(Photo credit: Russian Presidency)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 13 October that “terrorists” from Iraq and Syria are moving into Afghanistan and may try to carry out destabilization attempts.
“Fighters with experience are being lured in from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan for military operations,” Putin said during a virtual meeting with the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a nine-member regional intergovernmental organization formed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
“It is possible that terrorists may try to destabilize the situation in neighboring states,” he added, warning that they could attempt what he referred to as “direct expansion.”
The Russian head of state went on to say that this is one of the reasons why the situation at the Afghan border needs to be constantly monitored, adding that “it is necessary to raise the level of cooperation between CIS intelligence agencies, especially to neutralize threats from the territory of Afghanistan.”
Moscow has remained cautiously optimistic of the Taliban’s leadership in Afghanistan. However, concerns remain over the country’s stability following the withdrawal of US troops from the country after 20 years of occupation.
In the wake of Washington’s chaotic retreat from Kabul, ISIS militants have carried out several terror attacks in Afghanistan, often targeting Taliban members.
On top of this, reports earlier this year by Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and other anti-terror groups in the Levant said that US helicopters had been airlifting ISIS fighters out of Syria and Iraq before allegedly flying them to Afghanistan.
Faced with these developments, the Kremlin recently held joint military exercises with Tajikistan and later in in Uzbekistan, while last week the Russian special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, announced Russia will invite the Taliban to Moscow for international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for 20 October.