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IS plans to create emirate in Afghanistan pose threat to Central Asia, Iran, China — FSB

Plans of the Islamic State, an international terrorist organization outlawed in Russia, to establish a province in northern Afghanistan pose a threat to Central Asian states, Iran and China, Yevgeny Sysoyev, a deputy chief of Russia's Federal Security Service and chief of the administration of the National Anti-terrorist Committee, said on Tuesday.

"The Islamic State is stepping up its positions in Afghanistan. Its leaders in January 2015 declared the creation of the Khorasan emirate," he said at the 7th regional conference of the International Association of Prosecutors for Central and Eastern European and Central Asian states. "Under these plans, Afghanistan is to become a starting point for creating a new province of an Islamist quasi-state that is to include along with Afghanistan the territories of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran and China's northwestern provinces."

Another factor of increased threat is the fact that a number of terrorist groups acting in Afghanistan, such as the Islamic Party of Turkmenistan, have joined the Islamic State, which creates prerequisites for recruiting more people from among citizens of Central Asian states.

According to the National Anti-terrorist, Taliban is building up its strength in Afghanistan, especially in strategically important areas in the country's south, southeast, north and center of the country. Taliban numbers 45,000-50,000 people, who are well-trained and well-equipped.

Attempts to neutralize increased activity of militants in northern Afghanistan have brought about no considerable results so far, moreover, practically no measures are being taken to stop the spread of extremist activity from southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan to Afghanistan's northern provinces.

Sysoyev said the most difficult situation was now in Afghanistan's northern provinces bordering Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, especially at the Afghan-Turkmen border.

The Islamic State is an Islamic terrorist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it was known under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and operated mainly in Iraq and Syria. In June 2014, the Islamic State announced the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" (a state with a Sharia form of government) on the territories it had seized and reduced its name to the Islamic State.

According to the United States' Central Intelligence Agency, the extremist group numbers around 30,000 people. The Iraqi authorities say however it has up to 200,000 gunmen. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, U.S., Canada, Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Islamic State militants reportedly control up to 40% of the Iraq's territory and about 50% of the Syrian territory.

[Source: Itar Tass, Sochi, 10Nov15]

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