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IS plans Afghan base targeting ex-USSR: Russian security chief

AFP  |  Moscow 

The head of Russia's security service on Thursday said the Islamic State group is setting up a base in Afghanistan to target ex-Soviet countries using militants from Central Asia.

"We are seeing increased activities of IS branches in Afghanistan," the chief of Russia's Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov told a regional security forum in Tashkent, quoted by TASS state agency.

"Their goal is to increase a base to expand into the CIS (ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States) territory." He said IS was uniting branches in Afghanistan and working in tandem with a group called Jamaat Ansarullah and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, also known as the Turkestan Islamic party.

The expansion into the ex-Soviet countries "will be done by militants who are citizens of Central Asian republics with experience of warfare as members of terrorist groups," Bortnikov said.

The comments come on the heels of an attack Wednesday on a border post in Tajikistan which officials blamed on members of the IS group who crossed over from Afghanistan.

Tajikistan authorities said 15 attackers were killed and four detained, while a soldier and a policeman were also killed.

Tajikistan and other ex-Soviet countries of Central Asia have been major sources of recruits for radical Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, with some travelling there from Russia where many work as labour migrants.

IS propaganda outlets have referred to territories in Central Asia as 'wilayas', or provinces, that are part of the IS 'caliphate'.

IS jihadists have also claimed several attacks in Tajikistan, including a hit-and-run that killed four Western tourists on a cycling trip last summer.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 07 2019. 20:35 IST