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Over 20 terror groups with 23,000 militants in Afghanistan, says Russian security chief; 18 million people starving in country

More than a score of terrorist organizations having a total strength of 23,000 militants are operating in Afghanistan at the moment, according to different estimates, Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Russian media in New Delhi following multilateral consultations on Afghanistan on Wednesday

Nov 11, 2021
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Over 20 terror groups with 23,000 militants in Afghanistan

More than a score of terrorist organizations having a total strength of 23,000 militants are operating in Afghanistan at the moment, according to different estimates, Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Russian media in New Delhi following multilateral consultations on Afghanistan on Wednesday. He said the participants in the meeting in the first place had discussed the security situation in Afghanistan and also its regional and global effects, according to Tass news agency.

He also said that over 18 million people are starving in Afghanistan and the country is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

"The worst threat coming from Afghanistan is terrorism. According to different estimates, there are more than 20 terrorist organizations in Afghanistan. Their total strength exceeds 23,000 militants," Patrushev said. He stressed that the main sources of funding of terrorist activities remained the same -- drug trafficking and the levying of a so-called tax on organized crime rings that manufacture and traffic narcotic drugs.

"Afghanistan remains one of the world’s largest producers of opiates in the world, its share of the global market reaching 90%," Patrushev said.

"Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Drought has continued for several years, food prices are growing, and already over 18 million people are starving," Patrushev said.

"Meanwhile, instead of recognizing their responsibility for the collapse of the Afghan economy and the social sector, the US and its allies continue to contribute to the further degradation of the situation through the economic isolation of Afghanistan," he stated.

He also said that the surging numbers of refugees from Afghanistan were a threat to regional stability. "We see serious risks of the penetration of terrorist and extremist elements, as well as drug dealers disguised as refugees or Afghans who cooperated with the West, to the territory of the neighboring countries to Central Asia and then to Russia," Tass quoted him as saying.

According to UNI news agency, the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan saw an “extraordinary degree of convergence” between India, Russia, Iran, and the five Central Asian countries on the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and the region.

During the Dialogue, India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his counterparts from the seven countries “easily arrived at a complete consensus, which enabled us to issue the joint Delhi Declaration”, Indian sources said. Every delegation – from Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – was appreciative of the timing of the holding of the Dialogue and the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussions.

According to the Indian sources quoted by UNI, “There was extraordinary degree of convergence on the assessments of the situation in Afghanistan and the principal challenges in Afghanistan and the region. These included the security situation, heightened risk of terrorism and the impending humanitarian crisis.”

The NSAs “noted the need to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan and emphasized that the land and air routes should be made available and no one should impede the process”, in an indirect allusion to Pakistan which has been impeding India’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. India has requested Pakistan for access to Afghanistan to send foodgrains and other aid in view of the looming humanitarian crisis there, but Islamabad has refused to allow it.

In his meeting with the seven security chiefs when they called on him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on the need for an inclusive government in Afghanistan, zero-tolerance on Afghan territory being used by terror groups, countering drugs and arms trafficking and addressing the humanitarian crisis in that country.

Modi also expressed the hope that the Regional Security Dialogue would work to revive Central Asia's traditions of moderation and progressive culture, and counter extremist tendencies (SAM)
 

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