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Russia records unidentified helicopters delivering weapons to Taliban, IS in Afghanistan

August 23, 17:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia has recorded flights of mysterious helicopters supplying weapons to units of the Taliban and the Islamic State active in Afghanistan

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Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Russia has recorded flights of unidentified helicopters delivering weapons to the Taliban (a movement outlawed in Russia) and the Islamic State (a terror group outlawed in Russia) units active in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

"We would like to once again point to the flights of unidentified helicopters in northern Afghanistan, which deliver weapons and ammunition to local ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State group - TASS] units and Taliban members cooperating with the group. In particular, the Afghan media and local residents say that such helicopters were seen in the Sar-e Pol Province," the Russian diplomat said.

"This is happening in close proximity to the borders of Central Asian states, while many of the IS militants active in Afghanistan come from those countries," Zakharova pointed out.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also said that the Afghan security agencies, as well as the Command of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, did not react to those helicopter flights. "In this regard, the question arises - who is behind these flights, who provides weapons to the terrorists and secretly creates springboards for them near the southern borders of the CIS and why is it happening at all, given NATO’s actual control of Afghanistan’s airspace," Zakharova said.

Militants hiding in refugee camp

Zakharova said militants from Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist groups outlawed in Russia) are hiding in Rukban refugee camp on the border with Jordan, and are using refugees as human shields, with the knowledge of US military.

"The Syrian authorities and UN staff still have no access to Rukban, the biggest camp for internally displaced persons close to the Jordanian border," she noted.

"Several hundred IS militants as well as al-Nusra militants, possessing heavy weaponry, are hiding among civilians who are being held hostage, and are being used as human shields," she went on to say.

"Unfortunately, all this happens, and we have information confirming this, with the knowledge of the US military who control the 55-kilometer zone around their illegal base in Al-Tanf on the Syrian territory," she added.

The diplomat said Syria’s northeast remains in practice under the control of US military, who "continue pandering to local military units, in particular, buying their loyalty with weapons supplies".

"Thus, the process of setting up pseudo-state structures that are not envisaged by the Syrian legislation is in full swing in the Trans-Euphrates region," she stated.

According to Zakharova, Washington has practically started plundering Syria’s’ national wealth. "The US, last week said that it would stop financing some programs on stabilizing Syria. It was within this framework that the activity of anti-government structures was financed in practice, but that responsibility has shifted to its allies," she said.

"Now they engage in restoring and modernizing the oil producing infrastructure in the northeast of Syria, but in practice (they) have started plundering Syrian national wealth, this time not by their own means, but with the money received from other participants in the so-called US-led coalition, namely the Europeans and Arabs.

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