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IS gaining foothold in Afghanistan to expand into Central Asia, Russian minister says

April 29, 18:19 UTC+3 BISHKEK

The US presence in that country for many years has not solved existing problems, Sergai Shoigu stressed

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© AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini

BISHKEK, April 29. /TASS/. The Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) is strengthening its positions in Afghanistan, using that country as a bridgehead for further expansion in the region, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

"It is important to note that after the rout of the so-called Islamic State, terrorists are moving from Syria and Iraq to other regions, including Central and Southeast Asia," Shoigu said at a meeting of the defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states in Bishkek.

"As a result, cross-border crime is growing, a breeding ground is emerging for extremist and separatist movements and terrorist cells are coming into existence. The most complex situation is developing in Afghanistan," the Russian defense chief said.

"The US presence in that country for many years has not solved existing problems," Shoigu stressed.

"Special concern is caused by the strengthening of the positions of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist group], which is using the country as a bridgehead for further expansion into the region," the Russian defense minister said.

In this situation, it is important jointly to fight the terrorist threat emanating from that country, counter the production and transit of narcotic drugs, render assistance to Afghanistan in national reconciliation and economic revival, Shoigu stressed.

"We consider it extremely important to assist the promotion of the inter-Afghan peace dialogue under the guidance of Afghans themselves," the Russian defense minister said.

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