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Russia says Daesh regrouping in north Afghanistan

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KABUL: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday raised concerns that Islamic State militants are reinforcing and regrouping in northern Afghanistan as U.S.-led troops leave the country.

According to Russian media, Lavrov said that Islamic State was gaining territory in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the U.S. withdrawal, heaping scorns on Afghan government for “irresponsible” stance against this development.

“It is important to shine the spotlight on Afghanistan, where IS members are actively concentrating their forces, and they do so, taking advantage of an irredeemably drawn-out process of hammering out real peace negotiations. We are worried about this, because IS is actively acquiring territories – mostly in northern Afghanistan, right on the borders of countries that are our allies, amid the irresponsible behavior of some officials in Kabul and amid the hasty withdrawal of NATO, who is unable to report the achievement of at least some goals,” he said.

Lavrov noted that Russia holds consultations with CSTO member states in order to ensure security in Central Asia amid IS’ ramped-up activities.

“Of course, we seek to persuade political circles about the need to stop dragging out the negotiation process, and that agreements on a transitional government must be achieved,” he noted, “We are also doing it within the so-called ‘extended troika’ of Russia, China, the US and Pakistan.”

This is as Russia’s special presidential envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Sputnik on Friday that Afghanistan should create a new coalition government with the participation of representatives of all political forces, including the Taliban, as the only remedy to the current crisis.

“The only possible way out of the current impasse is the creation of a new coalition government with the participation of representatives of all the largest ethno-political forces of the country, including the Taliban movement. But the Afghan parties themselves must negotiate,” Kabulov said.

The international community should provide assistance, but “the final decision on the configuration and parameters of the future power structure” should be made by the Afghans anyway, the Russian diplomat added.

Kabulov expressed the belief that the negotiations could be re-launched in the fall.

NATO’s pullout from Afghanistan began on April 29, and it is supposed to end this fall, based on an agreement between the US and the Taliban.

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