Afghans Dispute Russia’s Islamic State Claims


Authorities in Afghanistan have rejected latest Russian claims that thousands of Islamic State fighters are “consolidating” their presence in nine out of 34 provinces of the war-hit country. Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Radmanish, at a news conference Wednesday in Kabul, estimated that about 2,000 IS militants operate in four provinces, including Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan in the east, with Jowzjan in the north. Radmanish was speaking a day after the Russian envoy to the U.N., Vasily Nebenzya, reiterated during a Security Council meeting on Afghanistan Moscow’s concerns about IS growing influence particularly in northern provinces that border Central Asian countries. “This is a group, which has up to 10,000 fighters in its ranks, and it is already active in at least nine out of 34 provinces ... and is constantly consolidating its positions in the north of the country, turning it into a springboard for its expansion into Central Asia,” said Nebenzya, while speaking through his official interpreter.......................

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