Russia and Pakistan have announced to establish a commission on military cooperation to counter the threat of Islamic State in the region, the VOA news reported on Wednesday.
Both the countries also accused the United States of turning a blind eye to the militant group’s proliferation in Afghanistan.
“We have confirmed Russia’s readiness to continue boosting Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capacity, which is in the entire region’s interests,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday in Moscow.
Lavrov, along with his Pakistani counter part Khwaja Asif, while speaking to the media confirmed that countering terrorism was a top priority area of cooperation between both the countries, also stating that joint military exercises would also continue this year.
Lavrov raised Moscow’s “very serious suspicions” about efforts the NATO-led coalition is undertaking in Afghanistan to curb the threat of IS. Both the countries claim that thousands of IS terrorists are based in northern and eastern border regions of Afghanistan and are constantly growing in number. This growth in number, from Moscow’s perspective, poses a security threat to both Central Asia and Russia.
Lavrov additionally noted that Russia is “alarmed because unfortunately, U.S. military and NATO coalition in Afghanistan try to silence or deny these facts to give an impression that it [IS] is not a serious threat,”
In recent months, both Russia and Iran have accused the US of being complacent in the rise of IS in Afghanistan. According to both Tehran and Moscow, IS fighters fleeing Syria and Iraq have found refuge in war-torn Afghanistan.
Asif also echoed Lavrov’s concerns expressing concern over “unchecked proliferation of Daesh” in Afghanistan. He also said that in some Afghan regions, IS outgrew Taliban numbers, especially because of taking in militants fleeing the Middle East.
“But there is absolutely no acknowledgement, real acknowledgement, by Kabul and Washington of such a large presence of Daesh (IS) or the proliferation of Daesh in Afghanistan. … They are a threat to Central Asia, Pakistan, China and ultimately to Russian Federation. … So, this is something, which is very alarming,” Asif said.
Washington, on the other hand, has rejected all such accusations stating that its counter-terror operations, in alliance with the Afghan forces, have seriously dented militant activities in country. Officials in Washington also denounce Russia’s overt communication with the Taliban, which the US says not only legitimises militancy, but also dents peace efforts being made by the coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Source: VOA News