Russia’s top intelligence official has warned that thousands of militants belonging to an ISIS affiliate and with battle experience in Syria have converged in areas in northern Afghanistan bordering post-Soviet Central Asian republics.
Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), said on Tuesday that a local affiliate of the ISIS terrorist group had managed to gather as many as 5,000 militants in the area, according to RT.
Addressing the chiefs of intelligence services from ex-Soviet republics in Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe, Bortnikov said, “Especially worrying is re-deployment of terrorist groups into northern provinces of Afghanistan.”
The Russian official said terrorist cells were currently infiltrating into Afghanistan’s northern neighbors in an attempt to establish ties with organized crime. He said the terrorists were trying to slip through posing as refugees.
ISIS has been militarily defeated in Syria and Iraq, the two Arab countries where the terrorist group overtook pieces of land starting in 2014. But the group has not been disbanded altogether.