afghan Taliban to grow into that kind of facility for them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan Senate House criticized national security adviser of not informing the National Assembly; citing he should be summoned to the Senate.

“I wonder why our authorities do not share these statements with the representatives of our people,” Senator Nesar Haris said.

“The national security adviser has seriously warned of Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists, he must be summoned to the Senate for clarifications,” Senator Layloma Ahmadi said.

However, Afghan analysts say that Afghanistan would not become a safe haven for terrorist groups unless the politicians want to.

“Afghan people would never allow any terrorist groups to make the country a safe haven unless the politicians want to,” Aziz Rafi, civil activist said.

The 2015 fighting season between the Taliban and Afghan security forces is turning out to be the bloodiest on record since 2001.

Insecurity has significantly increased throughout the country, civilian deaths have shot up, and the Afghan security forces are taking large, and potentially unsustainable, casualties.

The Afghan forces also suffer from financial problems and deficiencies in logistics, intelligence resources, and special support functions, including medical evacuation. The lack of Afghan close-air-support assets is particularly problematic and a great boost to the insurgency.

Although Afghanistan passed through a critical juncture in the fall of 2014, when after an election, power was peacefully handed over to a new government, the country continues to face a series of political tripwires.






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