About 5,000 members of terrorist groups are concentrated near the borders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in northern Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov said at a session of security chiefs of the CIS member states.

“The deployment of terrorist groups to Afghanistan’s northern provinces bordering with the Commonwealth’s states is especially alarming,” he stressed.

“The ISIS (Islamic State, IS, a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) branch Wilayah Khorasan already deployed about 5,000 militants in these areas. They are mostly CIS citizens who fought in Syria,” Alexander Bortnikov stressed.

The build-up of terrorist forces is escalating tensions in the Central Asian region, he said. “They are constantly infiltrating the Commonwealth’s states and joining local organized crime groups. Cross-border drug, arms and illegal migration flows are also growing,” the FSB chief noted. These revenues are used to replenish the terrorists’ resource base and extend their combat capabilities, he said.

 “Members of international terrorist organizations use refugee and labor migration flows for covert movement from combat zones and countries bordering them to other regions,” the FSB head said. The terrorists are infiltrating national expatriate communities and associations of fellow-countrymen, creating clandestine cells and ideologizing and recruiting new supporters, chiefly the socially handicapped youth and migrants, training them to carry out terrorist activities, he said.

The FSB director called for strengthening the bordering infrastructure (chiefly along the external borders of the Commonwealth), increasing the level of cooperation on joint operative-investigative operations in migration flows, strengthening the fight against terrorist ideology, in particular on the Internet, as well as carrying out joint work to counter channels of Afghan drug and arms trafficking as countermeasures.

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