Putin says Daesh terrorists amassing in Afghanistan
Russian President Vladimir Putin says hundreds of Daesh terrorists are amassing in northern Afghanistan and plan to infiltrate into ex-Soviet Central Asian countries.
"According to our intelligence, the number of (Daesh) members alone in northern Afghanistan is about 2,000 people," Putin said during a video conference meeting with leaders of other ex-Soviet states on Friday.
The Russian president said Daesh leaders in Afghanistan were seeking to project influence across ex-Soviet countries in Central Asia to stir up religious and ethnic discord.
"Terrorists are seeking to infiltrate the Commonwealth's territory, including under the guise of refugees," Putin said, referring to a group of ex-Soviet states, some of which are Afghanistan's neighbors.
His remarks come as Moscow is set to host international talks on Afghanistan next week.
Putin's special representative on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said on Friday that officials from Russia, the United States, China, and Pakistan would join the talks in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the developments in Afghanistan.
The next day, Russian officials will hold separate talks with the Taliban and other regional players.
"We do not expect any breakthroughs," RIA news agency cited Kabulov as saying, adding, "We understand that this is a long process."