Iran warns of Daesh rise in Afghanistan
Iran’s mission to the United Nations has expressed concern over a rise in the activities of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in neighboring Afghanistan.
Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, called attention to a United Nations report which has found that armed conflict in Afghanistan currently stands at its highest level since 2001.
“Afghanistan continues to face major security, political, and economic challenges,” Dehqani told a UN Security Council session on Tuesday.
He voiced Tehran’s concern about the growth of Daesh in Afghanistan as well as the emergence there of affiliated outfits like Daesh-Khorasan, the so-called “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan,” and “East Turkestan Islamic Movement.”
Failure to seriously confront these groups, Dehqani said, would mean that we should expect a more troubled future.
The Takfiri group, which is mainly based in Iraq and Syria, has managed to make inroads in Afghanistan. The Afghan province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan has been the area where Daesh has gained a foothold.
Daesh has reportedly managed to establish connections with Taliban’s splinter groups, especially those believed to be discontent with changes in Taliban’s leadership.
The Takfiri group has also enjoyed defections from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan although the latter’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has pledged allegiance to Taliban’s new leader Haibatullah Akhundzada.
The top UN official in Afghanistan said Wednesday the country faces the risk of a new spiral in violence following a series of attacks on civilians in the last few months.
Bomb attacks killed at least 22 people in Kabul and the northern province of Badakhshan on Monday, underlining how dangerous Afghanistan remains.
Nicholas Haysom, the UN secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said he was deeply concerned about violence against civilians, with attacks continuing during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.
“There is a risk, in my view, that the conflict may enter a new phase, which could see retaliatory acts of vengeance and an escalating spiral of violence,” said Haysom.
Dehqani said Iran “considers the development of economic cooperation with Afghanistan a preamble toward peace and security” in the Central Asian country.
He said Tehran has helped Kabul complete 300 Afghan-based projects, besides offering Afghan expatriates numerous educational opportunities, and most recently signed a tripartite agreement with India in order to facilitate trade.
The deal, he said links Afghanistan to the southern Iran port of Chabahar, thus connecting the landlocked country to open seas.