The Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP) has amassed up 6,500 members, with 4,000 along Tajikistan’s southern borders in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan, Kunduz and Takhar provinces, according to the Russian General and the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov.
The CSTO is a military alliance of former Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
According to Tass News Agency, General Analoty Sidorov, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, said:
“The number of members of the Islamic State’s Afghan branch, Wilayat Khorasan (outlawed in Russia), has significantly increased to about 6,500, with up to 4,000 militants concentrated along Tajikistan’s southern border in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz and Takhar.”
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The biggest threat to stability in Central Asia, General Sidorov said, emanated from numerous extremist groups that have gained a foothold in Afghanistan.
And the Taliban’s “policy of oppressing ethnic and religious minorities,” and “the lack of unity and growing discord among the Taliban movement, the deteriorating economic situation and the mounting humanitarian problems, contribute to the destabilization of the situation in the region,” he said.