Afghanistan is facing “an unprecedented convergence” of foreign and Taliban militants in the country as well as members of terrorist groups such as the ISIL, the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations (UN) says.
“Our estimate is that there are more than 7,000 foreign terrorist fighters” in Afghanistan, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Pakistanis, Afghan UN envoy Zahir Tanin told a Security Council session on Afghan security on Monday.
“There may be hundreds or thousands of people,” including some “extreme-oriented Taliban,” fighting for the ISIL terrorist group in Afghanistan, Tanin said during the meeting, dubbed “The UN Security Council Debate: The Situation in Afghanistan.”
He added that these groups carry out terrorist acts like bombings, hostage-takings and assassinations, and try to capture districts and provinces as strongholds for their activities in Afghanistan as well as in south and central Asia.
Addressing the same event, Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for Afghanistan, said the country “is meeting its security challenges” in the face of a worsening conflict.
The commitment of Afghan security forces “is beyond question,” Haysom said, adding, “They are demonstrating resilience in the face of insurgent efforts to take and hold ground.”
“Afghanistan… is finding itself in the forefront of dealing with terrorists whose origins are the neighbors, and possibly whose eventual destination are its neighbors,” the UN envoy claimed, urging better cooperation and support for Afghanistan “in dealing with what is a regional, shared threat.”
Afghanistan has witnessed violence since 2001, when the US and some of its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The aggression removed the Taliban regime, but insecurity continues in the war-torn country despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.