The members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) once again voiced concerns about the presence and increased activity of the Khorasan branch of Daesh in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the Security Council meeting on the 17th report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by Daesh, UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov said that the situation in Afghanistan is growing increasingly complex, and that some 20 different terrorist groups are present in Afghanistan.
“The situation in Afghanistan is growing increasingly complex, with fears of weapons and ammunition falling into the hands of terrorists now materializing. The in-country operational capabilities of Da’esh’s so-called Khorasan province, sanctioned as ISIL-K, has reportedly increased, with the group becoming more sophisticated in its attacks against the Taliban and international targets. Moreover, the presence and activity of some 20 different terrorist groups in the country, combined with the repressive measures put in place by the Taliban de facto authorities, the absence of sustainable development and a dire humanitarian situation, pose significant challenges for the region and beyond,” Voronkov noted.
The US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in the meeting said that Afghanistan must deny safe haven to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and ISIS-Khorosan.
“And I want to reiterate that capable law enforcement and broader security service responses are essential to preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism. In South Asia, Afghanistan must deny safe haven to terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and ISIS-Khorosan, which continue to harbor ambitions to carry out attacks, and has claimed deadly attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a UN Security Council meeting.
Ecuador’s delegate voiced concerns over the situation in Afghanistan due to the ability of ISIL-KP [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant—Khorasan Province] to carry out attacks in the region, such as those that recently occurred on 30 July in Pakistan and 13 August in Iran.
Russian deputy ambassador Maria Zabolotskaya at the UN meeting on international terrorists threats blamed “the collective West’s intervention in the affairs of sovereign developing countries” and their “destructive role” for fueling the growth of terrorism. She claimed the West plundered the natural resources of these countries and only provided weak economic development and public administration.
She said foreign troops led by the United States were in Afghanistan for over 20 years “under the pretext of fighting terrorists” but they departed without defeating al-Qaida, leaving behind a huge quantity of weapons and military equipment. “And consequently, the Western weapons that were brought into the country to fight terrorism ended up, among other places, in the hands of the terrorists themselves,” she said.
However, Bilal Karimi, spokesman of the Taliban, in response to the statements of the members of this council, said that Daesh is not present in Afghanistan. “We don’t have a Daesh that has a physical presence, a fixed location, or concrete activities, and Daesh has been defeated in Afghanistan,” Karimi noted.
Previously, the United Nations Security Council said in a statement on Friday that Daesh increased its operational capabilities inside Afghanistan.
According to the statement, the Daesh groups in Iraq and Afghanistan have been assessed by member states as the most serious terrorist threat in Afghanistan and the region.
“The report says that (Daesh Khorasan) has increased its operational capabilities inside Afghanistan, with the total number of fighters and family members associated with the group estimated at 4,000 to 6,000 people, a steady increase over the numbers reported in previous reports, while also becoming more sophisticated in its attacks against both the Taliban and international targets,” the statement said.