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IS recruiting Taliban fighters in Afghanistan — Russia’s General Staff

April 26, 18:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The security situation in Afghanistan continues deteriorating, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Department Igor Korobov said

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© AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. The Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia has managed to recruit some formations of the Taliban Islamic movement in Afghanistan into its ranks, Head of the Russian General Staff’s Main Department Igor Korobov said on Wednesday.

"The availability of considerable funds facilitates the strengthening of the positions of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State]. Using this resource and also the image of the most successful Islamic grouping in the world created not without the participation of media outlets, ISIL leaders have been able to recruit some formations of the Taliban Islamic movement into their ranks," the general said at the international security conference in Moscow.

According to the Russian general, the funds are coming mostly from their controlled territories in Iraq and Syria and from foreign sponsors, including from Persian Gulf countries and through the unlawful activity on the territory of Afghanistan.

Territory controlled by Afghan government shrinks to 60%

The Afghan government controls only 60% of the country’s territory, Korobov said.

"The security situation in Afghanistan continues deteriorating. Official Kabul currently controls about 60% of the country’s territory whereas in 2015 this figure exceeded 70%," the Russian general said.

According to the general, the attempts to restore legitimate power by the use of force in the districts that have come under the influence of extremists are accompanied by large casualties among government troops.

"Thus, over 5,000 Afghan servicemen were killed in 2015 and already over 10,000 troops were killed in 2016," the Russian general said.

The death toll among civilians is also increasing, he said.

"As a result of combat operations in 2016, the number of civilians that were killed reached 11,500 people," he said.

Opium production in Afghanistan grows 40% in 2016

Opium production in Afghanistan grew more than 40% last year, while the areas planted with poppies grew ten percent, according to Korobov.

"Afghanistan remains the world leader in production and circulation of hard drugs," Korobov told the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security.

He said last year the areas planted with poppies grew ten percent, amounting to about 200,000 hectares (against 183,000 hectares in 2015).

Opium production grew 43%, reaching 4,800 tons (3,300 tons in 2015). "Given that revenues from drug trafficking account for a sizable part of financial receipts of extremist organizations, it is obvious that their possibilities as to anti-government activity will grow," Korobov marked.

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