MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. It looks like the Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) is going to open a ‘second front’ in Afghanistan in order to demonstrate its military successes, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.
"Radical Islamists have long ago proved their ability to use any crises situation in their own interests, aggravating old conflicts and creating new hotbeds of conflict, violence, and tensions," she noted. "Such developments present a direct threat to Afghanistan which has been going through a military and political crisis for many years. IS military successes in the Middle East have until recently served as a very important propagandistic trump card which allowed and still allows to recruit new supports to this organization, new militants and terrorists almost in all regions," the diplomat said.
"When Russia launched the decisive military campaign against IS and other terrorist organizations on the territory of Syria, partial re-orientation on Afghanistan may allow IS to still present itself as an effective military structure that has opened the ‘second front’ despite the advance of anti-IS forces in the Middle East and North Africa," Zakharova explained.
The latest developments in Afghanistan "are connected with considerable build-up and competition between different terrorist groups," the diplomat continued adding that she was talking about the split inside the Taliban movement and IS growing presence in Afghanistan. "All this confirms that the territory of this country still remains one of the main sources of a global terrorist threat," she added.
Zakharova reminded that Russia has repeatedly warned about the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and areas neighboring with Pakistan in connection with diverting attention to the developments in the Middle East and North Africa. "We regret that our warnings have not been considered and analyzed appropriately. Now we can see the undesirable consequences that Russia has been talking about rather persistently over the last years. Moreover, apart from internal struggle between Taliban and ISIL over control over several provinces in Afghanistan, terrorists are implementing a strategy aimed at seizing territories in close proximity from the Afghan border with neighboring countries," the spokesperson said.
"Terrorist organizations, including IS, have repeatedly announced their plans to establish a foothold in Afghanistan to destabilize the whole region in the future. These threats start to acquire real shape. The fact that militants linked with IS seized Afghan provinces proves that current leaders of terrorist forces are really trying to fulfill their threats," Zakharova added.
"It is necessary to seriously consider the scenario of preventing the ‘spill’ of terrorist threat beyond the borders of Afghanistan, especially considering the fact that one of the most coveted territories for terrorists are those of our allies, our neighbors and partners - Central Asian countries," she concluded.
Zakharova paid special attention to the situation in Afghanistan stressing regional efforts aimed at assisting Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism should be taken mainly within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
"Considering very disturbing, very dangerous aspects of the international situation, it is essential to combine and coordinate efforts of the international community designed to suppress the global terrorist threats on the basis of norms and principles of international law and, of course, the provisions of the UN Charter, including respect for state sovereignty. And, of course, it is necessary to cooperate, primarily with those states whose territories are exposed to direct terrorist attacks," she said.
According to Zakharova, Russia is committed to taking "additional counter-terrorism measures in connection with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan within the framework of the existing and successful international formats - the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, the relevant bodies within the CIS and, of course, the CSTO."
"We believe that regional efforts on Afghanistan should be taken mainly through the SCO, which brings together as members, observers and dialogue partners practically all countries of the region, including Afghanistan," Zakharova added.