Russia accuses the US of destabilizing the region using terrorist groups in Afghanistan

The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the meeting of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defense ministers in Minsk, Belarus on Thursday accused the United States of using potential terrorist groups in Afghanistan to destabilize the region.

According to the Russian News Agency TASS, the Russian Defense Minister was quoted saying, “Afghanistan remains a hotbed of instability. The main threat comes from illegal armed groups that have significantly strengthened their positions in that country after the Islamic movement Taliban came to power. We believe that the United States intends to use the potential of these terrorist organizations to destabilize the situation in the region.”

The NATO countries, Sergey Shoigu further noted, instead of working for reconstruction of Afghanistan, are trying in various ways to restore their military presence in the central Asian countries. “We regard this as a direct threat to stability there and in the CSTO space in general.”

Shoigu added that in the future, these terrorist groups may infiltrate neighboring countries, particularly Central Asian countries, and commit terrorist acts.

The Russian Defense Minister emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts, both bilateral and multilateral, between CSTO on the “Afghan track” to harness the threat of terrorism.

The CSTO is a military alliance of the former Soviet states of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. 

The organization had previously expressed concern over the escalating risk of terrorist groups infiltrating CSTO member states from Afghanistan with its Secretary General, Imangali Tasmagambetov saying, “There is an increasing risk that terrorist groups and extremist ideas will infiltrate the territories of our CSTO allies. Complex threats coming from Afghanistan are of particular concern.”

In February, the organization’s Chief of Joint Staff, Anatoly Sidorov, claimed that the Islamic State – Khorasan province (ISKP) had amassed up to 6,500 members, with 4,000 located along Tajikistan’s southern borders in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces.

The Taliban has, however, consistently denied the presence of terrorist groups including the ISKP in Afghanistan and said there is no threat to any other country from Afghanistan.