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Afghanistan home to 7,000 Islamic State fighters, Russian diplomat says

February 01, 17:11 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Taliban fighters’ number in Afghanistan currently stands at around 60,000 or 70,000, Zamir Kabulov said

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MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Some 7,000 fighters and thousands of reservists of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) currently reside in Afghanistan, Russian special presidential envoy and director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov said on Thursday.

"We have been carefully monitoring the genesis of the Afghan wing of ISIL (former name of the IS group) over the past three years…The IS has nearly 7,000 active fighters, without taking into account several thousand of reservists," Kabulov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel. The Taliban fighters’ number in Afghanistan currently stands at around 60,000 or 70,000, he noted.

The Afghan government and the foreign troops stay idle on detecting the IS reservists, the diplomat said.

"This is a serious case. The IS members have come to Afghanistan not for Jihad against the US and other foreign troops, they have come to set up a foothold for their further expansion to the north, to Central Asia," he said, noting that most IS group’s fighters in Afghanistan come from Central Asia or Russia.

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