MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. The number of militants of the Islamic State terrorist group in Afghanistan has increased many times over recent years, which poses a serious threat to Central Asia and Russia, Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told a news conference on Tuesday.
According to the diplomat, one of the new factors is the appearance of IS in Afghanistan, while the Taliban have rejected the idea of global jihad and position themselves as a national military-political movement.
"There are more than 10,000 militants of Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Afghanistan now. Just a year ago there were 100 IS militants there as a maximum. Such growth rates are impressive. The IS Afghan wing is specifically tailored to Central Asia - even Russian is among the working languages in their training camps. They are definitely prepared not for the Afghan war, but for the war against Central Asia, against Russia’s interests," Kabulov said.
According to the official, Russia will not have grounds to continue regarding the Taliban as a terrorist organization if they are ready to meet the national reconciliation conditions.
"When the Taliban were included in the so-called Russian sanctions list after being blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council, we started regarding them to be a terrorist organization and we had every ground to do that," Kabulov said.
"We have been studying and watching the Taliban actions carefully after the movement has introduced changes to the principles and guidelines mentioned it its program. If the Taliban are ready to meet the three national reconciliation conditions - the recognition of Afghanistan’s constitution; cessation of military hostilities and the abruption of ties with extremist organizations, then we will no longer have grounds to consider them to be a terrorist organization. They will turn into one of the political forces in Afghanistan that will have the right to exist and be recognized," the Russian diplomat said.
"But it’s not up to us to decide. It should be confirmed by the Afghan government and recognized by the U.N. Security Council," Kabulov stressed.
Afghanistan is experiencing a full-blown crisis that threatens its statehood, Kabulov went on to say.
"The situation is also aggravated by the fact that the load of unresolved problems kept growing over several years," the envoy said.
The situation that has developed in that country gives us the grounds "to speak about a full-blown crisis that threatens Afghan statehood. The national unity government was a compromise between two conflicting camps," the Russian presidential envoy said.
"We see the growing influence of Taliban and other extremist forces," the Russian diplomat said.
"This combat season promises to be especially hot this year. Taliban fighters are using a new strategy and they have kept forces inside Afghanistan. They are setting the task of strengthening control over the country’s’ large regions," the diplomat said.
According to the official, the United States and NATO do not cooperate with the Russian side on Afghanistan but Moscow is not going to persuade anybody into interaction.
"They have announced - both NATO and the Americans - that we do not have cooperation. Yes, we can talk but we do not cooperate," Kabulov said.
"We are professionals, and so we talk to them via diplomatic and military channels. They are talking and even cooperating with us in Syria when they need that badly," he added.
"We have been unsuccessful in doing that in Afghanistan so far. But we are not going to persuade anybody," the diplomat said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is surprised by the fact that the United States bombs the Taliban that have refused to cooperate with the Islamic State terrorist group and leave alone the field commanders that keep in contact with IS.
"In some majestic way those field commanders that refused to cooperate with IS in Afghanistan - it’s their detachments that come under the American aviation strikes," Kabulov said. "And those who cooperate (with IS) are left alone," Kabulov said.