The heads of the foreign intelligence services of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan met in Islamabad for talks about a peace solution and the rising threat of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. The meeting took place just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, announcing a recent ceasefire as proof of the feasibility of peace between the central government and the Taliban.
“We have been greatly encouraged after the ceasefire by what we saw, how the Afghan people responded,” he said.” We think that bodes well for the peace process.”
Sergei Ivanov, head of the press office of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told TASS news agency on Tuesday that the high-ranking officials of the four participating countries had stressed the need for “coordinated measures” against the Islamic State’s increased focus of the Islamic State on Afghanistan.
Ivanov said Russian Foreign Intelligence Director Sergei Naryshkin, emphasised the need for more active regional cooperation to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.
The four-way talks in Islamabad will “focus on the dangers that arise from the military build-up of ISIS on Afghan territory,” the Russian intelligence spokesman commented on the agenda of the meeting.
The participants underlined the importance of coordinated involvement to prevent ISIS from infiltrating Afghanistan from Syria and Iraq, “where they pose risks to neighbouring countries,” he added.
But the US has its reservations about these combined efforts, Kay Bailey Hutchison, US NATO ambassador told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a US-backed news portal: “Russia does not help at all, Iran does not help at all.”
The Islamic State has exploited the hostilities in Afghanistan in order to reorganise itself after its widespread expulsion from Syria and Iraq. The most bloody attacks in Afghanistan in recent months have been at the hands of ISIS extremists.
The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to launch the “war on terror” based on UN Security Council Resolution 1373. After 17 years, the Taliban only managed to intensify its military campaign against NATO and the US-backed government in the country.
Pakistani media continue to publish allegations that US forces remain blind to ISIS activities in Afghanistan, while Russian diplomats have repeatedly expressed similar misgivings. In February, Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Chamenei accused Washington of intentionally infiltrating ISIS into Afghanistan to justify increased military presence in the region.